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Amanda Hervey

Case Studies

Private Client Outpatient Centre

Case Study

Private Client Outpatient Centre From 19th Century Office Building to 21st Century London Clinic

London, UK

The Challenge

Our client sought to convert an existing six-story, 19th century office building into a modern health care facility that provides a comprehensive range of services. The design had to consider the constraints of the building’s Central London location, including limited space and noise pollution. Challenges included compliant design for any specialist health care technology, such as the MRI suite, in a narrow floorplate within a period building facade.

The Design Solution

The Outpatient Centre is designed to provide a safe and welcoming environment where patients can feel comfortable while receiving medical care. The facility is equipped with the latest technology to enhance quality, safety and experience of care. It offers a variety of outpatient services including outpatient appointments, diagnostics, and general practice appointments for cardiology, neuroscience, digestive diseases, orthopedics, ENT, urology and executive health assessments.

Structural reinforcement was introduced to the imaging scanning rooms, and the slab below the scanning rooms had to be strengthened. The existing façade was structurally reinforced and carefully dismantled for equipment installation and returned to its original condition. Existing bricks were retained and reused as much as possible, otherwise reclaimed bricks were used. A sustainable approach was also taken in the choice of materials. Timber wall paneling, rubber flooring and natural stone were all chosen due to their low end-of-life environmental impact.

The clinic’s design is focused on creating a healing environment that would reduce stress and anxiety for patients. The registration and admissions areas have clear wayfinding to give patients an initial impression of confidence. The waiting areas are soothing, with comfortable seating and access to natural light. Consulting and treatment rooms are located on the upper floors to take advantage of the surrounding area’s beautiful views. This provides a pleasant, calming, and therapeutic environment for staff to work in and for patients receiving medical care.

Staff retention and recruitment were also considered in the design of the building. For example, comfortable spaces were created to support staff alertness, health, and well-being. The aim was to create an environment where staff could feel comfortable and supported while providing medical care to patients. This helps to improve staff satisfaction and retention rates, which can ultimately lead to better patient outcomes.

The Design Impact

The Outpatient Centre is a modern and functional health care facility designed to provide patients and staff with a safe and welcoming environment. Repurposing the existing building to its new clinical function while maintaining its structure, vertical circulation and façade significantly extended the life of the building and eliminated the need for a new build.

Project Features

King’s College Hospital Jeddah

Case Study

King’s College Hospital Jeddah Offering High Quality Care with Local Aesthetics

Jeddah, Saudia Arabia

The Challenge

As part of the Government of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 Healthcare Sector Transformation Programme, King’s College Hospital Jeddah is the first hospital in Saudi Arabia to be truly integrated with the world class physicians and research from King’s College Hospital (KCH) London. Established in 1840, KCH London is one of the largest teaching hospitals in the UK, with a long history of successfully caring for patients with complex conditions.

It is envisaged that King’s College Hospital will draw and retain the most talented healthcare staff and bring the highest quality of care, and subsequently positive patient outcomes, making King’s College Hospital the hospital of choice for Jeddah and its surrounds. Building on the success of the recently completed King’s College Hospital Dubai, KCH Jeddah was envisioned to be focused on clinical innovation with hospitality-like patient services.

The hospital is located along King Abdulaziz Road, a major artery in Jeddah, which is along the path of the Muslims’ annual pilgrimage to Mecca. The tight site in a congested area brought difficulties in creating access and circulation points during construction.

The Design Solution

Taking cues from the ageless quality and vibrant characteristics of Jeddah, the objective was to design a modern medical facility that provides the highest quality care and experience for patients, families, and staff. The grand main entrance was a vital element in creating a unique visitor experience. The heavily glazed exterior facades provide a hospitality-like ambiance consistent with the five-star treatment within.

The patient-centred care model is designed to address a range of complex and critical care requirements unique to the residents and communities of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The hospital is fully integrated with KCH London, offering 24-hour primary care, a full range of outpatient care services and select inpatient services. In addition to locally based physicians, senior KCH physicians from London and Dubai will offer virtual consultations for complex cases. There is also a visiting physicians and surgeon programme with some of KCH’s top surgeons and physicians visiting KCH Jeddah.

Interior spaces are designed for an upscale user experience, creating patient comfort and safety with high-end quality environment with hospitality-like amenities. Using the interior branding established at KCH Dubai, the colour scheme emphasises the sense of community and culture. The warm tones in the palette compliment the wooden Rawashins dotting the city, with sea foam accents marking the entryways.

The Design Impact

King’s College Hospital Jeddah, with the support of King’s College Hospital London, has a world leading position in health care and therapeutic institutes. The London and Jeddah hospitals share knowledge from established research centres in the UK, which reduces the need for patients to travel to the UK for specialty treatment.

The sophisticated design and world-class healthcare services provided here draw and retain the most talented staff to provide the highest quality of care. The resulting positive patient outcomes will make it the hospital of choice for Jeddah and its surrounding communities.

KCH Jeddah is expected to be the first of many similar projects, providing King’s College Hospital the platform for further growth in KSA.

Project Features

“During the design process, HKS demonstrated their deep knowledge of healthcare planning and design, and worked effectively and collaboratively with all stakeholders, including our clinical teams from King’s College Hospital, London.”

Kevin L. Duffy, Chief Construction Officer
King’s College Hospital Jeddah


Case Study

Cosm Amplifying Experience with Shared Reality

The Colony, TX & Hollywood Park, CA

The Challenge

To design venues that offer fans a revolutionary way to experience sporting, entertainment and cultural events through shared reality.

The Design Solution

Cosm is an immersive entertainment, media, and technology company redefining the way the world experiences content through shared reality. HKS designed two venues for Cosm in The Colony, Texas, and Inglewood, California. They are scheduled to open in 2024.

By blending digital and physical experiences, Cosm venues offer fans a unique energy and vibe by fusing innovative design with immersive technology. The architecture serves to ground viewers by connecting them to their physical location with views to nature and the outdoors.

Applying design research, HKS architects partnered with Cosm to determine that a toroidal dome would provide elevated viewing experiences for a larger number of fans in the dome, the primary gathering space at Cosm venues.  The environment creates an unparalleled viewing experience for fans participating in events remotely.

The Design Impact

Design that amplifies the benefits of shared reality will enable Cosm guests to experience the best seat in the house, remotely. The shared physical and digital experience will democratize access to global events and provide educational and cultural opportunities for surrounding communities.

The Colony, TX
The Colony, TX

Project Features

Hollywood Park, CA
Hollywood Park, CA
Hollywood Park, CA

HKS-Designed Fairmont Taghazout Bay Wins 2023 International Hotel & Property Award

Midland Metropolitan University Hospital

Case Study

Midland Metropolitan University Hospital Supporting a New Model of Care

Birmingham, United Kingdom

The Challenge

The Sandwell and Birmingham NHS Trust is creating a new hospital to support a new model of care for the half million people served by the organisation. Midland Metropolitan University Hospital will enable the Trust to bring together acute care and emergency services currently provided at two separate hospitals. The new hospital, located between Sandwell and Birmingham, will create a centralised hub for emergency care and support collaboration between care teams. The project will also encourage renewal in a designated regeneration zone.

The Design Solution

Midland Metropolitan University Hospital, designed by HKS, Edward Williams Architects and Sonneman Toon Architects, is scheduled to open in 2024. The hospital will be the largest acute health care facility within the Sandwell and Birmingham NHS Trust.

The hospital will provide emergency department, maternity, children’s and adult acute inpatient services in an environment that is purpose-built for clinical teams to work together. The flexible design of the building’s interior spaces will enable the Trust to adapt easily to changes in health care delivery and community needs.

The hospital’s innovative features include a fully enclosed space called the Winter Garden, which people can use to access the majority of visitor amenities such as restaurants, family overnight stay areas and a multi-faith centre. The Winter Garden also provides space for all building users to relax, meet and admire the views from the roof terraces or to quietly contemplate and gather their thoughts. The selected interior materials and finishes are stylish, contemporary, durable and cleanable, for a comfortable, safe, non-institutional health care environment. The design of the paediatric department incorporates play areas, places to display children’s artwork and a colorful palette appropriate for all ages.

Separate circulation routes throughout the facility for patients, staff and clinical services will increase operational efficiency and improve the patient experience.

A car park on the building’s ground floor and first floor will help create a secure environment for patients, visitors and staff.

The Design Impact

The new hospital is designed to meet the highest national and international standards to support the efficient delivery of high-quality health care. To protect the health of people and the environment, the project is targeting an Excellent rating from BREEAM, a globally recognized standard for sustainable buildings. Located on a 6-hectare brownfield site in Smethwick, the hospital will be at the centre of the area’s regeneration, close to the historical heart of the industrial revolution.

Project Features

HKS named as supplier on NHS Shared Business Services ‘Healthcare Planning, Construction Consultancy and Ancillary Service (HPCCAS) Framework Agreement

HKS named as supplier on NHS Shared Business Services ‘Healthcare Planning, Construction Consultancy and Ancillary Service (HPCCAS) Framework Agreement

HKS, a leading global architecture and design firm, is thrilled to announce its appointment as a supplier on the significant Healthcare Planning, Construction Consultancy and Ancillary Service (HPCCAS) Framework Agreement by NHS Shared Business Services (NHS SBS). This recognition underscores HKS’s commitment to providing innovative and sustainable architectural solutions that positively impact healthcare environments.

NHS SBS is renowned for its rigorous evaluation process, and HKS’s inclusion as a supplier exemplifies the firm’s esteemed reputation within the architecture and design industry. HKS has been awarded positions on:

“We are delighted to be appointed as a supplier on the NHS Shared Business Services’ Healthcare Planning, Construction Consultancy and Ancillary Services (HPCCAS) Framework Agreement,” said Jane Ho, Regional Practice Director of Health at HKS. “Our team is dedicated to designing environments that enhance the well-being of patients, healthcare professionals, and communities at large. This partnership with NHS Shared Business Services further strengthens our resolve to create exceptional healthcare spaces that promote healing and innovation that can be realistically delivered within the programme and financial challenges of today.”

Our team is dedicated to designing environments that enhance the well-being of patients, healthcare professionals, and communities at large.

HKS’s extensive portfolio includes a wide range of healthcare projects, from state-of-the-art medical facilities to transformative system-wide master plans. With a commitment to sustainability, innovation, and evidence-based design, HKS has consistently demonstrated its ability to deliver environments that drive positive outcomes in patient care.

For more information about HKS London and its advisory, architecture and design services, please visit: https://www.hksinc.com/

Media Contact
Julie Obiala
Director of Communications
+1 202 256 5758

Royal Liverpool University Hospital

Case Study

Royal Liverpool University Hospital A New Landmark Health Facility

Liverpool Merseyside, United Kingdom

The Challenge

Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (LUHFT) needed to redevelop a hospital campus and create a new landmark facility in the city of Liverpool.

The new Royal Liverpool University Hospital is the first acute care facility completed as part of the New Hospital Programme, an initiative of the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS) to update regulations and health care practices, standardize clinical spaces, provide 100 percent single-patient rooms and create hospital buildings that are flexible, agile and future proof.

LUHFT wanted the project to integrate the hospital into its community and help reactivate the surrounding neighborhood and broader city centre.

To deliver the utmost benefit to all hospital users, key design criteria included providing maximum levels of daylight, views and access to landscaping, easy wayfinding and an uplifting, holistic health care environment.

The project was delayed mid-construction due to unforeseen circumstances. When work resumed the design team refurbished much of the previously built facility and successfully finished the project.

The Design Solution

Designed by HKS and NBBJ, the new Royal Liverpool University Hospital is a 95,000-square-metre critical care hospital located on the cusp of Liverpool’s education, innovation and cultural district.

Built adjacent to the existing 1970s-era hospital building, the replacement hospital forms the heart of a new health care masterplan in the city.

As Liverpool’s main trauma hospital, the 640-bed facility features 40 critical care beds, a 41-bay emergency department and a surgery suite with 18 operating rooms, including robotic and hybrid ORs. Services include cardiology, respiratory care, renal dialysis, ophthalmology, haematology and vascular surgery.

The hospital delivers on the goal of 100 percent single-patient rooms. Daylight, views, landscaping and ease of wayfinding reduce stress and anxiety at the new teaching and research facility.

Major hospital destinations are visible from the hospital entrance, which features a large atrium and public concourse with landscaped gardens. Large interior courtyards allow natural light to penetrate deep into the building, providing daylight, seasonal color and calming views throughout the hospital. All patient rooms have access to natural light and views, with more than half offering city-wide views of Liverpool. A 200-seat restaurant on the hospital’s 10th floor features panoramic views of the city.

The building’s exterior ceramic rain screen cladding and light-colored masonry resemble nearby historically significant structures. A large, landscaped public plaza connects the hospital with the University of Liverpool campus and the city’s Knowledge Quarter.

The hospital campus includes the new Clinical Sciences and Support Building, a clinical research facility that incorporates laboratory, pharmacy and administrative space and is connected via a bridge directly to the main hospital. In addition, three bridges link the hospital to the Clatterbridge Cancer Centre Liverpool, enabling cancer patients to easily access both hospital care and specialist oncology support.

The Royal Liverpool University Hospital was designed to BREEAM Excellent standards for sustainability. Sustainable design features include a high-performance façade; green roofs; energy-efficient mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems and public transport accessibility.

The Design Impact

LUHFT continues to deliver the highest quality health care with the replacement of the Royal Liverpool University Hospital building, supported by the latest medical equipment and technology. The hospital is a standard-bearer for single-patient rooms in new NHS hospitals, for improved infection control and patient care. The project realized 30 percent energy reduction below baseline use for hospitals. The Clinical Sciences and Support Building advances LUHFT’s position as a leader in cutting-edge medical trials and studies.

The new health care campus design brings fractured areas of the city together. The hospital is a focal point for the campus and an integral part of the new health service for the people of Liverpool.

Located in the center of Liverpool, the new hospital is the catalyst for the site’s regeneration. The hospital is knit into the urban fabric, creating easily navigable linkages to the Knowledge Quarter and a planned biomedical campus. Ease of access and connectivity encourage local community use of the building. The atrium, gardens and café area create a new sense of place in Liverpool.

Project Features


Architects’ Datafile Profiles Royal Liverpool University Hospital

Join HKS at the 2023 European Healthcare Design Conference

Join HKS at the 2023 European Healthcare Design Conference

Please join HKS at the European Healthcare Design Conference in London and virtually, June 12–14. The theme of this year’s event is “Fault lines and front lines: Strengthening health system resilience.” The highly anticipated conference seeks to spark conversation in Europe and around the world about how to plan and design health systems and infrastructure to achieve fiscal balance, equality of access, greater efficiency, net-zero, pandemic preparedness, quality improvement and better health outcomes in design.

HKS’ Jess Karsten, Deborah Wingler, Angela Lee, Sarah Holton and Joshi Rutali are all scheduled to speak at the conference, in addition to video and poster galleries from Sammy Shams, Sumandeep Singh and Jennie Evans that delegates can peruse between sessions.


Video + Poster Gallery

The cultured surroundings of the Dorchester Library will play host to the Video + Poster Gallery


We hope you’ll join our illustrious team for rewarding discussions on health care design resilience.

A Winning Design for Championship Venues

A Winning Design for Championship Venues

For decades, Wheaties cereal has carried the tagline, “The Breakfast of Champions.” But HKS has had its own high-level championship run over the years. 

Since 2010, HKS-designed buildings have hosted Super Bowls, the World Series, NCAA Final Fours and the College Football Playoffs National Championships. The streak continued in 2021 when Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis hosted the NCAA Men’s Final Four basketball tournament for the third time. That was followed in June by the U. S. Gymnastics Championships, highlighted by Olympic Gold Medalist Simone Biles, which were held at Fort Worth’s Dickies Arena, yet another world-class venue that involved HKS designers. 

In February 2022, Super Bowl LVI was held at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California. In August of that year, the Chengdu Phoenix Mountain Sports Center in China — which has one of the world’s largest curved, open cable domes — was the site of the World University Games. The Games were postponed from 2021 because of COVID-19 concerns. 

The pace hasn’t slowed down, either. The American Airlines Center in Dallas hosted the 2023 NCAA Women’s Final Four this spring, and the College Football Playoffs National Championship was held at SoFi Stadium in January. The stadium will be in the spotlight again when it hosts the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the 2028 Olympic Games. In 2026, it will be a host site for the World Cup, along with HKS-designed AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. 

Also upcoming are the 2026 NCAA Men’s and 2028 Women’s Final Fours at Lucas Oil Stadium, and in July of this year, SoFi Stadium will hold the CONCACAF Gold Cup Final. Arlington’s Globe Life Field will host the MLB All-Star Game in 2024.  

While the participants in championship contests are unknown at the start of their respective seasons — with the final determinations all decided on the field or court — the buildings that host them are years in the making, with the opportunity to hold championship events a major focal point of the planning and design. 

Championship Design Means Creating ‘a Wow Factor’

Although AT&T Stadium (Dallas Cowboys), U.S. Bank Stadium (Minnesota Vikings), Lucas Oil Stadium (Indianapolis Colts) and SoFi Stadium (Los Angeles Rams and Chargers) were all designed to meet the specific desires of the home teams that play in them, the team owners also had bolder ideas for their facilities. They wanted their new sports homes to be big enough and grand enough to host Super Bowls and other high-profile events. 

As Cowboys owner, Jerry Jones put it in a 2009 Wall Street Journal article about his team’s then-new home, “we wanted this stadium to have a wow factor.”

The owners of the Texas Rangers also anticipated big things for its new HKS-designed Globe Life Field before the COVID-19 pandemic abruptly shut down those plans on the eve of Opening Day in 2020. At the time, there was no way to know it would welcome the World Series later that year, but the retractable roof stadium, with its ample concourses, swanky clubhouses and climate-controlled seating area became the perfect home after the pandemic prompted Major League Baseball to use a single site for its Fall Classic.

Those who attended Super Bowl LVI were exposed to a variety of digital upgrades. Like his Colts, Cowboys and Vikings contemporaries, Los Angeles Rams Owner and Chairman, E. Stanley Kroenke, asked HKS designers to develop plans for SoFi that would allow it to host global entertainment events and turn them into ultimate experiences for a live and television audience.

The scoreboard displays a Congratulations message to the Los Angeles Dodgers after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 in Game Six to win the 2020 MLB World Series at Globe Life Field on October 27, 2020 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Maxx Wolfson/Getty Images)

Staying Local and Flexible

To deliver on those requests, HKS designers approach stadium designing with some clear thoughts in mind. One design element that is a hallmark of HKS-designed stadiums are clarity of structural expression and transparency, which heightens the fan experience. So fans who walk into AT&T Stadium, Globe Life Field or SoFi Stadium will immediately recognize the ability to sort of “see through” the structures to the outside even though the stadiums themselves are enclosed or covered.

There are other important factors as well. Even though the stadiums will be showcased to the world, designers look at them as a vital and visible part of the local community. The owners of the Colts, for example, wanted the look of Lucas Oil Stadium to pay homage to the fieldhouses found throughout Indiana, while the shape of U.S. Bank Stadium reminds of Northern European design.

In addition to leaning into those roots, U.S. Bank Stadium also had to satisfy another requirement to reach championship status; designers had to figure out a way to make it withstand Minnesota’s harsh climate. They designed the first ETFE roof in an American stadium, which allows lots of natural light while blocking the brutal cold. This design element was put to the test in February 2018 during Super Bowl LII, the coldest Super Bowl on record with temperatures in Minneapolis reaching a high of 9°F on game day. 

And at SoFi Stadium, architects had to embed it 100 feet into the ground so that it wouldn’t interfere with flights in and out of Los Angeles International Airport, which sits just three miles away. But the deep dig and the stadium’s proximity to LAX also provided designers with a unique opportunity to use the stadium’s roof — which contains LED lights — as a sort of real-time projection screen for passengers flying overhead.

In the case of Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, he wanted AT&T Stadium to maintain a tangible link back to the team’s iconic former home, Texas Stadium. So, the design for the new stadium’s signature retractable roof includes a “hole” in it when the roof is open that exactly matches the shape of the hole at the old stadium, including its rounded corners.

In addition, the stadiums all are designed to have a high degree of flexibility. Designers created AT&T Stadium with not only the ability to host championship football contests from high school to pros, but ones for college basketball or even professional Motocross. 

And the ability to quickly and seamlessly provide multiple uses isn’t limited to the world of traditional sporting events. With Major League Baseball shut down at the time, the first events at Globe Life Field in 2020 were local high school graduations. The inaugural event at SoFi Stadium was scheduled to be a two-day Taylor Swift concert before COVID-19 disrupted those plans.

An Enhanced Fan Experience

To offer those various events, though, requires that designers and their clients team up to create a greatly enhanced fan experience. For the past decade or so, team owners have realized that simply making a trip to a stadium to see their favorite player is not enough for most fans. Their guests want to know what they are going to see — and do — once they get there. If it’s not glitzy enough, many patrons will opt to stay home and watch games from the less-expensive comfort of their own TV rooms.

For most stadiums designed recently, that enhanced fan experience begins with upgraded technology features, particularly a large, high-tech videoboard.  When AT&T Stadium opened in 2009, it held what was then the largest LED videoboard in the world, stretching from one 20-yard line to the other. The high-definition Mitsubishi picture gave fans seated at the highest points of the stadium, the ability to watch a game as if they were watching at home on their own big-screen televisions. And that was the point.

But SoFi Stadium, which opened without fans in 2020, is the newest king of championship stadium design. It’s 2.2-million-pound, dual-sided, center-hung, circular scoreboard is largest ever built and will provide practically every fan who visits, no matter where inside SoFi they sit or stand, with a simultaneous view of the information on the screen.

The videoboard is the only 4K end-to-end production in sports and features the largest LED content playback system in history. The board also provides fans with unique programming including live content, statistics and animated content — important data for aficionados of the increasingly popular fantasy sports leagues.

“For us, it was how would we go about thinking about reconnecting fans with media in a different way,” said Lance Evans, AIA, a principal at HKS and one of the primary SoFi architects. “If I was going to watch a game at home, I’d have my iPad, I’d have my phone. How could we do that at an NFL game, at the same size, across the entire field?”

So, what will the design of the next Super Bowl or World Series stadium look like? HKS designers already have some ideas that Evans describes as both “exciting and endless.” Among them, pushing the concept of the “stadium” beyond its limited physical footprint into the limitless virtual realm.

“The integration of technology in physical environments extends venue access exponentially,” said Mark A. Williams, FAIA, HKS Principal in Charge of the SoFi Stadium project. “Imagine a venue that sells 70,000 physical tickets to an event and leveraging technology to reach previously untapped audiences and markets around the globe.”

And that means that perhaps one day soon, a championship venue will exist at anytime and anywhere.

HKS Global Design Fellowship Cultivates Design Excellence

HKS Global Design Fellowship Cultivates Design Excellence

Fostering conversations about great design is foundational to design excellence at HKS. One way we support these conversations is through our annual Global Design Fellowship. This program brings together HKS employees from throughout our 26 offices worldwide to explore big ideas through design. The fellowship is an opportunity for emerging talent to explore topics that are important to us as a firm and to advance the quality of design at HKS.

“We’re a global firm for a reason – we think that’s an asset,” said Jenn Carlson, an HKS designer who serves on the Global Design Fellowship committee. “We’re better when we’re pulling from all our offices. It’s about bringing the absolute best minds from across the firm together to develop the most creative ideas.”

Hannah Shultz, who is also an HKS designer and committee member, said the fellowship gives up-and-coming HKS employees a chance to spread their wings and take ownership of a design topic that interests them, which “only gives them more courage and agency in how they want to cultivate their career.”

Investing in our people through initiatives like the Global Design Fellowship helps express how highly HKS values both beauty and inspiration in design.

A New Design Language

Eight HKS employees were selected for our 2023 Global Design Fellowship class, which was divided into three teams:

During the fellowship the teams examined how, as science and technology have advanced, buildings have shifted away from designs that respond to their context and towards artificial environments that separate people from nature.

The design fellows sought to discover a new design language that supports both the natural and artificial realm in order to enhance the human experience and reinvigorate ecosystems.

They approached this issue by exploring how the built environment can promote a positive relationship with the Texas Blackland Prairies, an endangered ecosystem heavily impacted by the recent, rapid growth of Dallas and Austin.

Each team of fellows met virtually for two months to research, define the problem and present their progress to a team of advisors. The teams then participated in a week-long design charrette at the HKS Dallas office.

The week was capped off by the recent 2023 Global Design Fellowship event at HKS Dallas, where the design fellows presented their ideas in person to the firm as well as a panel of regional design and environmental experts.

Poetry and Power

The three teams took distinct approaches to the problem, but they each married the science and poetry of design to deliver beautiful, powerful presentations.

Siyang Zhang, Johnson and Ham (Team X) collaborated on the design of a community composting project featuring contoured underground chambers that artfully reveal the soil structure to help people better understand the underground ecosystem.

The group noted that every year in the U.S., more than 35 tons of food waste are sent to landfills. By encouraging and facilitating composting, the team’s project is designed to help replenish the Texas Blackland Prairie soil. And by collecting compostable material and distributing high quality soil to organic farms or city gardens, the project would also help build a circular economy within the community.

Dandi Zhang and Shastavets (Team Y) partnered on a project to preserve bird species that are vanishing from North America. Describing the project from the perspective of a bird watcher and a scissor-tailed flycatcher, they proposed a kit of parts to transform abandoned buildings in Texas ghost towns that are located along major migratory flyways into protective environments for birds.

Beyond protecting bird species, the project would provide viewing opportunities for bird watchers, who contribute $1.8 billion annually to the Texas economy, according to research cited by the team.

Marais, Martin and Dai (Team Z) devised a strategy for creating a web of prairie corridors to connect Dallas to the Texas Blackland Prairies. The team described the history of the Blackland Prairies, including indigenous practices to encourage prairie growth and the later industrialization that reduced the Blackland Prairie ecosystem to 1 percent of its original land mass.

The team told “The Legend of the Prairie Mother” from the viewpoint of the future, looking back on the year 2023 when, according to the legend, an environmentalist, gardener and chef teamed up to reawaken human relationships with the land, in order to rewild the landscape, build community and feed people.

The team said they chose the story format for their presentation as way to honor indigenous traditions they learned about in their research, many of which were passed down from generation to generation through storytelling.

Bridging the Dichotomy

Following the teams’ presentations, Heath May, Global Practice Director of HKS’ Laboratory for Intensive Exploration (LINE), moderated a panel discussion that included Lisa Casey, Associate with Dallas-based landscape architecture and urban design firm Studio Outside; Dr. Oswald Jenewein, Assistant Professor of Architecture at the University of Texas at Arlington; and Brett Johnson, an Urban Biologist with the Dallas Park & Recreation Department.

The panelists discussed the presentations, shared their personal career paths and talked about how their work is, as May said, “bridging the dichotomy between architecture and landscape.”

Casey explained how her professional interests intersect with the ideas expressed by the design fellows.

“I’m looking at how we tie into the native ecoregion, bringing native plant material into projects so that there’s a sense of rootedness to the work I do,” Casey said.

She praised the design fellows for bringing visibility to topics that are “central to moving things forward” in landscape architecture and urban design.

Dr. Jenewein talked about helping cities develop comprehensive plans for future development that incorporate climate adaptation and environmental topics. “I feel like we’re making significant impact,” he said. He complimented the teams for the compelling storytelling they brought to their presentations.

Johnson described how aspects of the local ecosystem, like grasslands, are aligned with human needs, such as stormwater management or open space where children can play.

He said that because his job entails considering the broader effects of different elements of the environment, he especially appreciated the idea of revealing the soil in order to increase people’s understanding of soil’s importance.

“You’re taking something that’s been subliminal…and you’re bringing it beyond the surface, so we can actually experience it and talk through it,” Johnson said.

May noted that over the next several decades, geographies in Texas are likely to undergo a process of transformation. He said that projects like those presented by the design fellows “are so valuable in showing what the role of the architect could be in all of this, as kind of a mastermind that is allowed to invent and experiment.”

Lasting Impression

As Chief Design Officer here at HKS, one of the most exciting things about the design profession to me is the opportunity we have to make a clear and lasting impression on people’s lives.

The HKS 2023 design fellows demonstrated that design excellence requires a deep understanding of what shapes a community and place. Places don’t exist in one time, one generation, one decade. As designers, we need to consider how we create the future without losing the sense of what makes a place special.

We want our environments and spaces to inspire people. I applaud this year’s design fellows for elevating the work that we do.

Confidential Wellness Center

Case Study

Confidential Wellness Center Designing a Holistic Haven for Healing: A Healthy Environment for Mind, Body, and Spirit

Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

The Challenge

The challenge for HKS designers was to convert a low-end retail mall nestled within the heart of Jeddah city into a tranquil, holistic wellness center that integrates itself within the context of the city. The vision is to create a state-of-the-art, patient-centered health care facility that prioritizes overall well-being through a holistic approach to medicine and wellness, catering to the diverse needs of the local population and visitors.

The Design Solution

Healing by Design is an approach that prioritizes the well-being of patients by incorporating elements of nature, culture, and tradition to enhance the healing process. In this wellness center, the building design deeply embeds itself into the cultural fabric of Jeddah, paying homage to the identity, culture, and tradition of Islam. Each space has been carefully crafted to achieve a balance between the traditional and the contemporary, creating an elevated experience for patients. The design is defined by Jeddah’s strong connection to the coast, with a soothing ambience created by a soft, muted material palette that references the coastal hues and vernacular architecture. The center also prioritizes sustainable design, with the strategic use of gardens and openings to naturally ventilate and cool the building, and ample daylighting used to brighten the interior spaces.

The Design Impact

The wellness center is dedicated to promoting a holistic understanding of wellness and encourages individuals to adopt lifestyles that prioritize their overall well-being. This philosophy is reflected in the center’s planning and design, as mental and social wellness are emphasized through the establishment of mental health clinics, while physical wellness is advocated through the inclusion of an indoor gymnasium with direct access to an outdoor sports garden. Additionally, the center nurtures spiritual well-being by integrating mindfulness spaces where patients can engage in meditative practices, promoting a holistic and comprehensive approach to healing.

Project Features

Turning Design Excellence into Effective Leadership: A Conversation with HKS CEO Dan Noble

Turning Design Excellence into Effective Leadership: A Conversation with HKS CEO Dan Noble

At HKS, we believe design can change people’s lives for the better. We strive to create beautiful buildings and communities that bring people together and solve real problems.

In his 39-year career at the firm, HKS President & CEO Dan Noble has observed the parallels between extraordinary design and impactful leadership. He’s noticed that the same character, purpose and relationships that contribute to excellent design lead to successful governance.

Reflecting on HKS’ legacy – and looking towards the future – Noble recently shared his thoughts on the firm’s rich history, his personal journey as a designer and leader and how lessons he’s learned from the design process translate into effective leadership.

What key aspects of HKS’ heritage are important to you as a leader?

HKS was founded in 1939 by Harwood K. Smith and his wife, Kate Robertson Smith. Harwood was an amazing entrepreneur, architect and artist. Born in Evanston, Illinois, he studied at the Art Institute of Chicago before moving to Dallas to pursue his passion for, and hone his skills in, architecture.

Harwood set the tone for informality and mentorship at HKS. He was known for walking through the office and engaging even the newest architects in discussions about what they were working on. That informality and humility, and the spirit that we are all in this together, set HKS apart today and contribute to our familial culture.  We are a large firm with a small firm culture.

For an 83-year-old enterprise, our line of succession is not very long. I am only the fifth President & CEO, building on Harwood’s legacy.

How has your journey at HKS progressed from design leader to President & CEO?

My tenure at HKS began in the fall of 1983 after I graduated from North Dakota State University and worked briefly with smaller firms in Houston. Today, HKS employs over 1,500 people across 26 offices worldwide. When I started at the firm, we were about 200 people strong, with one office in Dallas.

I was fortunate to work under the direction of past HKS presidents, Joe Buskuhl and Ralph Hawkins. With Joe’s leadership, the firm became known for our management and technical expertise. Ralph was equally interested in design excellence and geographic expansion.

I became Global Design Director of HKS in 2002. I had always worked collaboratively on projects but now I had a more active role in elevating our design firmwide and helping project teams find creative design solutions. The design problem, for me, shifted from developing solutions for individual buildings to creating more successful and creative design teams. I was still hands-on with design, participating in pinups and charrettes, but I had to transition from doing to directing.

What does Design Excellence mean to you?

Design Excellence of course encompasses aesthetic considerations, such as scale, rhythm, proportion, repetition, proper editing, delight, beauty and harmony. But it also entails building performance, enhancing the human experience and understanding the behavioral science of improving the environment.

The process of creating and executing an excellent design is more alchemic than paint-by-number.

What lessons have you learned from design that translated to your role as President & CEO of HKS?

Over the course of my career, I’ve learned that Design Excellence correlates closely with leadership excellence. Qualities that are essential to the design process – collaboration, incubation, iteration, failure, empathy, connection, innovation and humor – are just as important to effective leadership.

Collaboration – Bringing diverse teams together to discover the most creative solutions is something HKS believes in highly. Best practices in Health design may inspire solutions in Education, Hospitality ideas may make Workplaces more user-friendly and understanding crowd movement for Urban Planning can inform design solutions for our Sports group. And of course, Research can be a huge differentiator for all our practices. HKS works across practices and geographies to bring our clients the best talent available worldwide.

Incubation – Part of finding great solutions is listening to multiple stakeholders – including clients, consultants, users and community leaders – and letting ideas settle in. Let the game come to you a bit. Slow down to go fast. Taking time to engage with diverse partners can help you arrive at effective design solutions quicker. Being open to new ideas is essential.

Iteration – Once you collect that feedback, you can begin exploring ways to create solutions. Here is where you must exhibit some humility. Ego needs to take a back seat. It doesn’t matter where the best ideas come from, we build off each other’s ideas. I like it when a project team leaves the room and nobody knows exactly where an idea originated, but everyone feels like it was kind of their own.

Failure – As HKS’ Design Director, I tried to create a safe space for people to experiment. Being vulnerable and open to others is essential to innovation. As a leader, you have to avoid jumping in and trying to solve other people’s challenges. Sometimes design ideas fail, but failure is an important teaching moment. I routinely engage in 360-degree reviews to receive feedback on my own performance and try to continually learn how to be a more effective leader.

Empathy – I love being an architect. I love being hands-on and in the thick of things. But as HKS’ Design Director and later as the firm’s President & CEO, I had to learn to step back and let others find solutions. Sometimes people don’t do things the way you would. But having the patience and empathy to let people find their own paths is important to developing the next generation of leaders.

Connection – Finding that synergy between place, purpose and design is what great architecture is all about. Finding essential connections between people is important to designing a successful project and to running a successful business. After all, people create the synergy that results in great design solutions.

Innovation – True innovation is hard to come by. At HKS, we strive to hire people who are constantly challenging the status quo. And then we let them experiment, fail and learn. We’ve developed an entire Innovation sector to bring focus to this type of thinking and working. Developing this sector may have been HKS’ most transformational move. Do you want to be a commoditized vendor or a trusted advisor and partner? In the end, our brains and our thoughts are the most valuable assets we can offer the world. What can be automated and commoditized will be. Let’s not compete in a race to the bottom.

Humor – As a leader, you can’t take yourself too seriously. We spend most of our waking hours working with others – we can make it fun and fulfilling or a chore and a drag. The gift of humor shouldn’t be minimized.

How can leaders design and build better teams?

Part of being an effective leader is being in touch with your people, developing friendships and learning people’s strengths and weaknesses, passions and personalities. With understanding and empathy comes trust. Our people are our differentiators. Hire the best people you can find who share your values and give them the tools, training and mentorship they need to grow and evolve. And then get out of their way. Let them figure things out.

High-performing teams are built through inspiration, transparency, a certain degree of ambiguity, and diversity and inclusion.

Inspiration – Our job as leaders is to emulate the transparent culture that we aspire to, to establish the strategic direction we want to go and to inspire others to come along. In the book, The Way of the Shepherd: Seven Secrets to Managing Productive People, Kevin Leman wrote, “If you want your people to go above and beyond, they must see your passion, your heart. If it’s greatness that you want, it’s greatness that you must give.” You can’t be afraid to show that you care and that you’re passionate and committed to your purpose.

Transparency – Two things I continue to strive for as a leader are more transparency throughout the firm and the support of an effective feedback loop that includes all our people, regardless of their rank or experience. People walk into my office all the time – I encourage it. We have an “Ask Dan” feature on the HKS intranet that goes directly to me and enables people to ask me anything they want, anonymously or not. We’ve also instituted checks and balances to make sure every member of HKS’ Executive Board, including me, is holding true to our Strategic Plan. We are all held accountable to the firm’s established values and vision.

Ambiguity – I’ve learned to accept holding opposing ideas in my head at the same time. Decisions aren’t always black and white. Embracing the messy gray is crucial – it’s where the most profound solutions come from. I like to say that I’m comfortable with ambiguity as long as we’re clear about what we want to achieve.

Diversity & Inclusion – It’s no surprise to hear that our profession has lacked diversity, especially in the leadership ranks. This is partly because people tend to hire and promote those who are most like themselves. To help break this pattern, at HKS we have created a robust Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion program with a dedicated JEDI Director who is leading community outreach, education and enrichment programs that are helping us build a more diverse team and leadership. These efforts include our recently launched partner diversity program, HKS xBE, which is designed to help disadvantaged businesses build relationships and pursue new opportunities in the architecture and design professions. Diverse teams give rise to innovative thinking and increase the value of our work in the communities we serve.

How do you view the future of leadership at HKS?

We are fortunate to have a cadre of qualified people who can step into leadership roles. What I am looking for in our future leaders is innovation, creativity, empathy, grit, honesty, humility, optimism and heart.

Sergi Roca-Subirats


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News, Announcements and Events

HKS in 2023: Projects To Get Excited About

HKS in 2023: Projects To Get Excited About

Named by Fast Company as one of the Most Innovative Companies in 2022, global design firm HKS is looking to grow our business and bring exciting, positive impact to communities around the world this year.

From improving design through innovation, research and equity-centered approaches, here’s an insightful snapshot of some projects and initiatives that we’re excited to see in 2023:

Pioneering Research and Designs that Transform Communities

1. Brain Health Research – HKS recently launched brand-new findings from the brain health study we conducted in partnership with the University of Texas at Dallas’ Center for BrainHealth® with insights into how people and companies can work smarter, more collaboratively and healthier. The report also includes what we’ve learned about designing workplaces to enhance cognitive functions and well-being.

2. Project Connect – The Austin Transit Partnership (ATP) just announced a major partnership with an international design team led by HKS, UNStudio and Gehl to create system-wide architecture and urban design for the light rail program of Project Connect, a major expansion of Austin’s public transit system.The collaborative team is getting to work on designing a technologically advanced, human-centric transit experience true to Austin’s culture and landscape.

Stunning New Places to Work and Relax

3. HKS New York City Office – Located in the NoMad neighborhood of Manhattan, HKS’ new New York City Office will open this spring. With a design inspired by the city’s complex transportation system and artistic culture, the office will be a center of creativity and innovation that serves as gateway destination for HKS’ global clients. Goals for the design include adaptable collaboration, acoustic comfort, access to nature and daylight — all key elements to support the health and productivity of designers working in one of the world’s biggest and busiest cities.

4. The Ritz-Carlton, Portland – HKS crafted the vision, developed the planning and strategy, sculpted the interior architecture and designed the furniture and finishes of the Ritz-Carlton that debuts this summer in downtown Portland, Oregon. This 35-story mixed-used high rise was created in partnership with Portland-based GBD Architects and BPM Real Estate Group. The interiors of the multifaceted building’s hotel, residential, retail and office spaces celebrate the beauty of the Pacific Northwest, native culture and craft and Portland’s spirit of exploration.

Game-changing Venues for Extraordinary Entertainment Experiences

5. ES CON Field Hokkaido – ES CON Field Hokkaido ballpark is a 35,000-capacity baseball stadium scheduled to open for play this spring in Japan. Home to the Pacific League’s Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters Baseball Club, the complex is the heart of a dynamic, master-planned mixed-used development. The stadium’s retractable roof and sliding glass outfield doors – which help grow natural turf – are among many firsts for a ballpark in the Asian market. Other highlights include a pair of 88-meter-long video boards that create an immersive digital experience, and traditional Japanese onsen natural hot spring baths that fans can enjoy while watching games.

6. Cosm — The first public venue for global experiential media company Cosm is undergoing construction throughout 2023 at Inglewood, CA’s Hollywood Park, home of HKS-designed SoFi Stadium and YouTube Theater. The venue will feature live sports, entertainment events and arts and music experiences in a future-forward immersive digital technology environment. Cosm is sure to bring even more cutting-edge entertainment value to the Los Angeles area when it opens next year.

State-of-the-art Education and Health Care Environments

7. Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center O’Quinn Medical Tower at McNair – The new O’Quinn Medical Tower, opening this spring, will house the Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center, outpatient radiology and endoscopy services and an ambulatory surgery center. The medical tower and an adjacent 850-car parking garage addition are part of a multi-year project to consolidate patient care on Baylor St. Luke’s McNair Campus in Houston. This campus is located next to the Texas Medical Center and new TMC Helix Park, an area under development for world-class health care and research innovation.

8. UC San Diego Theatre District Living and Learning Neighborhood – Opening in the fall, UC San Diego’s Theatre District Living and Learning Neighborhood is a mixed-use student residential community that will also serve as a major public gateway to UC San Diego’s campus. Comprised of five buildings with student housing, academic, administration, a conference center and amenities such as dining, retail, and fitness, the Neighborhood is designed to enhance well-being and minimize environmental impact.

9. Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU Patient Tower – This full-service pediatric facility in Richmond, Virginia includes emergency, inpatient and outpatient care all connected to a robust academic medical center and the hospital’s award-winning CHoR Pavilion, also designed by HKS. Because children’s health care often causes significant stress on young patients, families, and care team members, the tower’s research-informed design is intended to create an oasis for children and make people feel calm and at ease. All areas feature easily navigable circulation patterns, natural light and soothing artwork and are intended to promote choice. The building will open this spring.

10. Mount Sinai Beth Israel Comprehensive Behavioral Health Center – Work at the Comprehensive Behavioral Health Center for Mount Sinai Beth Israel, a teaching hospital in New York City, involved the complete renovation of a six-story structure originally built in 1898. The facility, due to open this spring, is designed to support mental health care, physical health care, addiction treatment, social services and integrated outpatient care. It will be the first center for comprehensive behavioral health care in New York state.

Looking Ahead

These HKS projects, along with many others scheduled for 2023, continue to demonstrate how architecture and design can bring joy, comfort and connection anywhere in the world.

“These projects reflect our commitment to service and pursuit of excellence for our clients, partners and colleagues in the new year,” said Dan Noble, HKS President and CEO. “We appreciate the collaboration and partnership that led to these successes and look forward to the future.”

These projects reflect our commitment to service and pursuit of excellence for our clients, partners and colleagues in the new year.

Dan Noble, HKS President and CEO