The Kaiser Permanente Oakland Medical Center holds a special place in the organization’s history. Opened in 1942 to treat Kaiser shipyard workers and their families, Henry J. Kaiser stood on the steps of the Oakland hospital when he launched his prepaid medical care program.

The Kaiser Foundation School of Nursing operated from the location from 1947 to 1976, and Kaiser Permanente’s corporate headquarters are located a few miles away in downtown Oakland.

When the time came to renovate the aging Oakland campus, Kaiser Permanente wanted to celebrate the flagship location and its longstanding relationship with the city.

The medical center had grown organically as the surrounding community grew, creating a patchwork of loosely connected buildings spread across several city blocks. The multiphase remodel project would provide the opportunity to improve the connection between the hospital and its surrounding medical office buildings and to better integrate the campus into the community.

The new hospital building would also allow the facility to introduce new medical services, including an expanded emergency department, 349 patient beds, and a full-service children’s hospital to serve families throughout Northern California.

One of the biggest challenges on the project was incorporating these expanded services on a dense 7-acre urban campus.

Meeting with city planners and neighbors for two years, Kaiser Permanente and project partners NBBJ (San Francisco) and McCarthy (St. Louis) came up with a master plan that would create efficiencies for patients and staff and contribute to the revitalization happening in Oakland.

The 12-story Oakland hospital opened in July featuring all-private patient rooms with pull-out guest beds so relatives can stay with loved ones overnight. Rooms are equipped with interactive technology that patients can use from the bedside to order room-service, watch television, find the names of doctors, and read their care schedules.  

Outside, a central courtyard provides patients and staff easy access to nature and fills interior spaces with daylight. A street-level café is open to the public, and a main entrance plaza links the hospital to a retail district on its northeast corner and an adjacent park.

Clinical functions are collocated in an adjoining specialty medical office building (MOB) to help simplify wayfinding and save steps for patients, staff, and visitors.  

In addition to the new hospital and attached MOB, the Oakland Medical Center rebuilding project included a cancer care center and medical office building (which opened in 2009), a central utility plant, and two new parking garages. Together the buildings form a compact, coordinated network of care settings for Kaiser Permanente in Oakland.