Nature, daylight enhance hospital setting

A health care facility incorporates daylighting to enhance patient wellness.


Advocate Illinois Masonic Center for Advanced Care (CAC) is located within the Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center campus in Chicago’s Lake View community. This 162,000-gross-sq-ft addition is under construction and pursing LEED Silver. The CAC is a state-of-the-art outpatient facility dedicated to ambulatory surgery, digestive health, and cancer care. Ownership and the design team strived to create a space that supports and interacts with the surrounding community.

Enhanced daylighting and daylight harvesting are two of the innovative design techniques. One of the programmatic goals for the project was to bring nature and daylight in to enhance the patient experience. Acting as more than simple visual architectural elements, the building’s external sun shades, tuned to the solar cycle of the Chicago area, maximize the optical qualities of daylight while minimizing the thermal load of the sun. The curvilinear forms reduce incident solar radiation, direct solar heat gain, and reduce glare while simultaneously reinforcing the architecture. Equally important is how the building and its systems interact within the community context. Energy efficiency is dramatically increased while light trespass is negated through the design team’s careful selection of all LED exterior luminaires.

The building’s entrance lobby and “main street” corridor are grand, voluminous spaces, yet architectural forms create interactive spaces that bring an intimate, human scale to a large space. LED downlights, uplights, and slots, as well as fluorescent coves and grazers, subtly highlight surfaces and planes. A 0 to 10 V network dimming control system with software front-end is employed to manage the lighting within these areas. Dimming daylight sensors balance motorized shades with luminaires to provide appropriate light levels and minimize glare.

Novel solutions were implemented within the building to enrich otherwise potentially dark spaces; a light scoop over a nurse station, for example, bounces natural light from glazing above perimeter patient rooms into the building interior.. During evening hours this scoop is vertically illuminated via integrated cove lighting.

A notable decrease in cost of ambient LED luminaires during the design phase resulted in a switch to LED (initially fluorescent 2x2-ft and 2x4-ft) in the addition (as well as campus wide), further reducing the already low lighting power density.

The team followed IECC 2012 to meet energy code; however, in pursuit of LEED for Healthcare 2009, all considerations of ASHRAE 90.1-2007 also were implemented. The total lighting power density is approximately 0.75 W/sq ft, allowing this project to achieve nearly 40% better performance than IECC 2012 minimum.

Furthermore, the project was created using an integrated project design (IPD) approach. This methodology partners the design and construction teams from the onset, enhancing communication and efficiency and optimizing the design and construction over the project’s duration. Design charettes between all parties generated interactive discussions on programmatic goals and budget restrictions. This high level of collaboration led the way to the creation of an on-budget, sustainable environment that supports and enhances health and wellness.



Shanna Olson is Senior Lighting Designer for KJWW Engineering Consultants. She is NCQLP certified and experienced in creating lighting designs for municipal, health care, educational, commercial, and residential clients. 

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