Bohlin Cywinski Jackson has partnered with the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) to design its headquarters in San Francisco’s China Basin neighborhood. Located just across the AT&T park, the new 26,700 square foot space is intended to meet the organization’s unique needs in addressing national health issues and health policy and accommodate its various specialized functions including policy analysis and journalism and communications programs.

The design team transformed a former industrial warehouse along the waterfront, creating an open, airy headquarters with extraordinary views to San Francisco Bay and spaces for both collaborative and individual work. The inherent conflict between these two objectives informed the solution, which features clusters of glass-enclosed private offices strategically placed to feel private and inward-focused when seated at a desk, but transparent and open to daylight and views when moving around the office.

Upon entering the lobby, guests are greeted by a digital wall display that features the latest health news headlines. The display is incorporated into an illustrative healthcare history timeline exhibit, developed in collaboration with the client. These two elements—headlines and history—travel in parallel along the entry wall to be experienced simultaneously.

The design incorporates existing steel sash windows and exposed raw concrete columns with modern elements and a palette of reclaimed walnut, bronze, and teak. The materials were influenced by both the Foundation and the project surroundings. The walnut finishes were inspired by reclaimed walnut that was locally sourced from Californian walnut groves and the use of bronze and teak are drawn from the “liberty” transport ships which Henry J. Kaiser built in bay area shipyards. As a whole, the space is arranged to take advantage of the daylight along the perimeter. Offices and large meeting places are located immediately adjacent to the windows. Elements that do not require direct access to daylight such as the communal kitchen and pantry, copy and filing room, fitness room and small teaming areas are located toward the center. The conference center and board room are arranged as focal points within the space to take advantage of light and views of San Francisco Bay and Giants Stadium. The office is united by two large corridors running unobstructed the length of the space.

To support employee collaboration and connection, the kitchen and lunchroom are centrally located to create a hub for social interaction. The design team also carefully interwove gathering spaces of varying sizes and qualities among the private offices to create a flexible work environment. The seating areas along main interior corridors allow for opportunities to casually gather, while shared meeting rooms give board members, the media, or KFF’s Washington, D.C. colleagues a place to work during their stay.

At the heart of the office is a large multifunctional Conference Center space for events, which incorporates advanced acoustics, movable glass walls, flexible furniture, state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment, and food service support, providing KFF a dedicated place for internal workshops and presentations. The foundation also encourages outside organizations to use the space, free of charge, as part of their outreach to the community.

Bohlin Cywinski Jackson

Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, founded in 1965, is a national architecture practice noted for elegant and humane design, ranging from modest houses to large academic, civic, cultural and corporate buildings. To date, the firm has received more that 675 regional, national and international awards for design, including three AIA Top Ten Green Project Awards and the AIA Architecture Firm Award. Founding Principal Peter Bohlin was also awarded the AIA Gold Medal, the highest honor an individual architect can receive. The firm is well known for its work with Apple, designing stores such as the iconic Fifth Avenue cube in New York City and flagship stores worldwide. The practice has also created headquarters for Pixar, Adobe and Square, and city halls in Seattle, Newport Beach, CA. To learn more, visit

Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation 

KFF is a non-profit organization focusing on national health issues, as well as the U.S. role in global health policy. Unlike grant-making foundations, Kaiser develops and runs its own policy analysis, journalism and communications programs, sometimes in partnership with major news organizations.

KFF serves as a non-partisan source of facts, analysis and journalism for policymakers, the media, the health policy community and the public. Our product is information, always provided free of charge — from the most sophisticated policy research, to basic facts and numbers, to in depth health policy news coverage provided by our news service, KHN, to information young people can use to improve their health or the general public can use to understand the health reform law.

The modern day KFF was established in the early 1990s with its current mission and operating style.

It is not associated with Kaiser Permanente.

Media Contacts: Michelle DiLello