Architecture That Heals

Fast Company’s recent article “The Best New Health Care Design Borrows An Old Healing Technique: Plants” marks an increase in architectural designs incorporating biophilia, or designs that connect people to nature. In the article two different ZGF designs —Seattle Children’s, South Clinic and The University of Arizona Cancer Center at Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center—are highlighted for their healing biophilic use. Although the ZGF healthcare facilities address different medical issues, both projects provide patients with access to nearby “healing gardens.” By honoring the 2016 AIA Academy of Architecture for National Healthcare Design award winners, Fast Company recognizes the power of nature in design.


Building Design + Construction Discusses ZGF’s Circadian Lighting Design and BIM Energy Modeling

ZGF’s circadian lighting design and BIM energy modeling tools provide greater precision and fidelity, elevating the conventions of these design strategies. Building Design + Construction discusses them in its coverage of wellness and technology in the 2016 BD+C Giants 300 Green Report, featuring ZGF Sustainable Designer Ed Clark (pg. 44). As the article notes, “ZGF has teamed up with researchers at the University of Washington on Lark Spectral Lighting. The tool allows designers to use spectral data to define how the quality of light impacts not only a physical space, but also the occupants. The color and quality of light affect humans’ circadian rhythms, sleeping patterns, and alertness, which can impact employee productivity.”

Additionally, ZGF is pleased to again be cited among the Top 10 Architecture Firms in the BD+C Giants 300 Survey (page 21).


Green Materials

Trim Tab is the International Living Future Institute‘s robust storytelling platform—an ever-evolving encyclopedia of design strategies and aspirational anecdotes for sustainable communities. Today Trim Tab’s article “10 Organizations that are Demanding Healthy Materials” named ZGF as an example of an “industry disrupter” that will be presenting at the upcoming Living Product Expo.

As mentioned within the article, “if a consumer was posed with the choice between a product that contains toxins or a comparable nontoxic product, one would imagine that the consumer would clearly choose the latter. Historically, chemical-free alternatives were not largely available, but recently, consumers are gaining ever-growing access to healthier options. Companies are learning that manufacturing healthy products is indeed marketable, cost effective, and a smart business practice.”

Given our commitment to sustainable design, we at ZGF are proud to be named among the pioneers forging a way toward a healthy materials economy.


“Why Light Matters: Designing with Circadian Health in Mind,” Metropolis magazine

Science now backs up what Florence Nightingale understood about daylighting: it boosts healing and improves our well being. Today, ZGF leverages that science to create biophilic lighting design that strategically supports circadian rhythms. Metropolis magazine’s article “Why Light Matters: Designing with Circadian Health in Mind” covers our six principles of circadian lighting and the open-source tool, Lark Spectral Lighting, which we created with the University of Washington. Designers can now use this tool to create spaces—from hospitals to offices —that support our greater health.


mindful Materials

ZGF is pleased to be a partner of mindful MATERIALS, a single-source library for transparency in building materials, that launches nationally today at NeoCon. According to their website, “mindful MATERIALS is a design industry initiative that provides a common platform for manufacturers to clearly communicate transparency and optimization information for their building products.” The company was founded “on the premise that a unified request for transparency information from manufacturers would be more effective in fostering change in the market.”

Given ZGF’s continued dedication to sustainability in design and intrinsic care for the impact of the built environment upon human health and communities as a whole, we are proud to support the mission of the mindful MATERIALS library.


Lighting Supports Our Rhythms

How can lighting design support your circadian rhythm? Our bodies operate on a 24 hour clock, shifting between periods of wakefulness and sleep set by an alerting signal which responds to our daily light intake. At first, only Earth’s rotation determined our light exposure. Then the discovery of fire sparked centuries of lighting innovation leading to the present where we have continuous access to lighting of varying intensity and color. But getting the wrong light at the wrong time can cause significant shifts to our internal clocks, or circadian rhythms.

At the Canada Green Building Council’s Building Lasting Change 2016, Ed Clark and Marty Brennan discussed circadian design techniques and ZGF’s new open-source lighting design tool that supports greater health, well being, and healing.


Virtual Reality Hackathon

ZGF’s Simon Manning and Dane Stokes helped design Revolvr—a virtual reality spatial puzzle—that took Gold for Interaction Design at the VR Hackathon in Seattle. Simon and Dane were inspired by “360 photo-spheres and how they could be interacted with in an immersive 3D environment. This led us to think about traditional jigsaw puzzles and how we could manipulate them in new ways.” You can play Revolvr Fall 2016, when it’s scheduled for public release. Click here to check out this video about the game, which tests and strengthens spatial reasoning.


ZGF Panel Featured in Metropolis Think Tank Series

On October 14, 2015, Metropolis magazine publisher and editor-in-chief Susan S. Szenasy led a panel at ZGF’s Seattle office as part of the Metropolis Think Tank series discussing the benefits of circadian lighting strategies for workplace and health care facilities. An edited transcript of the conversation is now available at the Point of View section of the Metropolis website.

The panel featured ZGF designers Mark Gesinger and Kari Thorsen alongside Lisa Reitzes and Susan Geiduschek of ZGF client Seattle Children’s Hospital, as well as ZGF research collaborators Dr. Judith Heerwagen of the U.S. General Services Administration and Dr. Mehlika Inanici of the University of Washington. The presentation also included ZGF designer Ed Clark and architect Marty Brennan, who discussed their circadian research and the application of Lark, an open source software plug-in collaboratively designed by the UW and ZGF. The program allows designers to control the color and intensity of light from spectral data to inform environmental design that supports inhabitants’ healthy circadian rhythms. Studies show that circadian health improves productivity, increases rates of healing, and suppots overall well being.


ZGF and the University of Washington Present Research on Circadian Lighting at 2015 IBPSA Conference

In December 2015, ZGF architect Marty Brennan and The University of Washington’s Dr. Mehlika Inanici traveled to Hyderabad, India to present their paper, co-authored with ZGF designer Ed Clark, at the 2015 International Building Performance Simulation Association (IBPSA) Conference. The paper “Spectral Lighting Simulations: Computing Circadian Light” discusses the principles of defining and analyzing circadian light and how good design can support building inhabitants’ healthy circadian rhythms. Healthy circadian function can actively improve well-being, overall health, rates of healing and workplace productivity. Their paper’s abstract offers further detail:

“Recent studies have demonstrated that the spectral content of light at typical interior daylight levels affects human circadian rhythms. Lighting simulation tools are developed, used, and validated mainly for computing the visual aspects of lighting. This paper demonstrates utilization of a multi-spectral simulation method that can be employed to design and analyze circadian lighting in built environments. The methodology is context-based, allowing the researchers and designers to consider local skies, exterior context, glazing optics, surface materials, interior design, and viewer location.”

The paper, now available online, also presents the benefits of Lark Spectral Lighting, an open source software plug-in collaboratively authored by ZGF and the University of Washington. Lark is a tool that helps architects and designers create spaces that actively support circadian rhythms by computing circadian light as part of the design process. For a quick overview on Lark and circadian lighting check out this video.


Circadian Light Analysis—Design Tools to Support a New Lighting Design Paradigm

Lark Spectral Lighting, a collaboration between ZGF and the University of Washington, is a new plugin for Grasshopper that helps architects, lighting designers, and researchers investigate circadian light metrics within a daylighting workflow. Lark allows designers to define the color of skies, glazing, and building materials based on spectral data. Furthermore, luminance renderings and irradiance data can be used to analyze the relative impact of design options on the non-visual, circadian system. This open source tool enables architects to optimize lighting, materiality, and view based on human circadian response metrics for improved sleep, stress management, alertness and productivity.

At the 14th International Conference of International Building Performance Simulation Association in Hyderabad, India, Dr. Mehlika Inanici and ZGF Architect Martin Brennan presented a research paper co-written with ZGF Architect Ed Clark, titled Spectral Daylighting Simulations: Computing Circadian Light.