Design Detail/Other – Honorable Mention

HopeWay Foundation – Circadian Design

Charlotte, NC

Perkins+Will

Lisa Gorman, Kevin Turner, Irene Vogelsong


The recent affordability of LED lighting has opened up new frontiers in architectural design.  Scientists have long been aware of the adverse health effects associated with disruptions to our bodies’ natural circadian rhythm.  Now, designer have tools to address this to the benefit of building occupants.  The lighting design of the HopeWay Foundation’s mental health treatment center in Charlotte NC adapts the opportunities presented by LED lighting technology and the knowledge held by neuroscientists.

The new facility was a renovation of an existing 52,000SF school to provide inpatient and outpatient services, and took a dark, and disorienting existing interior space, converting it into a daylight filled and calming environment.  Designing for the wellness of the building’s inhabitants meant designing around physical, mental, and behavioral changes that follow a roughly 24-hour cycle.  With circadian rhythms in mind, wellbeing design responds primarily to light and darkness in an organism’s environment, in this case, the built environment.

The design team worked with neurophysiologist, Dr. Eve Edelstein to carefully design lighting that would enhance and support natural circadian rhythms, which is particularly important for the residential clients who will spend most of their time in the same building. The same level of thought went into the careful design of each interior living space.

To support these concepts, diagrams were created showing patient activity in different zones throughout the day.  Next circadian lighting research was applied to the layering of artificial light throughout these different zones.

Judges Comments:

“Balance of coloration lighting is strong with architecture & furniture elements. Presentation & graphics tell a complete story.”

(Lisa Gorman)