The client needed to build a cost-efficient project that met the stringent budgetary and design requirements set forth by Kaiser. Gordon H Chong & Partners provided programming, planning, and interior design for the new medical office building—the first to incorporate aspects of Kaiser's Template Hospital Project, a new program that establishes standardized models for design and construction of hospitals for the HMO. Our firm's response was an effective and efficient built environment that stayed within the client's guidelines. Our goal was to create a dynamic environment, intuitive wayfinding, and implementation of “healing environment” concepts.

As the core of the building began to take shape, design inspiration was taken from Folsom's best-known landmark, Folsom Lake. The city is also known for its quaint and historic commercial district, oak trees, rolling green hills in the spring, and laid-back pace. The result is a flowing, soft environment with gentle, gradual curves. The building design and essence of the space are based on multiple curved walls and soffits. These sweeping curves generate interest for patients while providing department separation.

Part of the color scheme and “theme” was inspired by the natural flora and fauna collected at the site before construction. Borrowing our palette from the surrounding golden hills, olive trees, sage-colored oaks, blue-gray granite, and even the red dirt, we brought the outside in—a design tool that also promotes the healing-environment concept. Sweeping views visible from each end of the building and the flow of color from exterior to interior, combined with the soft shape of the architecture, create a soothing healthcare experience.

Our goal was to create intuitive wayfinding instead of relying strictly on flooring graphics, accent walls, and other visual clues. This meant an open plan with departments that open up to elevator vestibules and allow views of every department on each floor by taking just a few steps to either the northern or southern half of the building. The facility includes a wide array of departments, including radiology, laboratories, a pharmacy, health education, women's health, pediatrics, mental health, occupational medicine, adult primary care, administration, ophthalmology, and optometry.

Project category: New construction (completed October 2002)

Chief administrator: Al Donald, Assistant Medical Group Administrator, (916) 784-5824

Firm: Gordon H Chong & Partners, (415) 433-0120

Design team: Jeff Warner, Partner; Jeff Farley, Project Manager; Tim Hernaez, Project Director

Photography: Brett Harper

Total building area (GSF): 116,000

Construction cost/sq. ft.: Not released

Total cost (excluding land): $17,000,000