In this column, Healthcare Design asks design professionals to share a recent project their firm has completed for another sector that might inspire similar solutions in healthcare. Here, Jim Henry, senior vice president and health practice leader at CallisonRTKL, discusses how integrating wellness-focused features for a workplace client can inspire widespread adoption for clinical environments.

Some aspects of evidence-based design have found their way into the workplace, as we’re seeing a focus on employee wellness through biophilic design, access to natural light, and physical connection to the outdoors. The WELL Building Standard, a global rating system established by the International Well Building Institute that’s focused on the ways buildings and everything in them affect health and wellness, wasn’t created only for workplace, but it seems that sector was the quickest to adopt its principles.

We believe the idea of leveraging the “mind, body, spirit” approach to design by not just focusing on physical health but holistic, integrative health is an idea that healthcare facilities haven’t quite grasped yet. Incorporating design elements that improve the mental and spiritual well-being of patients, visitors, and staff is something that we as healthcare designers have been working to implement in order to increase satisfaction and productivity levels.

We’ve been inspired by the recently opened Capital One Headquarters in Tysons, Va., with interiors designed by CallisonRTKL’s workplace group, as a representation of how these principles can and should be integrated through fitness offerings, purposeful movement, and redefined nourishment:

• Fitness: The facility integrates fitness into staff workspace with a multilevel fitness center and basketball court.

• Movement: The design integrates purposeful movement to accelerate communication with integrated healthy stair placement.

• Nourishment: The traditional cafeteria is given a new spin with a market-style food hall offering various healthy and high-quality food options that can appeal to a larger audience.

Jim Henry, senior vice president and health practice leader, CallisonRTKL (Dallas).

Interested in sharing a Design Inspiration with Healthcare Design? Email Executive Editor Anne DiNardo at for submission guidelines.