Hope and tranquility permeate the D'amour Center for Cancer Care in Springfield, Massachusetts, largely owing to the interaction of a handsome architectural plan and a beautifully designed lighting scheme. The 64,000-square-foot, three-story building is the product of a dedicated team that included not only the Boston-based firm Steffian Bradley Architects (responsible for the architectural, lighting and interior design), but cancer survivors and activists, medical staff, and hospital administrators. Together these visionaries have created a space that brings notes of optimism and life to the foreground, dispatching clinical elements to the background.

Daylight plays an extensive role in establishing this atmosphere. Enrique Rojas, senior associate at Steffian Bradley and the lighting designer on the project, makes the incorporation of this natural resource a priority in his work: 'Whenever possible, I look into the possibility of using daylighting before thinking about the artificial lighting. Once a decision is made to use daylighting the luminance ratios become very important and that affects the way you apply artificial lighting.' This appreciation for daylight was shared by the entire team on the D'Amour Center. The building has a 178-foot-by-173-foot floor plate, with an atrium located in the middle. 'Sixty feet is about the maximum distance we could go without windows,' says Rojas, 'which led to the skylight.' The building is halved, east to west, by a south-facing, curved, fritted-glass skylight that morphs at the southwest corner into the center's two-story glazed entrance. Decorating the north side of the curving atrium, from the first to the third floor, is an element the design team called the 'living wall': A surface of overlapping cherry panels reflects the sun's course throughout the day, creating a pattern of light and shadow on the warm-colored wood that Rojas describes as 'ever-changing.'

Transparent and semitransparent surfaces invite daylighting further into the interiors: The third-floor conference rooms capture light through windows that overlook the atrium; 10-inch-deep vertical aluminum framing acts as a baffle, limiting glare from the skylight. A 4-foot-wide, 72-foot-long structural-glass slot in the first-floor ceiling connects an otherwise windowless waiting area to the sunshine above. Following the skylight's curve, the diffuse glass maintains visual and acoustic privacy.

The electric lighting pays respectful attention to the architectural details. Regarding his general approach to design, Rojas explains, 'Once I've filled the general code requirements and light levels, I look at how to reinforce the architectural features, so that the lighting doesn't conflict with the design intent.' To this end, Rojas is careful to keep unsightly equipment out of view. At D'Amour, much of the hardware is hidden in the architectural details. Around the glass slot between the first and second floor, custom-fabricated shrouds disguise the F40 biax asymmetric-distribution uplights. In the corridors, where patients are often transported in a reclined position, high-CRI biax fluorescents in curved coves and T8s in straight coves provide comforting, glare-free light levels; artistic panels featuring natural elements such as ferns are backlit with fluorescent sources to decorate as well as illuminate the space.

Exam and treatment spaces incorporate multiple light layers to meet the needs of medical staff and patients. Much about D'Amour is designed with a patient-focused perspective-down to the subtlest detail. From the lobby, for example, the curve of the 'living wall' prevents one from seeing the end, an architectural tip-of-the-hat to the power of hope. A|L


project D'Amour Center for Cancer Care, Springfield, Massachusetts

lighting design Steffian Bradley Architects, Boston

architecture / interior design Steffian Bradley Architects

general contractor George B.H. Macomber Company, Boston

structural engineer McNamara/Salvia, Boston

electrical engineer AHA Consulting Engineers, Lexington, Massachusetts

photographer Robert Benson Photography, Hartford

project size 64,000 square feet

watts per square foot 1.28

installation cost $675,000 (includes lighting control system)

manufacturers Bega, Belfer, Edison Price, Elliptipar, Erco, Iris, LC&D, Lumiere,

Peerless, Renova, Selux, Tech Lighting, Zumtobel

please visit archlighting.com for full specification information.