Amanda Hervey

Case Studies

HKS, Perkins&Will, and McCarthy Vaughn Partnership Selected to Collaborate on Pediatric Campus That Will be Among Largest in U.S.

HKS, Perkins&Will, and McCarthy Vaughn Partnership Selected to Collaborate on Pediatric Campus That Will be Among Largest in U.S.

Children’s Health and UT Southwestern Medical Center have selected HKS and Perkins&Will as the integrated design team to collaborate on a new pediatric campus in Dallas to meet the demands of the growing North Texas population.

The new campus, which will replace the current Children’s Health hospital in Dallas, is designed to be one of the largest, most transformative pediatric hospitals in the nation. McCarthy Vaughn Partnership (MVP) – a joint venture of McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. and J.T. Vaughn Construction LLC – will serve as construction manager for the $5 billion project, which will include 552 beds and 4.5 million square feet of construction.

Children’s Health anticipates beginning construction on the new hospital campus in the second half of 2024. The hospital will potentially open in the next six to seven years.

Rachel Knox, Studio Practice Leader of the Health practice at HKS and a Partner in the Dallas-based global design firm, is principal-in-charge on the project.

“The Children’s Health team and the physicians from UT Southwestern who work at Children’s Health are just incredible, compassionate caregivers,” said Knox. “We’re creating a facility that not only matches that level of care but will allow them to enhance it.”

Ian Sinnett, Health Principal in the Dallas studio of global architecture and design firm Perkins&Will, is the project’s director of planning.

“For more than 110 years, Children’s Health has made it their mission to make life better for children. We’re deeply honored to help them continue achieving this goal through the design of a new world-class health campus,” said Sinnett. “This hospital will be a gamechanger for children and their families all across Texas – and for the incredible care staff committed to their healing journeys.”

“HKS and Perkins&Will are the two largest health architecture practices in Dallas,” Knox noted. “Many of us are parents. This is more than a project for us – our kids are in this community. While both of our firms have designed children’s hospitals around the world, it’s incredible to work on one in your own backyard.”

Michael Malone, MVP project executive, said, “The new pediatric campus will be a critical hub to support ever-growing pediatric health care needs in Dallas today and well into the future. We are thrilled to be able to bring our extensive health care construction experience to help build the spaces that will make a difference in so many young lives.”

The new hospital will house 552 beds, which will increase the inpatient capacity at Children’s Health by 38%. The hospital will also have 15% more emergency department (ED) space and 22% more operating room space, plus space for future expansion.

The facility will include a Level I pediatric trauma center with 90 ED exam rooms and 24 observation rooms. A new fetal care center will provide the region’s most advanced and accessible services for complex maternal and fetal health care.

Additional features include a connector bridge between the new campus and UT Southwestern’s William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital. A new outpatient building on campus will contain 96 exam rooms.

HKS, Perkins&Will, McCarthy and Vaughn, along with HUB partners GSR Andrade Architects and Post L Group, are honored to be part of this momentous project.

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HKS’ Sidney M. Smith Uses Lessons from His Past to Build a New Legacy as a Black Architect

HKS’ Sidney M. Smith Uses Lessons from His Past to Build a New Legacy as a Black Architect

When Sidney Smith graduated from Florida A&M University at age 25 with a degree in architecture, friends in his hometown of Lynn Haven, Florida were shocked. Not because they didn’t think Smith was smart enough. They just hadn’t realized that he was attending college 95 miles away in Tallahassee because they saw him at home in Lynn Haven nearly every weekend.

Almost every Friday of his college career, Smith would pack his drafting board, design tools and tracing paper into his gold-rimmed 1988 Ford Mustang GT 5.0 and make the nearly two-hour drive back to Lynn Haven to spend time with his toddler son. The young single father would then wake early on Monday mornings for the return trip to campus in time for his 8 a.m. or 10 a.m. classes.

Although Smith hadn’t planned to become a father at that time, he said he didn’t get serious about life until his son, Khairi, was born.

Smith enrolled at FAMU so that he could earn a Bachelor of Architecture degree and still make those weekly trips home. He was determined to set a good example for his child.

“I made up my mind to graduate with honors, and I did,” said Smith, who graduated Cum Laude in 1995.

Smith has brought that same spirit of determination and devotion to his career at global design firm HKS, where in 2022 he was among the first African Americans to be named a Partner in the firm.

According to the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards, people who identify as Black or African American make up less than 2 percent of licensed architects in the U.S. As part of HKS’ celebration of Black History Month, Smith, who has been co-director of the Phoenix HKS office since 2022, shared his journey as an African American leader in the field.

Smith with his parents and four older brothers, circa 1982

‘American Story’

A descendant of Alabama sharecroppers, Smith inherited a strong work ethic and commitment to family life.

His maternal and paternal grandfathers were born in 1901 and 1899, respectively, roughly 35 years after the 1865 adoption of the 13th amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which abolished slavery in the U.S.

Under the sharecropping system, tenant farmers rented land in exchange for a portion of their annual harvest. Smith said both sets of his grandparents “worked to give away a lot of their profits and learned to raise their families on what they were given.”

Smith’s father, Julius “Doc” Smith, received a 9th-grade education and his mother, Della Smith, graduated high school. The two, who were married 55 years at the time of Doc’s death in 2016, raised five sons on the profits of a Lynn Haven business they owned, Doc’s Tire Repair.

“They started from nothing,” Smith said of the shop, which opened in 1974 and is now run by two of his older brothers. “It’s a true American story.”

The family business is “where I learned about hard work, relationships and being true to your word,” Smith said.

“I also learned about not overpromising and underperforming. My dad was very big on making sure that if he told someone that he could get a job done, he would do it and he would do it timely. So this was instilled in me at a very early age.”

Smith grew up in Florida in the 1970s and 1980s

Early Life

Born in 1970 as the youngest of five brothers, Smith recalls having “a great childhood, just playing outside until the streetlights came on.”

He and his brothers helped at the tire shop and were into anything with wheels – toy Matchbox cars, go-karts, three-wheelers, bicycles.

“We used to love building these Evel Knievel-type ramps, trying to jump ditches,” Smith said, referring to the late motorcycle stunt performer who was popular in the 1970s. “Fortunately, I never had any broken bones.”

Smith spent a lot of time drawing as a child, particularly superheroes.

“My best was probably Spider-Man,” he said. “People often ask, ‘What made you get into architecture?’ For me it was a love of drawing.”

Growing up in the Florida panhandle, Smith experienced racism in ways that reverberate with him to this day.

“You’d like to think that in the 70s and 80s, you would escape racism. But there was no way to escape it in the South,” Smith said. “There were times when you felt out of place. You even felt threatened at times. There were times when you were called the n-word.”

Looking back, he said, “those were probably some of the lowest moments of my life. There’s no way to ever erase those thoughts from your mind. They’re still as fresh today as they were when those incidents happened.”

By the grace of God, his family survived through difficult times, Smith said, adding that culturally, “we’ve seen changes but there’s still a lot of work to do.”

Smith in New York City during the Florida A&M University (FAMU) School of Architecture trip to the 1994 National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) conference; Smith with his father following Smith’s FAMU graduation ceremony in Tallahassee, 1995

Quick Learner

Smith performed well in high school and wanted to attend the University of North Carolina, but his application was rejected.

So, he began studying pre-architecture at a local junior college, his interest in the profession stoked by a high school drafting class. He was going to school and working at his parents’ shop when he realized he wanted something different for his life.

He transferred to FAMU, signing on for an extra year of coursework because many of his junior college credits weren’t accepted by the FAMU School of Architecture program.

“I didn’t know if it would pay off,” Smith said, noting the scarcity of African American role models in architecture during his student days. “I honestly did not have a clue about what my future would entail after college.”

After he graduated, Smith returned home to Lynn Haven to figure out that future. His job search was frustrated by his inexperience with AutoCAD design software.

Using the 386DX computer he received from his parents as a graduation gift and a bootleg copy of AutoCAD version 10, Smith applied himself to learning the software.

“That’s what I did every day after working in my dad’s shop, teach myself enough AutoCAD to land a job,” Smith said.

He reached out to a FAMU classmate who was working as an architect in nearby Panama City and inquired about job leads. His friend introduced Smith to Bayne Collins, “one of the best-known architects in Panama City” at the time, according to Smith.

“I went on an interview, and I was honest with him. I said, ‘I don’t know AutoCAD as well as I should, but I’m a quick learner,’” Smith said.

Collins had reason to believe the young aspiring architect and hired him in the summer of 1995 at his firm, Collins & Associates.

“Bayne Collins knew my family, knew my dad – my dad had done tire work for him years before,” Smith said. “All the stars lined up.”

Smith and Casper on their wedding day, 1997

Opportunity Calls

That same year, Susan Casper started her first job as a television news personality in Panama City. Casper had attended the University of West Florida with a mutual friend of Smith’s who gave Casper his telephone number. In the age before social media, Smith was curious about what Casper was like and asked friends and relatives if they knew anything about her.

One friend eventually told him, “When that phone rings, you need to pick up,’” said Smith. “I answered the call.”

That “amazing conversation” led to another, Smith said, and eight months later he proposed marriage. The couple wed in May 1997.

Casper soon landed a position in Tampa, where she would go on to become the first African American woman to anchor a primetime newscast in Tampa. Looking to relocate closer to his wife’s new job, Smith asked another FAMU classmate, Jeff Bush, who worked in what was then the HKS Tampa office, if he knew anyone who was hiring in the region.

Bush, who is now a Principal and Senior Project Manager at HKS Orlando, was aware of an imminent job opening at HKS – his own. He was about to go back to school for his master’s degree.

Smith interviewed and was “basically offered the job on the spot,” he said.

When he started at Collins & Associates, Smith had sworn to himself that he’d never again be in the position of not knowing the tools of his trade. Since then, he said, he’d “learned everything there was to learn about AutoCAD” – including writing his own lisp files and code.

“When I interviewed at HKS, that’s exactly what they needed.”

Smith during a field observation jobsite walk at HKS’ 850 Phoenix Bioscience Core project, 2020; Smith celebrating after sinking a 30’ putt at the Arizona Biltmore Golf Club, 2022

Driving Forward

In addition to his roles as Office Director and Partner, Smith has also served as a Senior Construction Administrator and a Project Manager since joining HKS. He has worked in HKS’ Health, Sports & Entertainment, Commercial, Residential Mixed-Use and Life Science practice areas. His projects include BOE Hefei Digital Hospital in China, a 1000-bed facility that involved eight HKS offices and approximately 65 HKS staff members worldwide.

In 2008, Smith and his family – which by then included twin 3-year-old daughters, Sophia and Sierra – moved to Phoenix so that he could be the lead construction administrator on HKS’ Phoenix Children’s Hospital project.

“Phoenix Children’s is still our client today,” Smith said.

Smith with HKS colleagues Jeffrey Stouffer and Jeff Kabat at a fundraising event to support Phoenix Children’s Hospital, 2019

Jeffrey Stouffer, Global Sector Director of HKS’ Community practice and an Executive Vice President and Partner in the firm, attributes such long-standing client relationships to Smith’s accessibility and willingness to listen.

“He’s empathetic and he’s wise,” said Stouffer.

As the principal-in-charge and principal designer of Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Stouffer said he was privileged to watch Smith develop his natural skills as a leader.

When Smith joined the hospital project, “I immediately saw leadership qualities” in him, said Stouffer. “He related to clients with confidence (but) without any arrogance. He’s always been very measured and he thinks before he speaks. He represents the best in HKS.”

Keith Lashley is a Senior Construction Administrator at HKS who, in 2011, was among the first African Americans to become a Principal at HKS. Lashley said Smith “has a unique ability to engage with people and meet them at their level. And he has a very infectious laugh.”

Lashley and Smith met when both worked for HKS in Florida. The two have maintained a friendship despite Smith’s move across the country.

“We still connect, knowing that this is a very difficult journey for African Americans, people of color,” Lashley said. “I consider Sid more of a colleague than a mentee. It takes rowing in the same direction.”

As Smith’s career progressed at HKS, he realized that a partnership in the firm was within his reach. “I thought, ‘If I can make it as a Partner, that will be a pinnacle for me,’” Smith said.

“It just kept driving and pushing me forward, knowing that my father was a business owner with a 9th-grade (education) and my mom graduated from high school,” he said. “(My father) never lived to see me become a Partner – that’s one of my biggest regrets – but I can only imagine how proud he is of me.”

Smith with his family, 2023 (left to right: Sierra, Susan, Sidney, Sophia)


Helping to increase the visibility of African American architects is meaningful to Smith, a member of the Arizona Chapter (NOMAarizona) of the National Organization of Minority Architects. He said that within the group there are often talks about the “lonely only” – being the only African American in an office or meeting. “It’s unfortunate,” Smith said. “We have to help as much as we can to change that.”

He added that “at the same time, we, as African Americans, have to also help ourselves.” He said that one way future architects and design professionals can do that is to actively pursue licensure.

“It’s hard enough as a minority in the field to be seen. It’s even harder to compete when you’re not registered,” Smith said.

Beyond encouraging registration, Smith often tells young architects that cultivating a diverse set of skills can help them manage the economic ups and downs of the architecture, engineering and construction industry.

As Smith has advanced in his profession – and endeavored to help his profession advance – his family has also grown and matured.

The child he nurtured during his college years is now a married father of two. The twin preschoolers Smith and his wife brought to Arizona are in their first year at Barrett, The Honors College at Arizona State University.

Marveling at his children’s successes, Smith is reminded of the lessons he learned years ago back at Doc’s Tire Repair that have helped push him to the top of his field.

“They’re listening,” Smith said proudly of his children. “Like I listened to my dad.”

Smith with his son, Khairi, at Khairi’s graduation from FAMU, 2013; Smith with twins Sierra (left) and Sophia (right) prior to their high school graduation, 2023

BayCare Wesley Chapel Hospital

Case Study

BayCare Wesley Chapel Hospital Prototyping to Lead the Market

Wesley Chapel, Florida, USA

The Challenge

BayCare is one of the largest health care providers in the fast-growing Tampa Bay/Central Florida region. The health system was formed 23 years ago when several area hospitals joined together to offer high-quality, compassionate care in a community setting. BayCare needed a design partner to develop a prototype hospital that could be built quickly and create an architectural representation of the BayCare brand, and asked global design firm, HKS, to lead that effort.

As part of BayCare’s larger growth strategy, BayCare Hospital Wesley Chapel is the first prototype hospital to be built in the heart of Pasco County, recognized as one of the fastest-growing counties in the nation. The program includes a 235,000-square-foot (21,832-square-meter), 50-bed acute care hospital with all required support services and an attached 85,000-square-foot (7,896-square-meter) medical office building.

The Design Solution

Drawing inspiration from the wind, water, and earth pervasive to the Florida landscape, the design utilizes soothing colors, vibrant textures, and flowing patterns to create healing spaces. Great attention was given to the connection between the interior and exterior.

The BayCare brand is visually represented in architectural elements both inside and out. The open architectural framing on the exterior signifies openness and welcoming. This open framing is repeated throughout the interior with wood cladding over registration desks, conference spaces, patient room doors, headwalls, and elevator lobbies representing thresholds and anchoring community spaces. The varied wooden shapes are reflected in the tile patterns on the floor.

The interior palette focused on hues and textures of Florida’s coastal environment including sand, water, and earth tones to bring warmth to the spaces. This palette is seen throughout the hospital, enhanced in different ways throughout each space.

Each patient floor was carefully choreographed with soothing colors in paint, big graphics, and accent tiles that gently remind us of the coastal breeze and waves to bring a sense of soothing calmness as our patients receive care.

The Design Impact

By analyzing BayCare’s existing facilities and HKS benchmarks, the prototype design has a more efficient and compact footprint and can adapt to different locations and growth avenues. The hospital’s branded look is repeated both inside and outside to give patients and visitors a unique BayCare experience.

BayCare Wesley Chapel Hospital provides full diagnostic, treatment, and inpatient services to the expanding communities in the Wesley Chapel area. The hospital is fitted with the latest technology, including SmartRooms that give patients and families control over their own environment and data. Patients can open shades, change lighting and temperature, view charts, or page the nurse using voice commands.

The campus connects to the surrounding communities and parks through a recreational path. A 38,000-square-foot YMCA with an aquatic center and soccer fields is currently under construction just south of the hospital, adding healthy lifestyle options to the campus. This prototype hospital design was so successful, an additional campus is currently under construction in Plant City, and is scheduled to open in 2024.

Project Features


Leslie Morison



Case Studies


News, Announcements and Events

Pacific Northwest’s Thriving Economy Fosters Sustainable Design Innovation

Pacific Northwest’s Thriving Economy Fosters Sustainable Design Innovation

The Pacific Northwest has been a hot location for new construction and development during the past decade due to a growing population and the influence of major tech companies in the region.

Despite some slowdowns during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, that booming trend continues. According to Rider Levell Bucknall’s crane index Seattle had 51 cranes in operation in the first quarter of 2023. During the same period, Portland tied the (much larger) city of Chicago with 14 operating cranes.

HKS recently opened a Seattle office to expand the firm’s services throughout the Pacific Northwest during this exciting time for design and development in the region. Scott Hunter, HKS Regional Director for Americas West, said that architecture and design clients in the Puget Sound area expect excellence and social responsibility in the services provided to them. He said that “aligns beautifully with HKS’ core values and mission.”

“We’ve worked in the region for a long time and have a roster of successful projects in the area, so to now have an actual office sets a very positive trajectory for us in this market,” said Hunter.

HKS Seattle Office Director Doug Demers said that across sectors, local clients are looking at repositioning, retrofitting and new construction in nearly equal measure. Despite recent fluctuations in the commercial sector, opportunities abound with corporate clients as well as those in the health, education, residential and mixed-use development markets.

“Right now, like most cities in the U.S., Seattle is in a cycle where there’s an excess of office space, but there are other sectors that are very active because the population is still growing,” said Demers. “Basically, you’re always catching up on infrastructure.”

Housing, Healing, and Educating a Growing Population

In 2023, several cities in Washington and Oregon made Forbes’ list of 50 fastest growing U.S. cities and The Seattle Times reported that Seattle is the fastest growing “big” city in the country, based on U.S. Census data.

The steadily rising population is driving a need for housing, especially in the large cities of Portland and Seattle where development space is constrained by waterways. Demers said that the residential market is highly active in Seattle and its surrounding smaller cities; an increasing number of high-rise multifamily properties are being built to house people in denser settings.

With more people continuing to move to the area, additional pressure is placed on local health and education systems, according to Demers and HKS Regional Design Director Carl Hampson. As HKS expands its health care and higher education practices in the region to serve residents, Hampson is paying special attention to how designers can respond to the on-going mental health crisis, in particular.

 “In health care, there’s been a huge push in the Northwest on mental health,” Hampson said, noting that Washington and Oregon state governments have recently prioritized access to care and developing modern facilities to provide mental and behavioral health services.

“The behavioral health system is very complex, and I’m really interested in looking at all the different pieces of it holistically. You can’t just solve problems in one area, you have to think about the entire continuum,” Hampson said, adding that in addition to policy and financing, architecture can “certainly play a role” in helping solve mental health challenges.

Colleges and university systems in the Pacific Northwest are also taking mental health seriously. Hampson said schools are seeking to provide student spaces that enhance health and well-being and that he looks forward to bringing HKS’ research and design expertise in higher education and mental and behavioral health to clients throughout the region.

Tech and Commercial are Bouncing Back

Regardless of the slight pause in new commercial sector projects and construction in recent years, the Pacific Northwest’s legacy as a destination for some of the world’s most influential tech companies — including Microsoft, Google, and Amazon — is secure.

“Growth in the tech industry isn’t dead, it’s just slowed to a normal pace,” said Demers. He also noted that the next few years are shaping up to present new real estate and design opportunities as artificial intelligence (AI) becomes a larger business driver for the tech companies rooted in the Pacific Northwest.

HKS Studio Design Leader Christa Jansen said that as the tech sector has evolved in the region, clients have influenced each other when it comes to interior design, adopting best practices for healthy and inclusive workplaces so they can remain competitive as employers.

“Their standards and way of looking at design has definitely evolved over time and become more sophisticated,” Jansen said.

Beyond tech, many leading corporate brands are headquartered in the Seattle area including Nordstrom, REI, Starbucks, and Costco. As companies like these — and the hundreds of others in the region — solidify in-office work policies and employee desires and behaviors change in the coming years, Jansen said she expects an uptick in commercial design opportunities.

“Commercial clients are giving up a lot of space,” Jansen said. “They’re shrinking down. We’ve been conducting studies about how to use space more efficiently and what kinds of spaces are most important.”

Jansen added that HKS’ workplace design research, including the firm’s recent study illuminating affordances for better brain health, is a helpful differentiator for her team.

Experiences in Hospitality and Mixed-Use Destinations

Because of its national parks, dynamic cities and proximity to popular cruise ship destinations, the Pacific Northwest is a hotbed for travel and tourism. Current travel trends indicate that people want to be immersed in nature and take part in socially conscious experiences, and hospitality brands with locations in the region are working with design firms to keep up with these trends, among others.

“So many people are traveling. Owners and operators are trying to differentiate themselves. They’re constantly thinking about reinventing themselves and keeping up on things more rapidly than they used to,” Jansen said.

An emphasis on how to provide exciting experiences to people has also made its way into conversations about new mixed-use developments. Unlike pre-pandemic developments where anchor buildings tended to be commercial offices, a shift toward anchor entertainment venues is occurring, according to Demers.

“They might be sports related, music-related, but they are experience-driven,” said Demers, who is actively working on strengthening client relationships and pursuing large mixed-use strategy and planning projects in the Seattle area.

Creating dynamic centers of activity and economic growth is going to be a key way designers contribute to resilience as the Pacific Northwest.

“I’m looking forward to opportunities around mixed-use development… how we can create better communities through that avenue and tap into what it means to be in the Northwest,” Hampson said.

Emphasizing Sustainability and the Natural World Through Design

To borrow Hampson’s phrase, a big part of “what it means to be in the Northwest” is to experience life surrounded by some of the country’s tallest mountains, most verdant forests and breathtaking water vistas. Local architecture and design tend to reflect these local natural wonders, Hunter, Hampson, Demers and Jansen all said.

Building materials such as wood and mass timber, stonework, and green roofs can be found in contemporary buildings throughout the region — from civic structures and schools to corporate offices and residential properties. Hampson said clients and designers also often focus on incorporating thoughtful outdoor space because when the weather is nice, “everyone wants to be outside.”

“There’s an authenticity in the architecture here that you don’t see in other places,” said Hampson. Architects, designers and their clients, he said, tend to draw inspiration from natural history rather than “importing something from another time and place.”

HKS designers working in the region indicated that this design trend corresponds with a local commitment to sustainability — proximity to robust natural resources means that clients are more conscientious about conservation and environmental impacts of design and construction.

“Vancouver, Seattle, and Portland are all pretty progressive cities around sustainability. They’ve spawned architecture that responds to that,” Demers said.

Jansen said that the interior design clients she works with desire spaces with natural and resource-conscious materials and are always keeping an eye on evolving sustainability and well-being certification guidelines.

“Ever since LEED was introduced, sustainability has been a big thing…designing to those standards is embedded into all projects here,” Jansen said.

What the Future Holds

Jansen noted that HKS’ expansion in the Pacific Northwest brings new opportunities for the firm as well as for the companies and organizations it partners with to create spaces and places where people can thrive.

“I’m excited to bring the HKS ethos to this region and give our clients another option,” she said.

HKS intends to serve the growing region with diverse needs with its robust design and project delivery talents. Hunter said that the Pacific Northwest’s dynamic economy, forward-looking sustainability approaches and engagement with natural beauty will help foster innovative design solutions where architects, designers, and researchers can excel.

“We think HKS presents something new to the PNW market,” Hunter said. “Our ability to tackle complexity and to synthesize integrated solutions regardless of the project type gives us a unique perspective that can help us guide our clients into the unexpected.”

Five Design Trends Shaping Communities in 2024

Five Design Trends Shaping Communities in 2024

Advances in artificial intelligence, modular construction and other methodologies will bring renewed energy to the architecture, engineering and construction industry in 2024 despite economic and environmental challenges.  

In response to — and at the forefront of — current real estate and design trends, global design firm HKS is striving to revive and strengthen communities worldwide. In 2024, HKS will continue to create healthy, resilient, dynamic places that support peak performance and bring people joy. 

1 – Spaces for Healthy Living and Learning 

HKS is leveraging the firm’s research and health design expertise to help people navigate ongoing and emerging crises in health care, student health and well-being, and senior living. 

The Sanford Health Virtual Care Center in Sioux Falls, South Dakota is one of several exciting HKS health care projects opening in 2024. The telehealth center will improve access to care for rural patients, a medically underserved population.  

Clinical workforce shortages will be a continuing challenge for health systems in the year ahead, according to McKinsey & Company. HKS is designing facilities to address the health care staffing crisis. To further this work, the firm is partnering with design brand MillerKnoll on a study to identify factors that contribute to nurse burnout and to learn how these factors relate to the built environment. The study findings will be published this year. 

This year HKS will also participate in an impact study to gauge how the design of Uplift Luna Preparatory School, which is scheduled to open in Dallas in January, affects student outcomes. HKS’ design of the school was informed by research into how design can support social and emotional learning.  

At the 2024 Environments for Aging conference, HKS and industry partners will present a case study of Elevate Senior Living’s Clearwater, Florida community. HKS’ design for Elevate Clearwater is intended to help address the senior living affordability crisis. The number of middle-income older adults in need of affordable care and housing options is swiftly rising, as demonstrated by a study into the “forgotten middle” senior cohort, by research group NORC at the University of Chicago

2 – Commercial Office Reinvention 

It’s clear by now that hybrid and remote work are here to stay. Changes to work habits over the last four years caused major fluctuations in corporate real estate portfolios, leading to increased vacancy rates and diminishing valuations worldwide. But according to Deloitte’s 2024 commercial real estate outlook, newer, higher quality assets are outperforming older spaces and new construction projects designed to accommodate hybrid work strategies are on the rise.  

HKS commercial interior designers are creating offices with hybrid-ready technologies and attractive amenities for companies like Textron Systems in Arlington, Virginia and AGI in Naperville, Illinois. HKS’ advisory groups have also teamed with influential companies, including CoreLogic, to develop strategies and design concepts for their robust asset portfolios that help them keep up with the evolving real estate landscape. 

The firm’s industry-leading research on brain healthy workplaces has yielded exciting discoveries about how offices that prioritize employee well-being can be designed, delivered and operated. Piloting strategies in the firm’s own real estate portfolio and advocating for “breaking the workstation,” HKS researchers and designers are setting new standards for inclusive, productive office environments. In 2024, HKS will present these ideas to a global audience at South by Southwest® (SXSW®) and continue to design workplaces for new modes of working. 

3 – New Mixed-Use and Planning Match Ups

Fluctuations in the commercial office sector and retail are providing new opportunities in mixed-use development. PwC and ULI’s Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2024 report indicates that real estate investors are increasingly diversifying or pivoting their portfolios to counteract disuse of downtown offices and regional malls.  

A shift toward developments with a variety of localized services and amenities is occurring — and HKS designers and planners are at the forefront of creating exciting new projects with unique anchors. In Hangzhou, China, the 2023 Asian Games Athlete Village Waterfront Mixed-Use is becoming a prime destination for retail and entertainment, not unlike HKS-designed SoFi Stadium and Hollywood Park in Los Angeles with its newest attraction, Cosm. Beyond these new mixes, HKS designers are creating dynamic properties such as NoMaCNTR in Washington, DC, to join hotel and residential uses — a combination on the rise in many major cities. 

In 2024, HKS is expanding its ability to serve communities with mixed-use planning and design, fostering sustainable growth for cities in the years to come. The Austin Light Rail team — consisting of Austin Transit Partnership, HKS, UNStudio and Gehl — is set to finalize design guidelines for proposed station locations that will provide opportunities for Austin residents to live in more affordable locations and promote urban expansion into less dense areas. As the transit network expands, it will unlock real estate opportunities and give rise to a variety of diverse and exciting mixed-use properties. This work complements the Transit Oriented Developments projects HKS is working on to elevate the health and well-being of our communities nationwide.  

HKS designers are also set to craft a new master plan for the Georgia World Congress Center’s 220-acre campus in downtown Atlanta this year. The cohesive, sustainability-driven master plan will create a legible pedestrian-friendly environment that maximizes economic potential of the convention center campus. This will integrate the campus’ global canvas with surrounding historic neighborhoods using a comprehensive framework. 

4 – Adaptive Reuse Rising 

In their report on 2024 real estate trends, PwC and ULI write that that “the movement to convert existing buildings from office to multifamily (or any other asset class, really), offers a meaningful achievement in saving carbon emissions.”  

As part of HKS’ efforts towards sustainable and resilient design, the firm is igniting adaptive reuse for a variety of building types, such as ParkwayHealth Gleneagles Chengdu Hospital in China, a tertiary care facility created from a former shopping center. HKS’ design for Mount Sinai Beth Israel Comprehensive Behavioral Health Center in New York City reinvigorated a structure built in 1898 to create a new destination for behavioral health. HKS designers in London renovated a 19th-century office building into a 21st-century clinic. And for an expansion of Rusk State Hospital in Texas, HKS reinvented the hospital campus, which opened in 1883 to house a penitentiary, into a therapeutic and dignified behavioral health care setting. 

In a highly poetic adaptive reuse project, HKS reimagined a defunct airport terminal, which dated to the 1940s, as a creative, contemporary workspace for online travel company Expedia Group. 

In 2024, HKS will continue to advance adaptive reuse design across different markets and geographies. 

5 – Creating a Better World through ESG

Balancing holistic sustainability — including decarbonization, climate resilience, and equitable design practices — with business goals is imperative for commercial real estate investors according to 2024 outlooks by both Deloitte and PwC. Leading the architecture and design industries to a brighter future, HKS is committed to Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG). 

HKS leaders recently demonstrated the depth of the firm’s ESG efforts through thought leadership — speaking at the United Nations Climate Change Conference, the United Nations Science Summit on Brain Capital, and at the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) conference, where HKS was also a Diamond Sponsor. 

Driven by ESG goals, HKS designers strive to enhance human and environmental well-being through the places they create day in and day out. The firm’s growing portfolio of high-performing projects includes the world’s first WELL-certified airport facility, a COTE Top-Ten Award-winning campus in California and a IIDA Global Excellence Award finalist hospital in Saudi Arabia to name a few. In 2024, HKS architects, sustainable design leaders and advisors will continue developing building portfolio sustainability guidelines and high-performance designs for major tech companies and educational institutions.  

HKS will also align with the Science Based Targets Initiative, which recently established building sector guidelines, to ensure the firm’s carbon neutrality goals are science-backed and can be properly benchmarked. The firm will provide voluntary disclosures about its offsets portfolio to meet regulatory requirements, enhance transparency and improve accountability. 

Most excitingly, 2024 marks the 10-year anniversary of Citizen HKS, a firmwide initiative that impacts lives and drives change through design, community service and financial philanthropy. HKS designers around the world will celebrate the pro-bono design work and service projects they have contributed to through Citizen HKS and re-commit to enhancing their communities for years to come. 

New Design Trends in Behavioral Health

New Design Trends in Behavioral Health

This story first appeared in the 2023 November/December Edition of Medical Construction & Design.

Now more than ever, the world is calling for compassionate care toward patients struggling with mental health conditions. Architectural interventions are key to this movement.

Interest in non-invasive de-escalation strategies is at an all-time high. As sensory therapies that support these strategies advance, behavioral health facilities have an increased need for sensory rooms. Spaces to support evolving interventional psychiatry platforms and treatments are increasingly important, as well. And while providers continue to grapple with staffing challenges, they are realizing an ancillary benefit of sustainable design: operational savings they can re-allocate towards attracting and retaining qualified staff.

Sensory Therapies

It is increasingly clear that spaces designed to accommodate individual patients’ sensory needs are critical in behavioral health facilities. In addition to treating sensory disorders, environments designed to help physicians understand and address patients’ sensory challenges can help diagnose other, potentially hidden, conditions.

At HKS, our team of designers and researchers works closely with psychiatrists and occupational therapists to create custom-designed sensory room solutions for pediatric, adult and geriatric populations. Examples include the sensory well-being hub at Lane Tech High School in Chicago, a pro-bono project to help students with learning differences independently de-escalate and self-regulate.

We have developed high-fidelity physical mock-ups and prototypes with custom-curated sensory tools and design features that can personalize the patient experience. These include tactile features, projected imagery, sounds and smells to support patients’ emotional management and improve their daily sensory processing.

Tactile features, projected imagery, sounds and smells support patients’ emotional management and improve daily sensory processing. Project: Sensory Well-being Hub at Lane Tech College Prep High School

For example, we have researched and created spaces for patients to explore healthy ways to experience self-induced and externally generated forces during treatment for vestibular system dysfunction – a disturbance in the body’s balance system. These spaces include features such as slides, swings and workout equipment. Mirrors and video monitoring enable a broader care team to provide feedback on symptoms such as head tilting or eye movement and track individuals’ progress over time.

The proprioception system is the body system that enables people to sense their own bodily movement, force and position. Many patients who experience proprioception disorders are largely unaware of the root cause of their challenges. They may be heedless of their own strength, have an unusually high pain threshold or fail to observe the personal space of others.

HKS sensory therapy prototypes have shown that patients struggling with proprioception can benefit from spaces that support deep pressure activities and resistance exercises with consistent intensity. These environments promote tranquility and mitigate patients’ desire to seek unhealthy sensory inputs elsewhere.

Custom-designed sensory room solutions for pediatric, adult and geriatric populations can help patients independently de-escalate and self-regulate. Project: Sensory Well-being Hub at Lane Tech College Prep High School

Interventional Psychiatry

Soothing spaces that incorporate virtual reality technology with TMS treatment are also on the rise. TMS treatment, which uses magnetic pulses to stimulate the brain, has been proven to render promising results for regulating dependence behaviors and treating trauma- and stressor-related disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder.

Design features such as dimmable lighting, comfortable recliners and en-suite bathrooms support the comfort and psychological safety of patients receiving TMS treatment. We provide cameras in the design of these rooms to augment staff observation and review.

Enhancing TMS therapy with virtual reality and ketamine infusions can help patients learn coping mechanisms that mitigate fear responses. Environments and tools that help people identify and move through stressors support cognitive longevity and stress resilience. This can help save the lives of people struggling with debilitating stress from anxiety disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorders.

Sustainable, Supportive Environments

Sustainable and resilient design is seeing a resurgence in behavioral health. In the U.S., this is due in part to the federal Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which makes funding available for clean energy and climate mitigation and resilience measures. Care providers are thinking critically about the first and second costs of facility design and operations, especially as these costs relate to operational and staffing efficiency.

Staffing efficiency is an ongoing concern in behavioral health. Providers are recognizing that sustainable facilities help reduce ongoing operational costs, freeing resources for staffing and staff retention.

Since this behavioral health facility bordered a wooded area, the design team drew inspiration from the surrounding landscape to cultivate a sense of calm and tranquility. Materials used include locally sources stone, timber columns and overhangs, along with wood planks. Project: INTEGRIS Health Arcadia Trails Center for Addiction Recovery

HKS is employing several sustainable and resilient design strategies on current behavioral health projects. Our design for Permian Basin Mental Health Hospital in Midland, Texas, for example, features rainwater harvesting. The design also enhances electrical efficiency to reduce load demand and operational costs. The 158,000-square-foot comprehensive behavioral health campus for adults and adolescents is scheduled to open in October 2025.

Other recent HKS projects demonstrate how behavioral health clients are increasingly prioritizing staff well-being. BasePoint Academy opened new facilities for outpatient adolescent mental health and substance abuse treatment in Arlington, Texas and McKinney, Texas this year. During the design of the new facilities, BasePoint leadership expressed to HKS that staff spaces were a top concern because happy, quality staff lead to better patient outcomes. The BasePoint facilities feature vibrant colors and large, comfortable offices and staff lounges. BasePoint reported that since the new sites opened, the organization has had no trouble attracting top-notch staff.

Sustainable and resilient design is seeing a resurgence in behavioral health… Care providers are thinking critically about the first and second costs of facility design and operations, especially as these costs relate to operational and staffing efficiency.

Evolution of Care

The built environment is integral to advances in behavioral health care. As care platforms, treatment, technology and equipment progress, designs to support care delivery are moving forward, as well.

Designing Health Care Environments for Community Integration and Empowerment

Designing Health Care Environments for Community Integration and Empowerment

As a part of its quarterly Limitless series, global design firm HKS recently hosted a panel to discuss how health care design can facilitate community integration and empowerment.

Nupur Gupta, Senior Medical Planner at HKS, moderated the panel and introduced each of the panelists and their community health care practices. Panelists were Jessica Duckworth, COO of The Rose Breast Center for Excellence; Dr. Andrea Caracostis, CEO of the Asian American Health Coalition dba HOPE Clinic; and Joel Miller Kalmin, facilities designer manager at Legacy Communities Health Services.

Design That Honors Community Identity

Hospitals and clinics can be unwelcoming and impersonal institutions, but many health care and design professionals are working to change this narrative with inviting and community-oriented health care design.

HOPE Clinic is a community health care provider that serves patients from 90 countries of birth in 60 languages. The clinic launched in 2002 in a Chinese community center and continues to serve a large Asian and Hispanic population at its five locations in the Houston area.

To honor the communities it serves, HOPE clinics have prayer rooms for Muslim patients and use colors and themes in the design that are significant to Asian and Hispanic communities. Outdoor spaces display murals and cultural decor such as Chinese lanterns.

“I think that we forget that, if we want people to engage in their health, we also have to provide them a safe space where they feel respected, and they feel like people are putting their needs first above everything else,” Dr. Caracostis said.

Legacy Community Health Services launched in 1978 at the Montrose Clinic to provide STD prevention services to gay men in Houston and now operates more than 50 facilities. Its Southwest Houston clinic is home to 70 different ethnicities. Drawing inspiration from Latin and African culture, the exterior of the clinic is adorned by colorful panels to represent woven textiles. The clinic also features stools with fabric designed by patients.

At Legacy’s Fifth Ward clinic, the community is represented with exterior “Healing Hands” murals by local artist Reginald Adams.

“The murals feature larger-than-life hands with palms outreached surrounded by color fields that represent the chakras,” Kalmin said. “Community members, children and parents alike went to the studio, and their hands are actually part of this permanent mural.”

Meeting Patients Where They Are

Duckworth said that transportation and time constraints are a major barrier to accessing health care. To reduce these barriers, The Rose Breast Center of Excellence operates five mobile mammography coaches to reach patients in their communities and perform life-saving screening services. Founded in 1986 in a 915-square-foot (85-square-meter) space, The Rose now sees 40,000 patients a year across 43 counties in Greater Houston and Southeast Texas through its mobile mammography fleet. The fleet is the largest in Texas.

According to The Rose, 77% of its mobile mammography patients would not have received their annual screening mammogram if they didn’t visit one of its coaches.

“We got to most of the local ISDs to be able to set up a mobile van there so the teachers don’t have to take off, they can just walk out,” Duckworth said. “We got to business, as well, to be able to provide those services.”

In the last five years, Legacy has partnered with schools to offer a variety of health services — such as behavioral health, immunization and dental care — to students during school hours. Parents of students who are minors can enroll their students in the program by signing a consent form for them to be treated by the Legacy team at school.

“The child doesn’t have to miss school, and either guardian or parent doesn’t have to miss work for the child to get the care that they need,” Kalmin said. “That’s a really important niche that is not being served.”

Integration of Care: A “One-Stop Shop”

Dr. Caracostis said that, for many patients, having to return to the clinic at a later date or travel to another clinic for additional care is burdensome as it causes them to be away from their families or take time off work.

“Being able to provide dental, vision and other services in that same space and on that same day is really critical for families,” Dr. Caracostis said. “Because a lot of our families’ wages are on an hourly basis, and every time they take off to go to a medical appointment, it’s dollars off their paycheck.”

Duckworth also shared the value of health care environments acting as a “one-stop shop” for patients.

“If they’re able to go and get all the services they need, they’re going to be more compliant and improve their health outcomes because they’re going to get all of that done in the place that they trust versus having to travel all over to different clinics to be able to receive those services,” Duckworth said.

Engaging with Communities

The Rose and Legacy both have dedicated community engagement teams, and because of data collected in community outreach, Legacy determined a gap in senior primary care. It now has three primary care facilities designed specifically for seniors, featuring wider hallways to better accommodate wheelchairs and exam chairs instead of exam beds.

When HOPE Clinic built its newest facility, it held a visioning session inviting community members to share their hopes for the new space. The clinic features social spaces for community events such as a culinary program and an upcoming concert series.

“We’re all super proud that we provide fabulous services, but that doesn’t mean we’re good community partners,” Dr. Caracostis said. “Being a community partner means you get off your soap box and you listen to the communities and open your doors for their priorities and not necessarily yours.”

View the full webinar recording here

How Staff Respite Space Can Help Address the Health Care Staffing Crisis

How Staff Respite Space Can Help Address the Health Care Staffing Crisis

Health care is experiencing a staffing crisis worldwide. The International Council on Nurses has estimated that up to 13 million nurses will be needed to fill the global nurse shortage gap.

The U.S. nursing workforce has lost at least 200,000 experienced registered nurses and 60,000 experienced licensed practical nurses/licensed vocational nurses since 2020, according to an estimate reported in the 2022 National Nursing Workforce Study. More than 334,000 nurses participated in the study, which revealed nearly 20 percent of the U.S. nursing workforce is likely to leave the field by 2027.

“Right now, there’s a huge need for nursing staff,” said Lynne Rizk, Partner and Health Studio Practice Leader at global design firm HKS.

To attract staff members – whether recent graduates or experienced nurses who have taken a leave of absence – health systems need to provide facilities that “give the ultimate staff experience,” Rizk said.

“In health care, there is such a strong focus on the patient’s experience that sometimes the staff spaces can be overlooked,” said Jessica Karsten, senior architectural designer, HKS London. “As the people who spend the most time in the facility, it is crucial to ensure the staff’s experience of the building is considered.”

‘Important Real Estate’

Staff spaces are a top priority at Royal Liverpool University Hospital, a recently opened replacement facility in Liverpool, England, that was designed by HKS and architecture firm NBBJ.

The hospital features multiple outdoor landscaped courtyards designed for staff members, patients and the public. Additional courtyards at the hospital are reserved for staff.

The courtyards help supply natural light and views to 90 percent of the hospital’s staff spaces. The building is roughly the shape of a figure eight, with patient floors surrounding the large interior courtyards. A central circulation spine crosses between the courtyards, to reduce travel distances in the hospital.

Staff support areas, such as changing space, staff resting areas, seminar rooms and offices, are located along the central staff circulation route, for convenient access outside the main hospital departments. Flanked by the courtyards, these spaces receive generous daylight and provide expansive outdoor views.

In addition, an entire floor of the hospital is dedicated to staff functions. The 9th floor, which includes administrative offices, on-call areas, resting space for staff members, seminar rooms and a staff dining lounge, has some of the best views of Liverpool available in the building, according to Karsten.

In the design of the facility, hospital leadership made sure “important real estate was given over to the staff,” she said. “Especially now, for staff retention and recruitment purposes, they really wanted to ensure the staff spaces were nice spaces to be in.”

‘Emotional Environment’

Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital demonstrated similar thinking on a recent expansion project designed by HKS. The children’s hospital, part of the South Florida-based Memorial Healthcare System, is a tertiary care facility in Hollywood, Florida, that treats everything from common childhood illnesses to highly complex conditions.

“Our staff does a wonderful job taking care of patients and families,” said Scott Singer, the hospital’s assistant administrator. “Pediatrics is a very emotional environment. They deal with a lot of heavy, heavy, heavy subjects.”

The culture at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital is focused on upholding staff “and making sure they have the things that they need,” Singer said. He added that facility design is one piece of this organizational strategy. “The building just looks beautiful, to support the wonderful work that the staff does. It was designed based on their input,” he said.

In a health facility, “square footage is very much at a premium,” Singer noted. “As we were programming the space, we felt it was important to include the employees.”

There is a staff lounge on each new patient unit at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital. The hospital also reserved a separate block of space in the expansion project for staff use. This respite space includes a kitchenette and dining area; a zone for active socializing and games, such as foosball and darts; and a quiet space with massage chairs and dimmable lighting.

“Health care is stressful,” said Laura Thielen, Studio Practice Leader, HKS Orlando, and an interior designer on the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital project. A retired registered pharmacist, Thielen is one of several HKS staff members with frontline caregiving experience. She said that during her pharmacy career, “it was always nice to have some place where you could go to kind of get away, when things were just too much.”

New Approaches

Providing a variety of respite spaces can help health care staff access the supportive environment they need when and where they need it. Depending on the circumstances, this may be a nearby space to rest or regroup during a shift. An example of such spaces are the respite rooms located within each unit at the new HKS-designed Children’s Tower at the Children’s Hospital of Richmond (Virginia) at VCU.

Or another type of respite spot may be a space that’s removed from the patient unit, where staffers are less likely to be interrupted. They may need to be alone with their thoughts, gather with teammates or go outdoors.

“We have to think about (staff respite) in different ways,” said Deborah Wingler, PhD, HKS Principal and Research Practice Director, Health & Experience.

“It’s not just a room with a plant in the window. It’s about helping health care workers connect to wellness for themselves in a new way.”

HKS and architecture firm KPF are currently designing a renovation project at the Tisch Cancer Institute at Mount Sinai, located on the Mount Sinai Health System campus in New York City. The renovation is slated to include a spa and wellness center that will be used by staff as well as patients. The spa and wellness center are designed to offer yoga, meditation, massage and salon services, such as hair styling.

The design for Tisch Cancer Center also includes a two-story meditation area for patients, family members and staff. The meditation area will feature natural light, comfortable seating and abundant greenery (lifelike artificial trees and plants, for infection control).

“If you’re a staff member and you’re on the floor and you’ve had a couple of tough back-to-back cases, you can go use that quiet space,” said Rizk.

Healthy, Supportive Workplace

In 2021, HKS partnered with the University of Texas at Dallas’ Center for BrainHealth to investigate the role of place, process and technology in creating a brain-healthy workplace – one that empowers people to find purpose, reach peak performance and thrive.

“Brain health is not just about improving mental health, but also improving cognitive skills – allowing you the brain space to do what you’re good at in the best possible way,” said Upali Nanda, PhD, HKS Partner and Global Practice Director, Research.

The research project identified five brain-healthy workplace affordances, or design characteristics. These are: focus, exploration and ideation, collaboration and co-creation, rest and reflection, and social connection.

Focus is especially critical in health facilities, Nanda said. “Distraction is a key issue, especially for nurses. They’re always trying to do a lot of different things at once.”

Environments that afford health care staff the ability to focus, think, collaborate, rest or connect with their colleagues promote brain health, which helps people feel and perform at their best.

HKS is currently partnering on a research project with design brand MillerKnoll to identify factors that contribute to nurse fatigue, exhaustion and burnout, and to learn how those factors relate to the built environment. Wingler said that early results indicate that organizational support is essential to staff satisfaction. Staff respite should be integral to health facility design and operations, as part of overarching policies of respect and support for staff.

Last year, management consulting firm McKinsey & Company surveyed 368 frontline nurses providing direct patient care in the U.S. “Not valued by organization” tied as the number one reason the surveyed registered nurses gave for deciding to leave a job in the past 18 months. Providing dedicated quiet space for staff was one strategy the McKinsey report noted that had been successful in increasing staff retention and decreasing feelings of burnout.

“We have the most rapidly diminishing health care workforce that we’ve ever had,” said Wingler. “We have to start thinking about ways not only to extend our current workforce in health care, but to make it a place where people want to invest a career.”

HKS Health Fellowship

HKS Health Fellowship

The HKS Health Fellowship is a one-year program developed to propel talented recent graduates who are committed to improving health care environments through design. The fellow pursues research while working on design projects in our award-winning health studio.

The prestigious fellowship — open to applicants finishing their undergraduate or graduate studies — is much more than an academic opportunity to delve into a topic of choice. The winning applicant is given full-time employment at HKS and the opportunity to continue his or her career with the firm after the one-year fellowship term.

Fellows work with some of the most influential architects and researchers in the profession and have access to networking and travel opportunities.

The winning applicant is given full-time employment at HKS and the opportunity to continue his or her career with the firm after the one-year fellowship term.

Apply Now

“The Health Fellowship allowed me to investigate a topic I was deeply passionate about. It opened doors within the firm and industry to connect with thought leaders and be mentored in healthcare planning, research, and design.”

Hannah Shultz, Medical Planner

How It Works

Each year, the HKS Health studio leadership and previous fellows assist the incoming fellow to develop a research topic. This topic will be based on the fellow’s particular area of interest and strategic initiatives within the HKS Health studio.

Suggested topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

The fellow will also get the opportunity to attend one health-related conference to support research and education, coordinated through the committee of mentors.

At the end of the fellowship, the designer delivers results, that may include, but is not limited to a research paper or a design tool. 

HKS leaders will work with the selected Health Fellow to pair them with the HKS office location and mentorship that can best support their research interests. During the interview stage, fellows can relay their office preference with firm leadership and discuss that office’s ability to support their research.

“We prioritize research in everything we do, and the fellowship infuses this mentality into a unique entry-level position. It’s creating the next leaders in our firm.”

Southern Ellis, Architect

Important Dates & Applying

Applications open
November 1, 2023

Applications close
January 2, 2024

Interviews via Zoom

Fellow announced 
Late January

Apply Now

Fellowship Advisors

Health Fellow Research Studies

The Fellows

Luz Sánchez Román


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

Seven Considerations for Health Care Design in the Middle East 

Seven Considerations for Health Care Design in the Middle East 

The Middle East is steeped in rich heritage and cultural subtleties, so designing the region’s next generation of health care facilities requires a nuanced approach. Each year, the Global Health Exhibition in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, brings health care professionals together to connect and drive health care innovation in the region. Please visit global design firm HKS at our booth at Riyadh Front Exhibition and Conference Center from Oct. 29 to Oct. 31, 2023, as we reflect on the various ways HKS addresses key Middle Eastern cultural and environmental characteristics through our award-winning health care designs. 

Responding to the Climate with Vernacular Architecture 

With temperatures hovering at 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) in the shade for more than half the year, a building’s orientation is one of our first considerations when planning new structures. The site location of Kuwait Children’s Hospital required the HKS team to design patient windows to face east and west. Solar studies were performed to create sophisticated shading systems on both sides of the building to not only reduce solar gain but also reduce glare and enhance comfort within patient rooms. Catwalks on every other floor allow easy cleaning of the windows and shading systems after humid dust storms characteristic of the region. Canopies over outdoor respite areas are necessary for a large portion of the year, and HVAC systems need to be powerful, durable and efficient to minimize energy consumption. 

Water is a Precious Commodity in the Desert 

Because much of the region relies on desalination plants to provide water, irrigation is strictly regulated. Through the use of regional plant life such as Ghaf trees, we provide xeriscaping to minimize water usage. On-site water recycling plants efficiently irrigate green spaces. 

During transportation, water is warmed by intense heat and must be cooled before use. Brutal sunlight means that roof storage isn’t an option for cooling. Some jurisdictions, such as Kuwait, require water be stored in subterranean tanks or cooling towers before it is distributed. Pumps are then required to move water to its destination. Further, the use of large water features is discouraged due to the high evaporation ratio year-round. 

Designing for Cultural Subtleties and Privacy 

The Middle East can appear to be one large desert to some, but each country has specific cultural interests. Some countries are more conservative than others, and thus, understanding how varying cultural and religious customs can affect traffic patterns throughout a hospital is important. For example, some hospitals may include separate waiting rooms for men and women or an emergency room with an entrance split in different directions for men and women. Prayer rooms for men and women, and sometimes even mosques, are incorporated into convenient locations of our designs. 

Some clients prefer traditional architecture to help patients feel comfortable, especially as health care can be a sensitive topic in the Middle East — many patients prefer not to share details about their health. Health care facilities such as Prince Sattam University Hospital in Al Kharj, Saudi Arabia, are in conservative agricultural areas outside of urban centers. Sensitivity to the local community is important, so the team focused on developing a design that utilizes local stone for the exterior facades. To reduce the sense of anxiety while providing familiarity to the agriculture community, the project was organized around a wadi, or valley, including natural elements that blend into the lobby. The National Rehabilitation Clinic (NRC) in Abu Dhabi also employs vernacular architecture to ease anxiety.

Planning for Large Families

Families tend to be larger in the Middle East than in western countries, and rather than one or two visitors, a patient might receive six or eight at a time. Patient rooms are designed with patient, caregiver and family zones, and public areas are designed to accommodate multiple families. 

Incorporating amenities in public spaces is a priority. Kuwait Children’s Hospital’s five-story atrium stretches nearly 1,500 feet and includes a hollow whale where movies are played, cafes, and other elements that blend health care, hospitality, and retail. We developed outdoor courtyards for Prince Sattam University and the NRC to allow families, or even patients, to walk away and take a break from the hospital. 


Rising energy costs and a harsh climate mean that sustainability is being pushed to the forefront of the region’s unique challenges. Dubai, for example, requires a sustainability checklist when submitting building permits, and other countries require a minimum of LEED-Silver equivalent design for government hospital projects. Our exterior design for Prince Sattam resulted in a 30% reduction of energy. Designers must continue to encourage clients and peers to support energy efficient initiatives. 

Rapid Growth 

The Middle East has a large middle-income class with growing expectations, and HKS is creating the next generation of health care facilities to meet the region’s needs. Dubai and some other cities have almost quadrupled in size over the last 20 years, and health care investment is struggling to keep pace. 

Private providers are beginning to invest in new facilities. Hospitals such as Danat Al Emarat, a private maternity hospital, are successful examples of an efficient and financially responsible project meeting the needs of Abu Dhabi. HKS has been involved with several teaching hospital campuses, including CapitalMED Medical City in Egypt and Prince Sattam University Hospital, in the ongoing challenge to meet the region’s demand for experienced physicians.  

Keck Medicine of USC Newport Beach Oncology Clinic and Infusion Center

Case Study

Keck Medicine of USC Newport Beach Oncology Clinic and Infusion Center Newport Beach Gets Enhanced Oncology Care with New USC Keck Medicine Center

Newport Beach, CA, USA

The Challenge

Keck Medicine of USC sought to expand access to its oncology services in Orange County. It leased a newly built two-story medical office building in the heart of Newport Beach, located on a narrow site backing up to a residential neighborhood. With a curved glass façade, the key driver was to design a quiet and restful environment with soothing ocean views for patients and their families during infusion treatment.

The building would be renovated into a comprehensive cancer treatment that specializes in a wide range of cancers and blood disorders and serves a one-stop-shop for infusion patients, with an on-site blood draw laboratory and infusion pharmacy where patients receive coordinated and personalized treatment plans. The challenge was to plan and design a robust cancer clinic program within an existing narrow building to deliver world-class treatment services.

The Design Solution

The Newport Beach location was designed to cater to both patients’ physical health and mental well-being. Recognizing the community’s desire for privacy and personalized care, the patient-centric facility features private patient suites, a concierge service, and individualized treatment plans.

The clinic and treatment spaces were carefully planned to maximize functional space and efficiencies. Level 1 contains the main check-in with exam rooms, physician offices, laboratory, and pharmacy. The pharmacy’s hood vents dictated its location, which drove the layout of the entire floor. Level 2 has spacious semi-private infusion bays offer ocean views with room for guests. Brace framing was used to help minimize the number of columns along the curved glass façade. Nurse stations were designed to provide optimal views to the infusion bays. Adjustable height worksurfaces were used throughout the workspace and physician offices to allow staff to work in a comfortable environment.

To put patients at ease, the space feels airy, bright and coastal with plenty of natural light, soothing artwork and clear sightlines for staff. The design has a nautical theme using rich woods, blues and neutral tones. Waiting areas on both levels feature oversized abstracted pieces that are reminiscent of reflections on the water. Wood planks on the  ceiling mimic a boardwalk in the harbor. Light wood tones and neutral finishes provide an excellent background to enhance the views and artwork.

The Design Impact

The Newport Beach location gives residents of Orange County access to the most effective and advanced cancer therapies available, in a comfortable and soothing environment. Patients can receive customized treatment at the same location, reducing stress and improving clinical outcomes.

With accessible screening services, a higher percentage of Newport Beach residents received timely diagnoses. A notable percentage of residents enrolled in clinical trials, contributing to advancements in oncology care. The convenience of local services combined with Keck’s premium care has led to high patient satisfaction rates.

A continuous educational outreach program helps local residents be more proactive about their health, leading to a more health-conscious community. Seminars, health fairs, and workshops on cancer prevention, early detection, and recent advancements in treatment are organized for residents.

 USC Keck Medicine’s initiative in Newport Beach underscores that community-specific health care approaches are pivotal. By understanding the unique needs of Newport Beach residents, Keck successfully brought top-tier oncology care to their doorstep, blending convenience with excellence.

Project Features

Timothy Meyer


Case Studies


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

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