Who he is: Mark Gesinger, LEED AP, has been drawing structures and spaces since he was a kid. But it wasn’t until he was pursuing medicine in college that volunteer work at a hospital found him intrigued by the space itself and how teams worked within it. Fast-forward a few years, and his master’s thesis for architecture school was focused on healthcare design. Now, with more than 25 years of experience as a principal designer and medical planner at ZGF, he works with some of the nation’s leading healthcare institutions to enhance their healing environments. According to his nomination, Gesinger is known for his ability to engage stakeholders at all levels, with a knack for synthesizing and relating design elements and inviting feedback that will enrich the design.

Year in review: Gesinger’s recent projects include major campus expansions for Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Seattle Children’s Hospital, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, and a new rural replacement hospital for Samaritan Health in Moses Lake, Wash. He’s been instrumental in shaping not only the facilities themselves but new models of care that spur long-term operational change and enable growth. One example regarding the latter is his work on Seattle Children’s Building Care project—the second phase of a 1 million-square-foot campus expansion. There, Gesinger helped develop a new model for surgery inspired by care environments that he and the client researched and observed in Europe. The proposed model, using induction rooms and external set-up rooms to remove tasks from the ORs that limit throughput, is now expected to allow Seattle Children’s to see 40 percent more cases in the OR than current processes. And that’s just one outcome of the project’s 18-month Lean process, driven by Gesinger. Additionally, at Cincinnati Children’s, he led the planning and design of a new 609,100-square-foot addition and 136,100-square-foot renovation of an existing critical care building, leveraging virtual reality models to present design options and gain critical buy-in from surgeons and frontline staff. The Lean process there, which included 13 integrated design events and hundreds of stakeholders, resulted in a novel shape for the bed units (two bowties side by side) that minimizes travel distances and establish a clear front and back of house.

Industry impact: Constantly drawn to healthcare research, Gesinger often shares new concepts to clients for consideration and visits new facilities to see breakthrough designs firsthand. For example, he recently toured two Scandinavian projects to better understand how they infuse daylight into surgery suites, with some of his findings now being incorporated into current work. He’s also skilled at communicating the benefit of exploring new solutions. Take the Seattle Children’s Building Care project, where he utilized a computational data visualization model to gain buy-in from key stakeholders, such as surgeons, by visually demonstrating the increased efficiency that could be achieved by implementing a new model, even while reducing the overall number of rooms. He’s hoping to give back to the research community, as well, by working to establish Building Care as a case study to inform future projects, with the goal to have its solutions tested and documented in a post-occupancy evaluation.