Challenge For the newly established Trauma Recovery and Rape Treatment Center, a University of California San Francisco project, the acquisition of an old timber-frame industrial building in the city's Potrero Hill district offered 11,000 unobstructed square feet that could be used for open and private offices, consultation rooms and support spaces. Budget limitations for all aspects of the project-lighting, furniture and construction-were set in advance of the design process. For Luminae Souter Associates, the architectural lighting firm on the project, the biggest challenge was meeting a not-for-profit budget ($1.80 per square foot for the lighting treatment), while maintaining quality and performance.
ARCHITECTURAL AND LIGHTING SOLUTION The San Francisco architectural firm SMWM designed the new interior. To lower costs, the central office space incorporates walls but not ceilings. Since the roof's peak is 26 feet high, a primary challenge was to brighten the dark space between the roof and the offices below. The ceiling was painted white and three small skylights were set along the ridge where exhaust fans had been removed. Indirect fluorescent fixtures placed above the perimeter walls uplight the ceiling and minimize the contrast between electric light sources and natural light from the skylights.
Sandblasted glass wall sconces with compact fluorescents provide general lighting throughout the central space and reception area, as well as in areas with low ceilings where pipes, ducts and other obstacles restricted the use of recessed lighting. The wall sconces add sparkle to the corridors, while a warm color temperature helps to calm patients. (Although most residential lighting is in the 2800K range, Luminae Souter selected 3000K fluorescent lamps because the color temperature suited an office environment but maintained a residential feel.) To avoid purchasing new fixtures for private offices, the existing indirect pendant fluorescent fixtures were removed, cleaned and lamped with recyclable T8 lamps. A track system with low-voltage MR16 halogen lamps lights art works and bookshelves in the open-office area. The lamps are cantilevered from a wall-mounted track and have an 11-1/2-inch curved stem for flexibility.
The most dramatic-even whimsical-fixtures are the 'gull wing' pendants that hang over the work area to provide both task lighting and uplighting. Dubbed the 'Jonathan Seagull' lights by the staff, one employee observed, 'They add an element of fun to the space. The reflectors move sightly with the air and look like a flock of birds flying through the room.'
Other than meeting California's Title 24 energy codes, there was no requirement to make this a 'green' design. Nevertheless, the project's fluorescent lamps are energy-efficient and designed to fulfill the criteria for classification as non-toxic wasters established by the Federal Toxic Characteristic Leaching Procedure. The specified lamps have a lower mercury content and are completely recyclable.
The eight windowless consultation rooms are perhaps most representative of lighting's role in the healing process. Designed and furnished to suggest domestic sitting rooms, the spaces include a dimmer that allows users to control the lighting level of the sconces. Recessed downlights were avoided because of their institutional associations; instead the rooms have appropriate table or floor lamps. Here, and throughout, the lighting design works to ameliorate both a potentially stressful environment and a tight budget. sally b. woodbridge