Banner Sports Medicine Scottsdale

Case Study

Banner Sports Medicine Scottsdale A Dedicated Sports Medicine Destination

Scottsdale, AR, USA

The Challenge

HKS designers were challenged to deliver a cutting-edge sports medical facility in the Phoenix area that would be a one-stop-shop for virtually every aspect of athletic performance from testing and evaluation to injury prevention to mental health needs. The facility also needed to accommodate the public and athletes of all ages and skill levels, from “weekend warriors” to players on the area’s multiple professional sports teams.

The Design Solution

Banner Sports Medicine Scottsdale is a welcome addition to the Riverwalk at Talking Stick mixed-use development. The building is a continuation of the natural Riverwalk element that links the community of buildings together with underground dry riverbeds that are interconnected walkways for employees and visitors. These features relate to the history of the Maricopa and the Pima Indian communities originally developed along waterways for sustenance and fortification.

The building’s exterior design supports the Banner Health brand and integrates materials in desert hues, with deep overhangs for shading from the sun. By overlaying these materials in basket woven patterns on the building, it also integrates harmoniously into the hardscape. Metal trellis and canopies creating complex shadowing at the entries and outdoor field.

Inside, Banner Sports Medicine Scottsdale includes highly sophisticated universal and sport-specific equipment and resources which provide insight into the personal mechanics of athletes across virtually all court, field, and track sports. The main space on the ground floor features high ceilings with glazed bays that can be opened to the practice field outdoors and takes advantage of the beautiful desert and mountain views.

The Design Impact

Located across from HKS-designed Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, this one-of-a-kind facility is considered Arizona’s most comprehensive complex for athletic training, diagnostic and monitoring systems. It is designed to give all Arizonans the most advanced athletic care and treatment possible.

Project Features


“Having everything under one roof provides value to patients and to their providers because we can take a team approach to help people get back to their optimal level of participation and perform at their highest level.”

Dr. Evan Lederman, chief of Banner Health Orthopedic Sports Medicine program

Nexus Recovery Center

Case Study

Nexus Recovery Center

Dallas, Texas

The Challenge

Nexus Recovery Center, a non-profit established in 1971, has been at the forefront of providing comprehensive treatment and support to women battling substance abuse. Initially focused on rehabilitation, Nexus has evolved to offer a wide range of services including therapy, life skills training, childcare, and wellness treatments. The primary challenge in creating the Doswell Building was to develop a space that could simultaneously address the diverse needs of its occupants and integrate a variety of programs within a single facility. This task required reconciling the need for both public engagement spaces and private, contemplative areas within an optimized environment.  

The Design Solution

The Doswell Building’s innovative design solution encompasses a dual-configuration approach, dividing the structure into two distinct yet interconnected segments through a central courtyard. The courtyard serves as both a divider and a unifier, where one side caters to the community with amenities like a large circle drive, community rooms, and a vibrant social hub, while the other side provides a tranquil space for admissions and dorms.  

The master plan for the campus integrates natural elements, redefines the campus’s focal point, and establishes a new primary entrance. The use of modest materials—concrete, timber, and stainless steel—along with strategic glazing, creates a space that feels secure yet open, dignified yet unassuming. The building’s exterior incorporates natural elements and sustainable practices, from the courtyard’s sanctuary-like atmosphere to the façade’s tree-inspired patterns, emphasizing the connection between the built environment and the healing process. 

The project emphasizes a strong connection to nature, featuring landscapes designed to withstand the harsh North Texas summers with gravel beds, rocks, and drought-resistant vegetation, minimizing irrigation needs. A significant budget allocation supports stormwater management, introducing a large detention pond and bioswales to control runoff, enhancing campus safety and protecting nearby residential areas. 

Phase II of the project involves creating new facilities for the Pregnant and Parenting Women and Children program and a Child Development Center. The dorms will expand to 30 rooms with private accommodations for moms and babies, along with community kitchens and increased staff to provide better care. The Child Development Center will be relocated to a larger facility with increased capacity and additional trained teachers and therapists.

The Design Impact

The Doswell Building is designed to become a new cornerstone for a diverse range of occupants, offering a dual configuration that cleverly balances public interaction and private reflection. By offering a space that embodies dignity, security, and community, the building plays a crucial role in supporting women and families, providing them with a safe and welcoming environment. Through its thoughtful multifaceted approach, the Doswell Building represents a design that is both inviting to the public and supportive of the residents’ journey to recovery.

Project Features

FBI Innovation Center at Redstone Arsenal

Case Study

FBI Innovation Center at Redstone Arsenal A Training Ground for the Cybersecurity Crimefighters of the Future

Huntsville, Alabama

The Challenge

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is expanding operations at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama with new facilities dedicated to attracting and developing a rising generation of technically advanced agents — a “graduate school” for the cyber crimefighter. The FBI envisioned a 240-acre Science and Technology District with a central building for cybersecurity crimefighter training and education plus offices that would support its critical mission to protect Americans now and into the future.

The Design Solution

HKS and its design-build partner at Clark Construction Group committed to creating the FBI Innovation Center as a signature centerpiece for the new campus. The three-story building includes classrooms, offices, digital laboratories, and an attached training center. Together, these facility functions enhance the FBI’s capacity for research and development as well as its operational, tactical, and technological capabilities.

Early in the design-build process, the HKS team devised a plan to decouple the workplace and training components of the building, ensuring that each was distinct yet unified with the other for a cohesive design. The academic and workplace building is clad in glass and metal panels, and offers a welcoming environment for agents, trainees and government officials. The practical training facility has a unique metal fin design and acts as a forward-looking extension from the primary building.

In addition to designing the Innovation Center, HKS also worked with landscape architects and civil engineers to amend the FBI’s master plan so that adjustments would support better building integration into the overall campus. As construction on the main building proceeded, the team worked closely with Clark Construction Group to adjust design elements, ensuring critical program features could be realized in keeping with the latest FBI security standards.

The Design Impact

The Innovation Center is designed to optimize energy performance, limit impact on environmental resources, and provide a healthy environment for those who learn and work there. FBI is a nationwide leader in the adoption of Design-Build Done Right® —the best practices of the Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA) — and with these practices, the Innovation Center sets a new standard of design excellence. The building is designed to attract and retain top talent for the FBI including young professionals who desire contemporary training and workplace amenities. As a home and training ground for a new wave of cybersecurity crimefighters, the building will play a large part in helping the FBI protect Americans throughout the 21st century.

Project Features

How the Design for Freedom Movement Compels Designers to Advocate for Human Rights in the Supply Chain

How the Design for Freedom Movement Compels Designers to Advocate for Human Rights in the Supply Chain

Today, 28 million people worldwide live in conditions of forced labor, according to the International Labour Organization. The construction, mining and manufacturing industries — all of which are connected to architecture and design supply chains — have historically accounted for more than a third of the global forced labor population.

These staggering rates of human rights abuses are what compelled Grace Farms Foundation, in 2020, to launch Design for Freedom, a movement dedicated to eliminating forced labor in the building materials supply chain.

For the last two years, HKS has engaged with Design for Freedom, including inviting Grace Farms Foundation CEO and Founder Sharon Prince speak to firm’s global employee base about how designers can create more equitable futures for people who contribute to manufacturing building materials and those who use the spaces they design. HKS Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) leaders are also members of the Design for Freedom working group and recently attended the third annual Design for Freedom Summit, which brings academic and non-profit experts together with professionals from architecture, construction and materials manufacturing.

HKS’ Yiselle Santos Rivera, Lisa Adams and Rand Ekman share more below about this important initiative, an exciting pilot project being designed by a Citizen HKS team, and what hopes they have for the future of the Design for Freedom movement:

Why is it important for people who work in the architecture and construction industries to advocate for and uphold practices that are free of forced labor?

Yiselle Santos Rivera, Global Director of Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion: In the United States and many other countries, we have laws that align with eradicating modern slavery and platforms that look at banning forced labor practices. But that is not the case everywhere and it’s important to note because we work in a global industry. The materials we source and use in architecture and design often do not originate in places that have fair labor standards. We must continually strive to be holistically sustainable in our practices — and that includes ensuring the welfare of people who contribute to producing building materials.

Lisa Adams, Director of Citizen HKS & Sustainable Design Leader: The fact that millions of people live in conditions of forced labor to make materials that we use to build buildings is currently an out-of-sight, out-of-mind proposition. But that doesn’t make it right. We can be influencers of change, and this is something we need to make a priority.

“We can be influencers of change, and this is something we need to make a priority.”

– Lisa Adams

Can you talk about how the industry is starting to tackle this issue?

Rand Ekman, Chief Sustainability Officer: Historically, I think the AEC industry has been relatively “hands off” in terms of understanding supply chain issues. Over the last 15 years or so, we have significantly advanced our work around materials and their impact on health. We’re now able to understand how the materials we select and specify impact people who occupy buildings we design, as well as people all along the supply chain including those involved with extraction and manufacturing. Because we’ve grown in our understanding of those things, labor rights and modern slavery are impacts of design thatwe can now, in fact, address.

Adams: At HKS, we want to be part of a conversation of change and step forward to clear a path for others to follow and show them what is possible. We want to start to tackle the hard questions and figure out best practices. With any luck, in five years’ time, this is going to be part of the common vernacular of what defines good, responsible design and that’s when meaningful change will begin.

How does our collaboration with Design for Freedom relate to HKS’ Environmental, Social, Governance and business goals?

Ekman: Human rights, labor rights, environment and anti-corruption are the categories HKS has committed to addressing in signing on to the UN Global Compact, and they are all squarely in the realm of Design for Freedom’s mission. As architects and designers, our ability to manage and influence the supply chain is real. In addition to being the right thing to do and reinforcing our ESG commitments at HKS, addressing this issue is also smart from a business perspective. Clients and organizations we partner with are increasingly asking us to meet ethical and social standards. When we make deliberate decisions to select materials that don’t perpetuate abuse or disputes in the supply chain, it is good for both our clients’ business and our own.

Adams: Design for Freedom directly relates to many of our ESG goals and sits at the intersection of all three pillars of ESG — environmental, social, and governance. Taking up this mission ties into HKS’ ability to influence positive trajectory in the building industries. Oftentimes, the market moves to where the demand is. The more we prioritize making fair labor materials specifications and championing that, the more we create that market for change. We saw that when HKS founded and led transformation with mindfulMaterials — now materials health is part of industry best practices. It just proves we can have the same influence in the space of social welfare as well.

Santos Rivera: We’ve focused quite a bit on how we can address inequities to positively impact our firm and industry. Working to address forced labor in the supply chain goes beyond that — it’s about how we impact the world. Developing partnerships is a key component of HKS’ ESG framework and strategic plan. This is a legacy we must build with others that want to create a better world. It is the long haul toward freedom, climate justice and restorative justice. This is a conversation that has been building up for generations and we need to be part of the change. If we’re not part of the change, we’re part of the problem.

You recently attended the third annual Design for Freedom Summit at Grace Farms in New Canaan, Connecticut. Can you share some takeaways from the event?

Adams: Hearing from people who have seen the impact of forced labor on the human condition was really powerful and hit home the fact that we are a global community. Children and people who are put into forced labor conditions have dreams and aspirations, and the more we connect ourselves to their stories, the more we can be their advocates. Another big takeaway is that we’re not alone. There’s a very large consortium of people in our industry we can partner with. This initiative has strength in numbers and will continue to gain traction, which is inspiring.

Ekman: I was also very taken by the partnerships that are in place and are growing — partnerships across professional service providers, manufacturers, academics and more. The players that can make change happen are in place. I also went away feeling like we have a lot of work to do in terms of getting the information we need within the industry. We need better data about how and where products are produced that we can use to develop tools and make informed decisions. And we need the people who are making those decisions — those who have the role of selecting materials — to share their experiences. Simply put, we need information to be actionable.

“The players that can make change happen are in place.”

– Rand Ekman

Santos Rivera: Seeing images of people in forced labor conditions and learning some of their stories hurt — it was guttural and bleak, and it really helped me better understand the extent of the problem and the urgent need for change. At one point during the summit, I turned to take a photo of the attendees and saw multiple generations of people in the audience, including many students. To know that future architects and designers will already have Design for Freedom’s ideals embedded in how they view architecture and can be agents of change…it filled me with unbelievable hope. I can’t wait for these graduates to join HKS and challenge us with what they know. The fact that it all began with a conversation and idea to look at ethical sourcing of building materials — that’s amazing.

The Citizen HKS Hunger Busters project was selected for Design for Freedom’s Pilot Program. Can you talk about that process and how it might inform more of HKS’ design work?

Adams: The Design for Freedom toolkit outlines 12 “top offending” materials, meaning those most likely to be produced by people experiencing forced labor conditions. For the Hunger Busters project — a sustainable food preparation facility that will supply meals to public school children in need — our Citizen HKS project team selected eight materials we felt confident we would be using in the project to investigate. Those materials are exterior glass and stone, quarry tile, carpet tile, ceiling tiles, upholstery, mass timber and solar panels. We are researching their supply chain and production methods and consulting with pilot program advisors so we can make informed decisions for specifications. It’s a learning process that will help us become better designers.

I want to be sure to point out that designers don’t need to be selected for a Design for Freedom pilot project to take this initiative on. Each and every one of us can step up and ask manufacturers to be transparent about their supply chain. We need to be serious about getting those answers. There are manufacturers out there who are equally serious about wanting to create ethical alignments in their supply chain; it is happening and that’s wonderful to see.

Santos Rivera: I’m excited to learn from this pilot project about how we can better guide our firm as leaders. We are starting with a Citizen HKS project because that is where we can empower our messaging about how to create more equitable communities from end-to-end, and that has a beautiful connection to Design for Freedom. Our current conversation is about how we can create a framework, resources, and policies that support HKS designers to work with ethical materials sourcing as a key component of all our projects.

What challenges and opportunities do you see ahead in our industry’s progress toward ending forced labor and creating a more just, sustainable built environment?

Ekman: We need to talk more about the issue of forced labor in the supply chain within our firm and our industry and socialize the Design for Freedom movement and toolkit. I think people kind of understand these concerns, but it’s taken a long time to understand the influence architects have on supply chains in general, much less this particular topic. The next deeper dive is that we need to reevaluate what we’re putting into our buildings. We need to lead integrated conversations about supply chain, materials, and architectural practice — and how we can improve all those things together.

Santos Rivera: There is one big challenge I see, which connects to global conversations about how companies, organizations and governments can really be effective with ESG initiatives. We could simply say that we’re going to stop sourcing materials from regions where forced labor occurs. But for many people working in inhumane conditions, that is the only way they know to make a living and survive. So, we must seek to break these cycles, and create policies and standards as a collective. We need to build better economies and democracies and not take away peoples’ chance at survival. This is not just about ethical sourcing; this is about building better, more equitable social constructs and providing safer livelihoods for all people.

“This is not just about ethical sourcing; this is about building better, more equitable social constructs and providing safer livelihoods for all people.”

– Yiselle Santos Rivera

Adams: Whatever industry you’re in, challenges that prevent you from making progress are always going to be there. But what I find really aspirational about being in the architecture and design industry is this: what other industry can you think of that plays such a role in being the authors of cultural change? We have the agency and ability to basically author what the next generation of buildings and good design yields. Beyond beauty and performance, there’s a whole conversation about creating significant culture change that we get to contribute to. It’s an incredible opportunity.

Dell Children’s Medical Center North Campus

Case Study

Dell Children’s Medical Center North Campus A Pediatric Care Destination

Austin, Texas

The Challenge

To keep pace with the growing Central Texas population, Dell Children’s Medical Center is expanding with a new north campus that will be the first pediatric hospital in Williamson County. This campus will provide comprehensive health, wellness and emergency services in a child-friendly environment.

The HKS design team was challenged to develop a space that would continue to position Dell Children’s as a leader in pediatric health care, recruit world-renowned talent, and create a destination for programs poised for national prominence.

The Design Solution

Working in partnership with Dell Medical School at The University of Texas and community physician partners, the hospital will attract medical professionals who specialize in pediatrics. As a designated safety net hospital and Level III trauma center, the hospital will treat any type of illness regardless of ability to pay.

Dell Children’s will continue to develop groundbreaking programs such as fetal care, pediatric congenital heart services, which completed its first heart transplant at the main campus in 2020. Future programs may include a genetics and rare disease center.

Building upon the identity of the existing campus, the exterior design for the new hospital continues a story of connection to care and community. The exterior uses the same color tones, limestone brick and a tower that features a coronet inspired by the Daughters of Charity, who started a hospital in Austin in 1902 that would later become Dell Children’s. The interior design also mimics the look and feel of the main campus, creating a familiar and welcoming place for children and families to heal. It is an extension of the surrounding landscape, with large windows and spaces optimize natural light promoting health and wellness. Floor patterns evoke nearby karsts or watering holes and large-scale graphics depict local landscapes. Each floor is represented by a different theme and color to help with wayfinding.

The Design Impact

Dell’s Children’s Medical Center North Campus will be the first pediatric hospital in Williamson County, a vibrant fast-growing suburb of Austin. It is a destination for all levels of pediatric care by strengthening existing specialties and developing additional pediatric complex care programs. It ensures that children and their families never need to leave the Austin area for their critical care needs.

Dell Children’s Medical Center is part of a $1 billion investment in healthcare infrastructure for Central Texas. Since 2020, HKS has designed more than 800,000 square feet (74,322 square meters) of expansion space for Dell Children’s Medical Center at Ascension, including two parking garages.

Project Features

Hunger Busters

Case Study

Hunger Busters Sowing Resilience: A Journey to Cultivate Change

Dallas, TX, USA

The Challenge

Nearly two-thirds of the Dallas Independent School District’s (DISD) 150,000 students face the prospect of food insecurity each day. To help reduce that challenge Hunger Busters, a non-profit meal provider program founded in 2012, serves freshly prepared dinners to 4,500 DISD students each school day. But with the continued urgency to feed hungry children in Dallas, Hunger Busters leaders recognized the need to expand their facilities overlooking the Trinity River.

After a break-in that resulted in the loss of equipment and food supplies, Hunger Busters used the temporary setback to launch a capital campaign to propel their ambitious expansion project forward. It trained its focus on the La Bahara neighborhood, one of the five vibrant Hispanic communities in West Dallas. Confronted by challenges posed by large-scale development and escalating housing costs, La Bahara became the inspiration for a facility deeply entwined with its community. Global design firm, HKS, working through its Citizen HKS philanthropic arm, volunteered to help bring that vision to life.

The Design Solution

Inspired by the symbolism of a planted seed that is nurtured and grown, the HKS team worked with Hunger Busters to create a vibrant, sustainable food preparation facility that will eventually help nurture, grow and sustain thousands of Dallas youngsters.  

The facility has three core sections: Hunger Busters’ operations, the commissary kitchen, and the rentable entrepreneurial section. Underground parking has been strategically implemented to optimize kitchen and collaboration spaces on the upper floors and address the site’s specific geological challenges.

The first level of the 17,000-square-foot building boasts expanded prep space, tripled production capacity, and a 1,400-square-foot (130 sm) revenue-generating commissary kitchen. Emphasizing sustainability, the site incorporates a chef’s garden for locally sourced produce.

The project incorporates a 1,500-gallon rainwater collection system, capitalizing on Dallas’s average rainfall to support the facility sustainably. With an annual collection capacity of approximately 636 gallons, this system plays a crucial role in irrigating the landscape and providing water for the plants in the chef’s garden. 

The second floor of the two-floor facility will offer a rentable shared workplace that local nonprofits can use to foster collaboration and resource-sharing. Another highlight of the second floor is the outdoor terrace, which boasts spectacular views of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, an iconic structure that acts as a scenic connector from the La Bahara neighborhood to downtown Dallas.

A vibrant artwork piece, chosen through a local high school art contest, will provide a fitting final touch, anchoring the facility’s high-profile corner. Hunger Busters’ journey, like a seed growing from a simple connection with roots to a thriving community project, exemplifies the transformative power of collective effort in shaping positive change.

The Design Impact

The project’s sustainable strategies included an anaerobic digester that can transform food and garden waste into bio-fertilizer and energy that can power all exterior site lighting; a rainwater capture system; and CLT as a structural system.

Also, a roof solar panel with 60% coverage, is anticipated to offset 46% of the building’s baseline energy usage, holding out promise for achieving a net positive project by 2030.

The use of Mass Timber construction, specifically through the incorporation of pre-fabricated Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) panels, aligns with Texas Regionalism and plays a pivotal role in drastically reducing the building’s carbon footprint. The efficiency of CLT not only accelerates the construction timeline but also minimizes labor costs and offers enhanced fire safety advantages. 

Throughout the design and construction phases, HKS and Hunger Busters remain steadfast in their commitment to ethical decarbonization. The overarching objective is to cultivate a building materials supply chain that is deeply environmentally conscious and actively advocates for a future free from forced labor. 

This new facility, overlooking the Trinity River, is a beacon of circularity. By utilizing excess food from local restaurants and businesses, transforming it into nutritious third meals for students, and then converting any remaining waste into energy, this innovative approach addresses food insecurity and exemplifies sustainable practices championing a circular and regenerative system that benefits both people and the planet. With this new infrastructure in place, Hunger Busters will be able to increase meal production to an impressive 14,500 meals per day, significantly widening their impact within the city of Dallas. 

Project Features

J.D. Lambert


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.”

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.  

HKS New York

Case Study

HKS New York Reimaging the Office for an Evolved Workforce 

New York, New York, USA 

The Challenge

The HKS New York office sought to renovate its new space to accommodate an evolved workplace culture as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The project team determined that its increasingly mobile workforce necessitated a different approach to space planning — one that prioritizes shared areas over individually assigned areas that have become underutilized since the pandemic. Air quality, lighting and acoustic performance were also a priority of the project team. 

The Design Solution

With themselves as the client, the New York office cultivated a workspace fit for a changed workforce and representative of the character of New York City. The streets of New York are referenced by three distinct zones flanking the central work area. Culture Alley focuses on the user experience and provides an intimate, service-based access with artistic accents curated by the office’s employees, Process Alley houses innovative and energetic aspects of creating and Broadway showcases curated ideas.  

The vast connectivity of the city’s subway system also inspired much of the design of the office space, using the concept of sinuous curves, arches and iconic signage to connect disparate programs and design methods of wayfinding. The concept of a train yard rail lines is referenced by a linear acoustic ceiling system composed of angular, sinuous baffles. Additionally, office staff chose imagery of iconic New York City structures to adorn the space for further inspiration.   

While the project team focused on shared areas, it also designed focus rooms and a conference room for quiet work and closed meetings — but the conference room doesn’t only serve as a private meeting space. It can be divided into two rooms with bi-folding acoustic partitions or open up into one large room, extending into the common area to create an even larger gathering space. If necessary, curtains can be drawn for both privacy and soundproofing.  

High-performing MERV 14 air filtration and customizable temperature control positively impact overall well-being and comfort within the space. Area control systems were placed strategically throughout the office to allow for varying temperature levels among the different zoned areas. Skylights and windows bring light into the space, but various biophilic installations help diffuse the light while also bringing in nature emblematic of the city’s public parks and East Coast sea forms.   

The Design Impact

The HKS New York office reflects the identities of its primary users and honors the city it serves while improving overall well-being as employees return to the office after working remotely during the pandemic. Its bright and airy atmosphere invites both HKS employees and clients in as they ease back into office life, and an emphasis on shared spaces facilitates community and boosts morale.

Project Features

Visioning Workshops Inspire Design Excellence at HKS

Visioning Workshops Inspire Design Excellence at HKS

HKS values limitless thinking. This expansive mindset means that on every project, of every typology, scope and scale – whether a neighborhood park or city-wide transit system, elementary school or research university, training facility or world-class sports and entertainment complex – we strive for design excellence.

To inspire excellence on every project, we begin each pursuit with a design charette, or visioning workshop. Visioning workshops bring together diverse experts from throughout HKS in a spirit of collaboration.

Before we draw a single line, researchers; inventors; sustainability professionals; strategic advisors; project managers; leaders in justice, equity, diversity and inclusion; technical specialists; engineers and designers drawn from HKS’ 28 offices around the world work together to imagine the project’s potential for beauty and performance. Every great project starts with a dream.

Integrated Design Process

HKS’ integrated design process involves teamwork between people in multiple disciplines to create buildings and environments that are functional, efficient, sustainable and aesthetically pleasing. This process considers all aspects of a design, including the materials used, operations, energy consumption, user experience and community and environmental impact. The goal is to create a comprehensive solution that leverages the strengths of each team member, for more efficient and effective results.

Visioning workshops are essential to our integrated design process. The purpose of a visioning workshop is to gain input from a cross-section of stakeholders, set high-level goals and establish alignment between everyone involved with a project before making any decisions or starting to develop solutions. We want to lead with possibility, to develop hypotheses and opportunities for impact that aren’t obvious.

Visioning is most powerful at the beginning of a project. Talking and listening to each other can help overcome natural limitations established by what we might believe, already know or may have done in the past. By opening a wide-ranging dialogue from the start of a project, we can turn into reality what might have once seemed impossible.

Principles of Design

The discovery process for a visioning workshop involves gathering information, analyzing data, conducting research and identifying key design drivers – such as site analysis, program and operations requirements and sustainability goals – to inform the development of a coherent and compelling design vision that guides the project’s direction.

HKS uses the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Framework for Design Excellence as a basis for examining issues concerning the built environment. The Framework identifies 10 key principles to inspire beautiful, resilient, inclusive designs. These include “Design for Equitable Communities,” “Design for Ecosystems,” and “Design for Economy.”

The first principle is, “Design for Integration.” In describing this principle, AIA notes that, “Good design elevates any project, no matter how small, with a thoughtful process that delivers both beauty and function in balance. It is the element that binds all the principles together with a big idea.”

Visioning workshops focus on defining the “big idea,” or overriding purpose for a project. Developing a narrative for what a design is intended to achieve sets the stage for the work to follow. Storytelling is a powerful force. The act of naming or visualizing something can help bring it into being.

Visioning workshop participants collaborate to identify and document the project’s key values – the programmatic, operational and experiential needs and expectations of the client and project stakeholders. Then they create design guidelines to express those values and they define a set of measures to evaluate project performance.

The art and science of design – the immeasurable delight and measurable outcomes that comprise design excellence – are at the heart of visioning workshops.

Agreeing on a clear, inspiring vision from the outset results in projects that are beautiful and impactful. Examples include Chengdu Phoenix Hill Sports Park in China (designed by HKS and the China Southwest Architectural Design and Research Institute), which features an innovative exterior that honors a local, traditional art form; and HKS-designed Moody Outpatient Center at Parkland Hospital, a public health clinic that supports dignified, uplifting care for people in the Dallas community.

The visioning process enables HKS’ global team to deliver designs that delight the senses and support social, economic and environmental progress, what AIA terms the defining principles of good design in the 21st century.

Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU’s New Tower: Space to Grow

Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU’s New Tower: Space to Grow

This story first appeared in the 2023 July/August Edition of Medical Construction & Design. It is reprinted here with their permission.

Situated at the gateway to VCU Medical Center’s campus, Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU’s new Children’s Tower is a landmark 16-story, 565,000-square-foot hospital. The building expands the existing Children’s Pavilion, creating a consolidated location for pediatric healthcare — an entire city block dedicated to serving the children of Richmond, the Commonwealth of Virginia and the region.

Adjacent to some of Richmond’s most important and historic civic structures, the design establishes a bold, signature identity. A yellow ribbon articulated along the façade visually stitches the tower and pavilion together, while colorful fins along the building’s exterior highlight the tower’s identity as a children’s hospital. It includes 72 critical and acute care inpatient beds, a Level 01 pediatric trauma center with a rooftop helistop, surgical and imaging suites, and a full range of support services, including a Ronald McDonald House, multi-faith chapel and child-friendly cafeteria.

Designed by children, for children

Early in the project, designers and researchers interviewed members of the CHoR Family Advisory Network to understand and map their care journeys in the current hospital.

CHoR FAN members also participated in design workshops, physical and virtual mock-ups and operational planning alongside care team members. Touchpoints and priorities identified through those engagements formed the basis of design, with each key moment being crafted to define the optimal future state. A community design fair enabled over 100 children and family members to directly engage in the design process, voting on concepts, themes and color palettes.

The tower’s colorful interior architecture and design draw inspiration from local nature and the James River, intrinsically connecting the building with its location and creating an environment that can be both calming and engaging. Animal mascots selected by children and families provide unique themes for each level. An interactive shadow play zone, faceted discovery niches and colorful hanging sculptural elements engage patients and visitors along their journey through the hospital. Panoramic views, access to natural light and artwork in patient care areas and care team spaces have a calming, restorative effect to reduce anxiety and stress, and ultimately, promote healing.

Beacon for well-being

The tower creates an environment intended to provide normalcy and support the developmental needs of children and adolescent patients.

Each patient room is private and provides opportunities for personalization with color-changing lights and dedicated family zones with comfortable accommodations for overnight stays.

Teen lounges provide space for adolescent young adults to interact with one another, read, do homework and play video games; playrooms with colorful activity niches and age-appropriate toys provide play space for younger children. Custom art panels featuring animals and educational facts create ‘seek and find’ opportunities for children and provide a sightly cover to cabinets with personal protective equipment for providers.

Other areas that serve children’s growth needs include an area for hospital teachers to help patients continue learning during their stay and a developmental gym with physical therapy space. An indoor garden and elevated garden overlook offer diverse spaces for respite and activities; a performance room provides event space with live streaming capabilities so children who are not able to attend in person can watch performances from their rooms.

Evidence-based, research-informed

The team incorporated an evidence-based approach throughout the tower’s planning process, aligning design strategies with intended outcomes. Post-occupancy performance evaluations provided insights into design and operational strategies, as well as opportunities to further enhance key elements for continuous improvement. The team also conducted a literature review in collaboration with the University of Virginia to identify a range of drivers transforming pediatric healthcare.

Plan analytics and rapid prototyping helped optimize adjacencies to reduce travel distances for care team members, while maximizing visibility to patient rooms and among peers. Scenario testing in physical and virtual mock-ups enabled methodical testing of details within key spaces. The design team created a full reference guide to use during operational planning and activation that ensured care team members had a grasp of the design intent, strategies and supporting evidence.

Interprofessional care team model

Team spaces are designed to support the interprofessional care model and enhance opportunities for connection and collaboration. Open workstations, quieter team rooms and small team stations offer flexibility for focused or collaborative work. Charting alcoves between patient rooms provide workspace directly adjacent to the point of care for easy monitoring, and bedside computer stations provide immediate access to records within the patient room. Standardized clinical support cores provide adjacency between key spaces to maximize workflow efficiency and minimize distances to patient rooms.

An off-stage care team zone provides additional space for collaboration and adequate space for respite, as do interprofessional team lounges where care team members can enjoy daylight and views. Dedicated relaxation rooms with dimmable lighting, windows, biophilic art and a reclining massage chair on each unit and in the emergency department are available for care team members to step away as needed during their shifts.

Designing for optimization and the ever-changing present

Built on a tight urban site, the tower maximizes the available footprint to provide appropriately sized patient care spaces. To further increase the footprint of the upper levels, the tower is cantilevered 15 feet out from the lower levels, providing adequate space for the 24-bed units. The pediatric trauma center is located on the seventh floor to also take advantage of the larger footprint. It has a trauma bay with two care stations and flexibility to surge to four if needed, as well as 22 universal exam rooms with exceptional views. A 275-foot-long bridge elevated three stories above the ground connects the tower to the medical center, ensuring safe and convenient access to services for care team members and patients.

The tower is designed to support future growth. Patient rooms are all universally designed, enabling future conversion to critical care beds if needed. Shell space within the tower and pavilion will enable the addition of 48 more inpatient beds for a total of 120 beds, as well as the future addition of diagnostic and treatment spaces, research and administrative spaces, and amenity spaces based on future growth needs.

An additional two floors of vertical expansion capacity are included in the structural design of the space above the pavilion, providing even more vertical growth potential.

A true team effort

CHoR and VCU Health leadership, the Richmond community and patients and families served by the Children’s Hospital of Richmond demonstrated exemplary, thoughtful collaboration with the design and construction teams to realize the Children’s Tower. Working hand in hand, this unified team brought its vision of an oasis for healing to life, creating a world-class hospital where generations of children and adolescents will come to heal and grow.

Kate Renner, AIA, EDAC, LSSBG, LEED AP, WELL AP, is a senior medical planner, vice president and health studio practice leader at HKS, located in the firm’s Washington, D.C. office.

Project team

• Architect: HKS Inc.
• Program manager: JLL
• Contractor: DPR
• MEP engineer: BR+A
• Structural engineer: Dunbar
• Structural engineer, parking consultant: WSP
• Low voltage, technology, medical equipment: Introba
• Civil engineer: TRC Companies
• Landscape architect: Reichbauer Studio PLC.
• Lighting design: The Lighting Practice
• Logistics, vertical transportation: St. Onge
• Helideck design: FEC Heliports
• Acoustic engineering: Convergent Technology Design Group
• Wind engineering: RWDI
• Wayfinding, signage: Exit
• Graphic illustrations: Liz Taylor Creative
• Operational, transition planning: HTS, ClarkRN

HKS Atlanta

Case Study

HKS Atlanta Connecting Real Estate to Business Strategy

Atlanta, Georgia, USA

The Challenge

As a design firm with a thriving commercial interiors practice, HKS wanted our Atlanta office to reflect our point of view on the future of work. To that end, we designed to put people first, focusing on how and where our teams want to work, and supporting their health and well-being through design. To attract more diverse employees, we prioritized inclusive design. Finally, we sought to reduce expenses by right-sizing the office for a modern, hybrid workforce.

The Design Solution

Our design team began by asking our Atlanta team questions such as: what future do we want to realize? What legacy do we want to leave through design?  Our employees indicated that what they most needed from in-person time was space to focus, to co-create, to learn from our own design and to cultivate a culture of learning.  

To design spaces we would use more, we analyzed workplace data and devoted a greater amount of space to seating for teams and collaboration, less to private workstations. Our new workplace features an “idea theater” near the entrance, for events and learning; a “rapid ops rooms war room” for teams on deadline; and a variety of lounge and table seating where colleagues can work or even take breaks, which our research on brain health shows are critical to health and performance.

To align with our point-of-view on the future of work, we designed our workplace policy and our physical space centered on trust in our teams. Together, teammates determine where and how they will work to achieve our business goals. Digital equity is key to our objective to attract a more diverse workforce, so we designed that into our new work ecosystem, too.  We host client meetings in the open studio so our clients can experience the creative atmosphere, and see how designing policy and place together realize a vibrant, healthy work culture.

The Design Impact

As we navigate through our first year of occupancy, we are constantly researching our space to learn how it performs and how it benefits our firm, our clients and even our landlord, to help future tenants. We are currently targeting LEED and WELL Gold certifications, as well as pursuing the firm’s first office Brain Health Certification.

We will continue to analyze performance data and make necessary adjustments as we move forward.

Project Features

University Hospitals Ahuja Medical Center Phase 2

Case Study

University Hospitals Ahuja Medical Center Phase 2 Expanding with Flexibility

Beachwood, Ohio

The Challenge

University Hospitals has worked with HKS since 2007 and developed a master plan for its Ahuja Medical Center campus with a flexible growth strategy that allows the public and service spines to expand incrementally, from 144 beds up to 600 beds. Phase 1, completed in 2010, included a 375,000-square-foot full-service hospital. However, the emergency department quickly outgrew its space, and there was a need for sports medicine and dedicated men and women’s services and surgical expansion within the community. In addition, the original master plan called for building growth to expand to the northeast of the site. However, that area had become a place of respite for staff and visitors with a retention pond and walking paths. So as the Phase 2 planning began in 2016, the HKS design team needed to adjust the original master plan from an inpatient focus to also include inpatient and outpatient services and find a new location for the buildings that would nearly double the size of the campus.

The Design Solution

The design team proposed to locate the Phase 2 expansion to northwest of the site adjacent to the existing hospital in two new buildings: a South Pavilion was purposely located 40 feet apart from the existing hospital to create a healing garden and staff respite space, which also allowed the existing hospital windows to remain and the new South Pavilion to have windows as well. The programs included a new expanded emergency, surgery with central sterile processing, materials handling expansion, mother-baby and NICU services and breast health, and a second free standing building to house a one-of-a-kind Sports Medicine Institute, totaling over 300,000 square feet added to the campus. This expansion includes services that promote same-day care, allowing patients to use a state-of-the-art Field House for their Rehababilitation from injuries.

The South Pavilion is located next to the existing hospital to allow adjacencies between the existing imaging and surgery departments. The new emergency department, located on the first floor, was upgraded to Level II Trauma and has an expanded capacity for complex cases. And the surgery department on the second floor added eight operating rooms large enough to accommodate current and future technology. The ambulatory surgery suite including pre- and post-op areas are universally designed so they can be used for any procedure type and flex with with the timing of the day.

The Steve and Loree Potash Women & Newborn Center on the third floor provides a family-focused home for expectant mothers and newborns. The unit is designed to exceed the highest standards for quality, expert care while meeting the unique needs and delivery preferences of each patient and their family. The experience is like walking into a first-class hotel with a high touch, calming, service-oriented process. A special care nursery/Level 3 NICU and breast center are also located here.

Drusinsky Sports Medicine Institute is a clinical care and treatment destination for athletes of all ages and talent levels. It offers comprehensive orthopedic services including performance training, on-site surgical services, and physical therapy, hydrotherapy as well as education and services to keep them at the top of their game. The prominent design feature is a field house with three-story volume and glazing that contains half a football field, a partial basketball court, batting cages, track and field surfaces, ballet bars and weight training. The sports-centric design is carried throughout the facility to serve as an inspiration for recovering athletes to get back out on the field. The Cutler Center for Men on the third floor showcases a new model of care for men, offering a full range of health care services. It is designed like a men’s lounge overlooking the football field to help motivate men to prioritize their health through prevention and wellness care.

The Design Impact

The expanded Ahuja Medical Center campus allows caregivers to efficiently provide quality health care and enhance the patient experience. The hospital embraces a “community of care” philosophy, promoting the welfare of both patients and staff through improved efficiencies, safety, and medical technology. With ample natural light and materials, the hospital brings the outside in and blends with its natural surroundings.

The environmentally responsible design incorporates wetlands, bio swales and native plants, while taking maximum advantage of passive solar energy. The pavilion and sports medicine complex make access to health care services easier and place a focus on wellness.

Project Features

What Does it Take to Achieve Carbon Neutrality?

What Does it Take to Achieve Carbon Neutrality?

Navigating the carbon emissions landscape requires grappling with challenges that include comprehending value chain emissions, adopting new measurement techniques and pioneering reduction strategies. 

After years of exploration and analysis, HKS recently announced that we are now a carbon neutral business. In partnership with sustainability consultants from Omaha, Nebraska-based Verdis Group and Cloverly, a climate action platform headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, we have carefully measured the greenhouse gas emissions produced by our business practices and developed a carbon offset portfolio to help counterbalance the negative effects of our carbon footprint each year.

Carbon neutrality is an important step in our journey to net zero – reducing the net carbon emissions due to our business operations to as close to zero as possible.

Rand Ekman, HKS’ Chief Sustainability Officer; Arnaud Manas, Senior Associate, Verdis Group; and Jason Rubottom, Chief Executive Officer, Cloverly, recently shared why HKS took this path and what other firms can learn from our experience.

Rand Ekman, Chief Sustainability Officer, HKS

Why did HKS decide to become a carbon neutral firm?

To be a good global citizen.

We’re a big firm that has a carbon footprint that matters in the larger context of climate change. We’re recognizing that and being serious about what that means.

We’re shifting our thinking around sustainability in order to look more closely at our own business practices and what we do as part of our industry. We can reduce the negative impact of our carbon footprint when we pay attention to it with rigor and purpose.

What were the biggest challenges in achieving carbon neutral business operations? 

We had to cover a lot of new territory. Determining our carbon footprint was a big challenge. How do you calculate your footprint, using as much rigor as you can, given the data sources you have access to? Learning what should be measured and how to measure it was new to HKS. That was what our consultants, including Verdis Group, helped us figure out.

The other major challenge was learning how to make intelligent decisions around carbon offsets. We needed to learn which offsets we wanted to align with as a company. That’s how we ended up working with Cloverly. They approach the question of offsets with integrity, and they have a lot of data that enabled us to make judgement calls about offsets that aligned with our values and business practices.

What do you think is the most important thing that other firms might learn from HKS’ experience? 

You don’t have to have it all figured out in advance. You just need to start. There are a lot of resources out there in the world, both within architecture and outside our profession, that are ready and willing to help. Drawing on those resources and developing long-term relationships is important. This is an ongoing effort that will play out for many years. Build a strong team.

Arnaud Manas, Senior Associate, Verdis Group

What challenges do companies often face when starting to understand their carbon footprint?

Calculating the baseline footprint and collecting the initial data can be hard, especially because organizations usually don’t have resources allocated to greenhouse gas accounting.

Once we have the numbers, there are a couple issues we often run into as far as understanding them. Emissions related to leased assets and procurements can be confusing. It can be difficult for people to understand that if you lease office space or spend money with a vendor, you’re responsible for the emissions related to that activity.

In addition, companies need to commit to doing the work on an ongoing basis. It’s new work, new data to be collected every year. There are staffing and budget implications for measuring emissions and supporting efforts to reduce them. It’s important to make this work a priority and engage the entire organization.

What’s next on the horizon for greenhouse gas emissions accounting?

The European Union, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and U.S. Federal Sustainability Plan are implementing or have proposed new rules that require businesses to disclose their greenhouse gas emissions. Even if these regulations don’t apply to your organization directly, you may be a vendor of a firm that will need to report this information. Data transparency and determining how to purchase goods and services in a more sustainable way are increasingly important.

Start-ups are racing to develop a software platform for managing emissions data. Artificial Intelligence will likely play a role in this. That’s going to accelerate the greenhouse gas accounting movement.

While they get a better handle on their emissions data, companies are also asked to disclose targets and reduction plans that involve strategies such as more efficient building designs, retrofits of existing buildings, electrification and renewable energy.

Jason Rubottom, Chief Executive Officer, Cloverly

At HKS, we are keenly focused on the intersection of environmental and social impacts. How did you guide HKS in aligning our portfolio with our values?

We helped HKS construct a portfolio of high-quality projects that optimize for both environmental and social impacts, with the data to give the firm confidence in their decisions. These decisions can be complex. We make things easier by providing comprehensive project data and expertise, as an independent party.

The United Nations has identified 17 Sustainable Development Goals that correspond to social impacts, such as clean water and sanitation. These are often referred to as co-benefits. We helped HKS define a set of priorities for their offset portfolio that is unique to their brand, story, core values and supply chain, and we gave the firm information about offset projects with co-benefits that align with these priorities.

Not all carbon credits are created equally. What does quality mean in the offset world?

There are several factors that generally determine the quality of a project and a critical part of the customer journey with HKS, or any account is to take all factors into account in making decisions. 

One is additionality: was the carbon going to be removed from the atmosphere without HKS funding the project? Projects should represent incremental progress – that’s what we mean by additionality. This concept extends to double counting or over-crediting on the estimates of how much carbon is being removed or sequestered or avoided. Another factor is the durability of the removal. This length varies, from less than 50 years to 1,000-plus years, or permanently. Social impacts are also an intrinsic value of quality.  

What role do carbon credits play in the fight against climate change?

Research shows we have to take action now or we won’t come anywhere near the goals laid out in the Paris Agreement international treaty on climate change. There’s already too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and too many unavoidable emissions. If we don’t act now, it will be too late in the year 2050, and potentially even 2030. Decarbonization must remain the priority, but carbon credits represent a critical way to fund necessary carbon removal to help combat unavoidable emissions today.

New Patient Tower Signals Hope for Richmond Children and Families

New Patient Tower Signals Hope for Richmond Children and Families

No matter how you approach downtown Richmond, VA, your eye will catch a glimpse of something special. Standing tall among the historic structures of the city center is a shimmering building clad with glass, a bright yellow ribbon and colorful fins: the new Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU (CHoR) Children’s Tower.

During the last several decades, CHoR has established itself as a premiere pediatric care provider, delivering a full range of services for children experiencing common diseases, injuries and complex health conditions. But until now, the hospital’s services and facilities were “fragmented” across the VCU Medical Center Campus.

“When care is fragmented, there are gaps and inequities that get created,” said Jeniece Roane, CHoR’s Vice President of Operations.

In 2016, the outpatient Children’s Pavilion opened and marked a big step forward in CHoR’s goal to consolidate services in a centralized, state-of-the-art environment. The Children’s Tower, which opened this spring, fully accomplishes that goal with 72 critical and acute care inpatient rooms and a Level 1 pediatric trauma center.

“Now, we’ve got a world-class facility that reflects our commitment and makes it very clear for parents and guardians where the best care for children is delivered,” said Roane, who has been a registered nurse for 30 years and has worked with CHoR for 25 years.

The Children’s Tower signifies the importance of investing in children’s health care for a rapidly growing region full of young families. HKS health studio practice leader Leslie Hanson, who served as Principal in Charge of the project, said that the building’s contemporary design also symbolizes an even broader transformation taking place in Richmond.

“This project, along with the Pavilion, is making a significant difference in how people look at the city. The design beckons to the future and sets a trajectory for Richmond as being progressive and forward-thinking,” said Hanson.

An Integrated Team and Process from Day One

To create a building that would signal a hopeful look forward, the design team searched outward and inward, relying on precedent projects, community engagement, research, and innovative thinking to guide them.

HKS, CHoR and VCU Health first began developing plans for new facilities as far back as 2006, when Hanson and health system leaders toured pediatric hospitals across the United States for inspiration. Over the next several years, the project went through multiple iterations before the idea to build the Children’s Pavilion and the Children’s Tower on a combined site emerged as the best solution.

The Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU Children’s Tower and Children’s Pavilion, both designed by HKS, sit on the same site and provide consolidated inpatient and outpatient services.

From the start, an integrated HKS team of architects, interior designers, and researchers sought to design a Children’s Tower that reflected the needs of everyone who would set foot in the building and create an oasis of healing for children. The team worked hand in hand with CHoR and VCU Health leadership, care team members, community partners, and the CHoR Family Advisory Network— which includes young adult and adolescent patients, as well as parents and guardians of younger patients — to accomplish these goals. Engagements included interviews, patient journey mapping, and a community design fair where more than 100 children and their family members gave input on design concepts and color palettes.

“The ability to partner with care team members as well as patients and families really helped ensure we were creating meaningful moments in the design,” said HKS’ Kate Renner, the architect, medical planner and researcher who led the project team. “We talked with them about their experiences in the current facilities and what opportunities we could leverage to create the ideal future state.”

Roane and Renner both said that the team responsible for creating the Children’s Tower felt like a unified group, where everyone worked toward the same goals.

“I felt very supported by the HKS team and that we’ve had a great partner,” Roane said. “They listened to the voices of our team, of our community, our caregivers, and patients and they’ve been able to translate that in a way that really reflects all the pent-up desire for this community to have a true children’s hospital.”

The design team leveraged almost every single health research tool HKS has in its toolbelt, according to Renner, including parametric analysis, intent and evidence documentation, shadowing, behavior mapping, benchmarking, rapid prototyping and FLEXX research. They gleaned insight from post-occupancy performance evaluations at the Children’s Pavilion and extensively studied interprofessional workflows. The team also built full scale mock-ups and tested them with care teams and stakeholders, making adjustments to the design based on feedback.

“We were able to address operational concerns at the same time we were designing the space,” said Renner, who has been working on CHoR projects for nearly a decade. “That level of collaboration resulted in spaces that are truly interprofessional throughout the clinical areas and different care team spaces that function better.”

Cara Timberlake, a registered nurse who works in the emergency department located on the Children’s Tower’s third floor has found that spaces such as an internal waiting room, private consultation rooms, and ample storage areas have all helped create more efficient workflows for cross-team professionals including nurses, physicians, social workers, child life staff members and security personnel.

Timberlake said that the new space fully supports the collaborative and collegial working dynamics she enjoys in her day-to-day work.

“The good relationships between everyone haven’t changed since we’ve moved into the new building and that’s something I really appreciate,” she said.

Care team members have ample space to complete clinical tasks, collaborate with other professionals, and connect with patients and families.

But many things have changed for care team members like Timberlake, who said the Children’s Tower’s staff amenity and support areas are a huge improvement over cramped facilities they used before. Separate locker and break rooms, as well as dedicated recharge and respite spaces called “Watson Rooms,” are conveniently located within each unit.

“I’m right down the hall from my patients and I don’t have to travel far or take travel time to get to there. Because of the location of the Watson Room, I’m able to close my eyes and truly relax a little bit more.” Timberlake said. “It’s a serenity space.”

Design that Promotes Well-being and Discovery

To promote holistic well-being of everyone at CHoR — from care team members to patients and their families — the Children’s Tower’s design includes abundant natural light and biophilic elements.

Many interior architecture and design details throughout the hospital are inspired by the James River, which winds its way through Richmond. The river itself influenced circulation patterns and colorful mascots representing animals native to river habitats bring a unique character identity to each floor.

“When you can have design features that are relatable to the community that they’re in, it softens the experience and makes it more approachable, more like home,” said HKS’ Corrine Kipp, the project’s lead interior designer who attended VCU and lives in Richmond.

The team also made design decisions influenced by the more abstract concept of “shadow play,” which is realized though unique shapes, fun colors, sculptural elements, and niches that offer exciting moments of wonder and interaction for children.

“These elements are more whimsical,” Kipp said. “They are inspired by things children really gravitate towards that adults don’t always necessarily find the beauty in.”

Colorful discovery niches throughout the building give patients and visitors exciting moments of engagement and calming places to take a deep breath

Kipp and Renner said that along with the stimulating shadow play features, elements of choice throughout the building play an important role in the design. Inside their rooms, for example, patients can control color-changing lights and TVs that offer variety of entertainment options when they need rest or treatment.

“Allowing a child to feel like they have some choice or some small amount of control, you can see stress melt away,” said Kipp, noting that being the mother of a young child helped her make informed decisions throughout the design process. “They feel trusted to do things they think are right for them, and that makes them feel safer and more at ease.”

Elements of choice also help support children’s long-term holistic development across the full duration of what can be lengthy hospital stays, Renner said. Outside of their rooms, patients have easy access to areas where they can be themselves including multiple play spaces, a teen lounge, a developmental gym, and a performance room — all of which contribute to developmental growth and provide a sense of normalcy during difficult times.

Because trying to feel “normal” can be just as hard for family members as it is for children in a hospital setting, the Children’s Tower also has numerous spaces that suit the day-to-day needs of parents and guardians. The family gym, cafeteria, Ronald McDonald House Charities support spaces and services, and personal quiet rooms where adults can take a phone call, close their eyes, or get some work done, all aid their ability to focus on taking care of their kids while not neglecting their own needs.

Further fostering a cohesive and comfortable experience, the team also created connections between the exterior and interior designs. The colorful fins on the glass façade, inspired by CHoR’s brand, take the form of playful hanging sculptures inside and influenced art and furniture selections. And the yellow ribbon that visually unifies the Pavilion and Children’s Tower outside extends indoors where the color and motif indicate touchpoints and vertical transportation, making the hospital easier to navigate.

Privacy and Comfort for Patients, a Bright Future for Richmond

Perhaps the most impactful decision the CHoR and HKS teams made when planning the Children’s Tower was making every patient room private. The hospital’s prior facilities included semi-private rooms where multiple families would have to navigate care and stressful circumstances while cohabitating — a challenge for patients, families and care teams alike.

“When care team members have to start out their care giving experience apologizing for the room and the fact that you have a roommate, it taints the experience,” said Roane, who oversees the people and teams responsible for providing care to patients.

Every patient room in the Children’s Tower is private, and comes with flexible furniture arrangements for families and customizable lighting.

Private rooms at the Children’s Tower include a single patient bed, large windows overlooking Richmond and the James River, and flexible furniture arrangements for families to comfortably socialize, eat and spend the night as needed. Timberlake, Renner, Roane and Kipp all said that the private rooms and amenities within them offer a completely different, much more positive hospital experience for patients and care team members as well as guardians, parents, and siblings.

“Private rooms help families still feel like families. They don’t have to worry about what the patients and families next to them are doing — they can be their own family unit within a space that feels safe and a little bit more familiar,” Kipp said.

Incorporating private rooms is just one of many design choices that has a hand in helping CHoR deliver on its vision to be a nationally leading children’s health care provider and education and research institution.

On a larger scale, the Children’s Tower and the Children’s Pavilion that came before it both reflect how partnerships like the one between HKS and VCU Health can positively impact peoples’ lives. Roane said the collaborative process of designing, building, and opening the Children’s Tower has galvanized CHoR’s commitment to attract and retain team members that can provide the best care for young people so Richmond will have the brightest future possible.

“I’ve been careful to make sure we don’t rest on our laurels,” Roane said. “Yes, we have the building, and now we have even more responsibility to deliver on our brand promise for children and families.”

Global Design Firm Reaches Climate Action Milestone: HKS is Now a Carbon Neutral Business

Global Design Firm Reaches Climate Action Milestone: HKS is Now a Carbon Neutral Business

Global design firm HKS is pleased to announce that we are now a carbon neutral business.

This achievement is the result of a multi-year, multifaceted effort to monitor, reduce and offset greenhouse gas emissions produced through our business practices, such as office operations, employee travel and commutes.

“I am proud of our firm for prioritizing this effort by adapting our business practices to address critical environmental challenges that impact future generations,” said Dan Noble, HKS President and Chief Executive Officer. “Our goal as an organization is to enhance communities and the lives of people all over the world through our work, and addressing our carbon footprint is a natural next step.”

Carbon neutrality is a milestone on HKS’ journey to net zero. We are building a pathway to eliminate operational carbon from 100 percent of our active design work by 2030 and to reduce the net carbon emissions from our business operations to as close to zero as possible.

Carbon neutrality is a milestone on HKS’ journey to net zero.

Rand Ekman, Chief Sustainability Officer and a Partner at HKS, said the firm aspires to address our carbon footprint in “the most meaningful way possible.”

To accomplish this goal, HKS engaged with third-party experts to develop a rigorous and thorough methodology to calculate the firm’s emissions. As we endeavor to reduce these emissions to net zero, we are investing in carbon removal initiatives that are independently verified by leading carbon market registries. For maximum benefit, our investments include products designed to advance sustainability in the built environment. We believe high-quality carbon offsetting can be an invaluable tool to support the decarbonization of the global economy.

Data-driven Strategy

HKS worked with sustainability consultants from Omaha, Nebraska-based Verdis Group to develop and refine a comprehensive, data-driven strategy to monitor and measure our firmwide carbon emissions. Verdis Group has approved an auditing process that we will use to account for our emissions moving forward, as part of our climate action plan.

In addition, HKS partnered with Cloverly, a climate action platform headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, to curate a portfolio dedicated to carbon offsetting through carbon avoidance (preventing carbon from being released into the atmosphere) and carbon removal.

Impactful Leadership

HKS has long recognized and endeavored to mitigate negative impacts of the architecture, engineering and construction industry. The American Institute of Architects reports that the built environment is responsible for approximately 40 percent of emissions that contribute to global warming.

HKS’ history of environmental and social leadership includes joining the United Nations Global Compact in 2020. We were one of the first large multidisciplinary design firms to sign this global agreement that aligns business strategies and operations with universal sustainability principles and actions to help end extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice and protect our planet.

Yiselle Santos Rivera, HKS Director of Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion and a Principal with the firm, said, “If we want to create a more just, equitable, inclusive and diverse world, we have to recognize the impact that our footprint has on our environment.”

Operating as a carbon neutral business is an important way for HKS to embody the firm’s values, said Santos Rivera.

“You have to have your house in order,” she noted. “Your actions speak louder than words.”

“Operating as a carbon neutral business is an important way for HKS to embody the firm’s values.”

How Design Can Benefit from Indigenous Ways of Being and Doing

How Design Can Benefit from Indigenous Ways of Being and Doing

When I think about Environmental, Social, Governance in Design, or ESG in Design, I often consider the relationship of social constructs, identity and well-being. It is our responsibility as designers to understand how we can work with people in communities, empower them and help create places that support and reflect their lived experiences.

HKS recently invited architect and educator Wanda Dalla Costa to speak at our annual ESG in Design Celebration about her perspective on these ideas. Dalla Costa is the first, First Nation woman to become licensed to practice architecture in Canada and she founded Tawaw Architecture Collective, where she is a Principal. Dalla Costa holds a joint position at Arizona State University between The Design School as Institute Professor and the School of Construction as Associate Professor.

In a keynote address to HKS’ global studios, Dalla Costa shared how she works to uplift indigenous communities through participatory design. As HKS’ Global Director of Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, I was inspired by her messages and wanted to dig deeper. I invited her for a follow-up conversation to talk more about her work and discuss the values and shared goals we have for the design industries.

Yiselle Santos Rivera: Your design firm, Tawaw Architecture Collective, includes a staff of native designers and focuses on providing services with “Indigenous Ways of Being/Doing.” Can you talk about the impact this approach can have?

Wanda Dalla Costa: The fundamental shift we’re trying to accomplish is to increase spatial agency of our user groups. We’re also aiming to increase the accuracy and relevancy of design for people who are diverse. To bring indigenous ways of being and doing into a firm, it means you have to change the process. If you don’t change the process, you don’t change the product. Our process includes place-based research, community-led teaching, co-design and storytelling. We also focus on listening more than talking. When you do that, you get information on a wide variety of topics and perspectives that haven’t typically come into architecture lately. It’s about resurfacing the place for ancestral worldviews in contemporary society; and that’s an underexamined and understudied subject.

YSR: I love that you mention process. You’re shifting the mindset of two things — who is leading the conversation and how the conversation is being led. This can help us rethink how we put design teams together, what we do, and how we engage. You’ve also shared the philosophy and practice of “decentering self” in the design process. Can you elaborate on how that differs from dominant ways of working in architecture and how this can be a meaningful path forward for the design industries?

WDC: I think the metrics of success in architecture have typically been how many awards an architect receives, which are often judged by a homogenous and non-diverse group. That really negates the fact that all the voices count in this world. When you look at indigenous practices happening around the world, the decentering of self is about prioritizing the voice of the collective. Indigenous people have long practiced consensus-based decision making. The difference is that it’s not about what is best for us, but what’s best for the whole group. We don’t just think about the human group, we think about all living things. If we don’t all live together in harmony, then we all won’t survive. There’s a focus on the whole kingdom of nature that necessitates a shift away from the self toward a bigger collective.

YSR: It’s always been important, but right now it’s critical for us to think about the entire ecosystem and our place in it. I find the clarity of the language of “decentering” self extremely powerful, and I think it’s important we incorporate this language and ideology in our practice and processes. Your practice and process emphasize participatory design and research. At HKS, we believe that both are key parts of creating beneficial experiences for people in the places we design. How does leveraging both participatory design and research lead to stronger, more equitable outcomes?

WDC: The research and participatory side of this work is critical to jolt us out of limited outcomes. Our research covers many realms, and part of it focuses on making visible what is invisible. Many things are invisible in different cultures and we want to lift those up. I think invisible aspects of cultures worldwide are important because they have a broader system of measurement than what has been used in architecture. Research broadens how we measure design, and it brings science to it. Right now, I’m working with a researcher at ASU and we’re looking look at holistic measures of success. There are a host of factors that, together, make good space for human beings — social, psychological, spatial, cultural and spiritual factors.

Regarding participatory design — unless we begin to bring narratives that have not typically been captured in architecture, we will never see progress in the field. When we explore multiple diverse perspectives, it brings up whole new dialogues. I see this happening in indigenous design specifically. When we do place-based research and engagement, we come up with inspirations that are completely the opposite of what you would learn to be inspired by in design school. I think that will change outcomes in the whole field of architecture.

“Unless we begin to bring narratives that have not typically been captured in architecture, we will never see progress in the field.”

YSR: I relate to the idea of ‘making the invisible, visible’ very much. There’s a disconnect at many architecture firms in what Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion means to the work. Many people think it’s inward facing, but there is connection between our internal efforts and our project outcomes —what we’re delivering is not for us, it’s for other people. Some of your participatory work is with the Indigenous Design Collaborative, which you founded at ASU in 2016 and where multidisciplinary group of students and professionals work with tribal communities in Arizona to enhance the built environment. Can you talk about some of the discoveries you’ve made through this initiative?

WDC: What I was shocked at when I started the Indigenous Design Collaborative was the level of interest and how easily and quickly that idea became scalable. We now have calls from people who associate with the word ‘indigenous’ from Hawaii, South America, the Middle East, India and more. There are indigenous communities around the world identifying with what we’re teaching about, what we’re researching, and the mission of this work. I suspect that’s the biggest discovery — finding people with similar challenges to us. We’ve become a coalition of sorts where we’re all paying attention to what other groups are doing and seeing if our ideas have staying power.

YSR: You’ve talked about how Native cultures place value on giving to future generations. How do you see design playing a role in impacting future generations? How do you see these ideas and your leadership as an architect and educator supporting young people in the design industries?

WDC: Something that drives the design we do at the firm is reciprocity. With every project, we ask: how does this give back to the local community? If we can’t name how it gives back, then there is not enough reason for us to get involved. In my lectures, I often talk about Wakanda from the movie Black Panther. It is a place designed to honor worldviews, lifeways and identities of different cultures, which gives power to people who live there. It communicates the notion that you don’t have to live in a place that doesn’t represent you or where people don’t design like you or look like you — you can live in a place where your identity is reflected.

Another important aspect about giving back is being a role model for the up-and-coming generations. Not only do I want to create the worlds that they can see themselves in, but I want them to take the pen out of my hand. I want them take on this job and mission of uplifting all indigenous and diverse cultures. We start with indigenous cultures because there is a certain right we have with the land that we recognize, but I think that inclusivity permeates to all different nations and cultures across the globe.