Kaiser Permanente’s first medical office building in Berkeley, California, reflects its “Next Generation” in health care building design. The three-story, 60,670-square-foot Kaiser Permanente – East Bay Berkeley Medical Office Building uses technology and space to create an environment that offers patients, visitors and staff a calm, comforting, welcoming and supportive space. It also earned LEED® Gold certification standards of environmental and sustainable building through the U.S. Green Building Council and was recognized as a LEED Top Ten 2021 project.

San Francisco-based KMD Architects led the interior design and planning for the East Bay Berkeley Medical Office Building. KMD design professionals specified three types of Rockfon acoustic stone wool ceiling panels to help achieve the project’s aesthetic, performance and sustainable design goals. All Rockfon’s products on the project were supplied by Westside Building Material and installed by Spacetone Acoustics.

Acoustics are important in any environment and sound absorption plays a critical role in health care settings. Along with a calmer, quieter environment, acoustic comfort also is essential to privacy (HIPPA), and to clear communication between doctors and patients. This is especially important for patients who require assistance or interpretive services.

Acoustic standards for health care facilities also are detailed in LEED v4, the National Institute of Health (NIH) Design Requirements Manual, and The Facility Guidelines Institute (FGI), the health care industry’s authoritative source for guidance on facility planning, design and construction. Rockfon ceiling panels comply with all acoustic ceiling requirements in building standards, including those from the FGI, NIH and LEED.

Kaiser Permanente – East Bay Berkeley Medical Office Building

Berkeley, California
USA

The design of this building was guided by our
“Elements of the interior aesthetic were chosen because they evoke a feeling of comfort, creating an environment for exchange and dialogue. It is a great healing space...We have built-in rest and refresh spaces, so staff can take a break and regenerate. There are lots of large windows that provide wide, panoramic views of our beautiful Berkeley neighborhood.

Alvin Tang

MD, assistant physician-in-chief for Kaiser Permanente, East Bay

Sound absorption of ceiling panels is measured with Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC). Rockfon® Medical™ Plus and Alaska® acoustic stone wool ceiling panels have a high NRC of 0.90 for excellent sound absorption with a smooth, modern aesthetic. The Center for Health Design categorizes the use of high-performing, sound-absorptive, acoustic ceilings with an 0.90 NRC or higher as a priority design recommendation base on the strength of evidence available and the impact on safety, quality and cost.
Providing optimal acoustic performance with best-level sound absorption, KMD selected Rockfon Medical Plus acoustic stone wool ceiling panels for the patient exam rooms, where clear communication and privacy are essential to quality care. In spaces were conversation and concentration were needed – such as the lobbies, provider offices, staff refresh spaces and collaborative “touchdown” zone for the clinical team – KMD specified Rockfon Alaska acoustic stone wool ceiling panels.


For the East Bay Berkeley Medical Office Building’s hallways, waiting areas and other non-treatment multi-functional spaces, where a quieter environment is not critical, KMD chose products appropriate to the rooms’ uses. Rockfon Artic® ceiling panels, which have a 0.75 NRC, were installed.

This new facility will not only allow us to better care for our existing members, but will provide greater community access that is nestled in a well-established west Berkeley neighborhood. It will also allow us to grow and serve new members in the region.

Edmund D. Chan

senior vice president and area manager for Kaiser Permanente, East Bay

The white surface of Rockfon’s Medical Plus, Artic and Alaska stone wool panels provide high light reflectance. The higher the ceiling’s light reflectance, the more effective natural and electrical light sources are in illuminating the room. Along with the abundant daylight, LED lights were integrated within Rockfon’s Chicago Metallic® 4000 Tempra™ ceiling suspension system. Up to 86 percent of light is reflected and diffused by Rockfon’s ceiling panels in the East Bay Berkeley Medical Office Building. Diffused light reduces glare on screens and monitors, which in turn, reduces eye strain and stress-associated health issues, and contributes to clarity, accuracy and well-being.

Supporting healthy interior air quality, Rockfon stone wool products also have earned UL® GREENGUARD® Gold Certification for low chemical emissions. Gold-level certification considers safety factors to account for sensitive individuals, such as children, the elderly and those with compromised health. The benefit of GREENGUARD Gold-certified products are recognized by LEED v4 as contributing to indoor environment quality.

Rockfon Medical Plus, Artic and Alaska ceiling panels are manufactured with stone wool, a material produced from natural, abundant basalt rock and recycled content. Without the use of added chemicals, stone wool inherently resists fire, water, moisture, humidity and does not support mold, mildew or other potentially harmful microorganisms.

Rockfon Medical Plus ceiling panels also are resistant to Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA), and meet Bacteriological Class B1 and Clean Room Classification ISO Class 4. These stone wool panels can withstand the more rigorous cleaning standards often necessary in a health care setting.

Our member waiting area, called ‘the porch,’ leads directly into patient exam room areas. While this environment was designed to be calm and comfortable for our visitors, it also facilitates staff efficiency and collaboration...This evidence-based, integrated approach to health innovation supports better outcomes and focuses on four key areas: empowered member experience, personalized care, care setting redesign and community health.

Rita Ng

MD, physician in chief for Kaiser Permanente Medical Group, East Bay

Kaiser Permanente – East Bay Berkeley Medical Office Building

Location:Berkeley, California, United States
Architect:KMD Architects, San Fransico
Contractor:XL Construction Corporation; Nova Partners, Inc.; and Whiting-Turner
Installer:Spacetone Acoustics, Inc.
Photographer:©Michael O’Callahan
Tiles:Rockfon Alaska®, Rockfon Artic®, Rockfon® Medical™ Plus
Grids:Chicago Metallic® 4000 Tempra™ 9/16"