Competition Background

Searching for the brightest ideas in health care design and delivery, Kaiser Permanente launched the Small Hospital, Big Idea design competition Feb. 28, inviting students, architects, engineers, designers, and teams of multidisciplinary thinkers everywhere to conceptualize new ways to deliver high-quality health care.

The competition seeks design concepts for a small, eco-conscious, patient- and family-friendly hospital that uses the best in emerging medical technology to coordinate and deliver care to Kaiser Permanente members.

The small hospital is a departure for Kaiser Permanente, whose unique integrated model of care typically demands a large medical campus with a hospital and supporting outpatient medical office buildings. As the organization's membership grows and demographics change, the small hospital design will serve as a model allowing more access to convenient, safe, and quality health care.

Kaiser Permanente Southern California President Benjamin Chu, MD, said "We are not just looking for dynamic building designs. We want a partner with fresh ideas on how technology and medicine can reshape our current medical delivery infrastructure to provide even more exceptional, effective, and convenient care to our members."

Kaiser Permanente's model is built with both people and the environment in mind with an emphasis on total health and patient empowerment. The winning small hospital design will provide a patient-centered healing environment that has near-zero impact on the environment while providing access to the latest technology to improve quality and reduce costs.

This is the first hospital design competition for Kaiser Permanente. And it's been a huge success.

When registration for the competition closed March 21, more than 300 teams from 32 countries around the world had registered.

Submittals were due at 5 p.m. PDT, April 18, by which time the Small Hospital, Big Idea Competition had received 108 design proposals from architects, design firms, students, health care companies, and engineering and construction firms from throughout the U.S. and the world. Submittals came from such countries as Canada, Italy, Brazil, Netherlands, Iceland, Mexico, and the UK.

A multidisciplinary team of Kaiser Permanente employees, including nurses, physicians, planners, hospital administrators, construction managers, architects, and engineers, met May 3 through May 5 for a rigorous grading process, out of which the best 18 proposals emerged.

Using the same grading process, the competition advisory committee later shortlisted their top proposals. The shortlist presents to the jury panel May 25 and May 26 in San Diego. Kaiser Permanente will announce up to three Stage 1 competition finalists May 31, at which date Stage 2 design begins.