In The Media 12.16.2021

Design for Impact: Two of Our Projects Are Highlighted for Leading Positive Change in Sustainability and Human Health

Designs led to positive outcomes in energy reduction, carbon reduction, health, economy, and community

Metropolis’s new publication, Design for Impact, showcases how innovative architects and interior designers are working toward a goal of creating a healthy, just, and sustainable world. The University of Cincinnati Gardner Neuroscience Institute and University of Washington Life Sciences Building are highlighted as ‘Spaces for Learning.’ While dedicated to the education of their occupants, these buildings also offer insights into responsible design and construction. 

The University of Cincinnati Gardner Neuroscience Institute

UC Health’s new facility puts patients first, providing a new home for innovative care, education, and research for complex neurological conditions. Improving patient experience throughout was central to the new facility, and the building’s unique façade plays an important role in achieving this. The Institute’s exterior is made of a specialized polyester fiber mesh that prevents glare and visual disorientation, adding to the comfort level for neurological patients while allowing light to enter the interior. Each component of the design was developed with patient, family, and caregiver input. The team also drew on input from our Human Experience (Hx) Lab, which studies how specific design elements can help improve the human experience. This collaboration resulted in prioritizing views and soft, diffused daylighting, which provides a reduced-stress clinical environment and improved circadian exposure.

University of Washington Life Sciences Building

Guided by our firm’s principles of Living Design, which emphasize holistic human and planetary health, the Life Sciences Building’s positive energy impacts were integral to our team’s design approach and the occupant experience. The design embodies three core concepts—Science is a Gateway (Living Lab), Connections (Ecotone), and Engagement (Programming & Planning)—enhancing the building’s relationship to the campus, students, faculty, and environment. The building exceeds the AIA 2030 Challenge standards: It integrates custom solar glass fins in its curtain wall, with an innovative design that both shades the offices and generates 12,400 kWh of electricity while maintaining occupant views. The lobby’s interactive touchscreen compares the solar fins’ real-time performance with the rooftop solar panels, creating an educational living lab.

Read more in Metropolis's 'Design for Impact' book.