UCSF Nancy Friend Pritzker Psychiatry Building

San Francisco, CA

The UCSF Child, Teen, and Family Center and Department of Psychiatry Building brings together mental and physical healthcare for patients of all ages as well as collaborative research and clinical care all under one roof.

One of the project’s donors said of her previous experiences with mental health facilities: “Early on, I witnessed adult patients receiving the best of care, but I also saw traumatized children and teens who had a foreboding experience just navigating that same physical environment.” She saw young patients waiting for psychiatric care in spaces that were old, cramped, poorly lit, chaotic, and scary to children who had been previously traumatized.

A trauma-informed design approach was used to create a welcoming environment, especially for young visitors and families, where they can feel comfortable while receiving exceptional mental healthcare. Luminaires were carefully integrated into architectural elements to avoid direct view of light sources and used to highlight the architecture. To address budget requirements, the project uses a toolkit of luminaires with a similar language applied across the variety of spaces in a way that addressed the individual needs of users while appearing cohesive.

Throughout the space, cove uplighting at wooden ceilings helps balance daylight with interior electric illumination and define the architectural layers of the space. Color accentuates skylight baffles to promote wonder, relaxation, and wellness. Luminaires are concealed above accessible ceilings to allow ease of maintenance. In walkways, lighting concealed below the atrium’s glass railing at each floor delineates the walkway from the open space. In waiting spaces the lighting is intended to feature destination points throughout patient areas where they can have a moment of rest and respite.

The lighting controls use a combination of local controls for rooms where staff and researchers require individual adjustment and networked controls to address the need for automation, daylight harvesting, occupancy control, and load shed demand in select spaces. Daylight sensors are used throughout the five-story atrium to minimize energy use from electric lighting during the day, as well as along perimeter administrative areas, research areas, and exam rooms on the upper floors. A DMX/RDM system controls the color changing skylight feature and exterior entry sails at night to help inspire a sense of wonder.