Case Study - HKS Chicago Living Lab
Health and Wellbeing
Buildings or projects that display best practice approaches that enhance the health and wellbeing of their occupants, and as such have been verified and certified as "healthy" projects.
This project—our office, which we call the Living Lab—is located within a Daniel Burnham-designed building in the heart of the Loop. Our design reflects our belief that architecture should foster well-being, spark creativity and conserve natural resources. In crafting our vision, we were inspired by the Plan of Chicago. Our combined reception and large conference room is known as The Plaza, welcoming guests with a place to gather. Our large multipurpose room is known as The Park because it is where our people gather to play, literally and figuratively, at a Ping-Pong table, café, maker space and materials library. Environmental graphics throughout the Living Lab recall Midwestern landscapes, from dawn over Lake Michigan to midday over an Illinois wheat field.
Our Living Lab enables us to calibrate and improve our design. We track environmental conditions with sensors, survey employees to assess their health and well-being, monitor energy use with a dashboard, and assess how we use our space with behavior mapping.
Our design addresses the ever-changing aspects of architecture. It reflects our solution-seeking work culture by incorporating research and measured evaluation to learn from our designs, improving as we go. Our results? We’ve realized a 60% reduction in energy costs to operate, improved the quality of our air and water, and our people report greater sleep satisfaction.
Our Living Lab attracted more than 2,500 visitors in our first year, significant for a firm building its brand. The interiors office project is an embodiment of the architecture & design firm’s beliefs. The office celebrates that design can promote better health for employees, its collaborators and the environment. The office was relocated to the National Building a historical/landmarked building that brought challenges during design and required the team to think beyond traditional systems. The achievement of our declared performance criteria is summarized by ENERGY, COMMUNITY CONNECTIVITY, WATER, MATERIALS, and SUSTAINABLE DESIGN INTENT AND INNOVATION."The office celebrates that design can promote better health for employees, its collaborators and the environment. "