Rainier Beach Clinic
Category: Built- Less than $25 million (construction cost)
This project arose from Northwest Kidney Center's desire to upend treatment standards for the nearly 500,000 Americans living with chronic kidney disease. Across America, patients often must spend up to 16 hours each week undergoing life-sustaining dialysis in crowded and institutional outpatient clinics. To revolutionize this area of care, Northwest Kidney Centers selected Seattle's Rainier Beach neighborhood, an area disproportionately affected by kidney disease, to demonstrate a more humanized form of dialysis care.
The new 12,000-square-foot clinic is tucked into the burgeoning and diverse neighborhood, delivering critical care to more than 100 dialysis patients living within a mile. Before the clinic opened, those patients would often commute up to two hours to the closest clinic in downtown Seattle.
“This small project takes a significant step in addressing local needs that are of global concern” - Jury comment
After reviewing patient surveys, clinical observations, and existing medical literature, the design team embraced the hypothesis that direct connections with nature can bolster both patient participation and staff presence. By following this evidence-based approach, the team arrived at a unique clinic layout that offers all patients equitable views of garden courtyards while still maintaining the necessary strict requirements for patient care team ratios and sightlines. Overall, the center's interwoven biophilic design strategies have shaped an immersive and therapeutic environment.
“This small project takes a significant step in addressing local needs that are of global concern,” said the jury. “Its focus on biophilic design has led to an enhanced dialysis experience through a simple yet profound plan solution providing access to natural light and views.”
“Its focus on biophilic design has led to an enhanced dialysis experience through a simple yet profound plan solution providing access to natural light and views.” Jury comment
Inside, all patients are provided refuge with solid walls at their backs as they look out onto native landscapes. Windows in each patient room offers views of seasonally dynamic plantings and ample daylight that helps anchor circadian rhythms. The opportunity to view the movement of birds and pollinators also serves as a welcome distraction and stress reducer for patients during their treatment. Throughout, the team relied on a palette of natural and warm materials to eschew the institutional feel of typical dialysis clinics.
Much like the standard of care it provides, the clinic has also radically transformed the urban site it occupies. Previously, the site was a storage yard for tires and derelict vehicles. The clinic's new internal and external courtyards have restored the natural habitat while connecting it to some of Seattle's existing greenbelts. All stormwater is managed on-site through two biofiltration swales planted with bulrush and sedge, only visible to patients and staff.