Who she is: With a background in industrial design and cross-market experience ranging from education to corporate to retail and science design, Amy Sickeler, ASID, IIDA, AAHID, LEED AP, brings a holistic viewpoint to her role at Perkins and Will. She’s known for partnering with clients and leading teams in the creation of compassionate, healing spaces that blend research and design theory with health, functionality, aesthetics, and performance. As principal in the Atlanta office, she serves as interior design director for all healthcare projects, while also recruiting new hires, mentoring staff members, and marketing the firm.

Year in review: Dubbed in her awards nomination “a quintessential project embodying Amy’s leadership” is the University of Cincinnati Gardner Neuroscience Institute in Cincinnati. The project—a treatment, research, and teaching center for neurological patients that emphasizes holistic well-being and hospitality—was inspired by patient, family, and caregiver input regarding desired solutions. The intent was to create an environment that would feel like a home away from home for patients while also offering them a space to learn more about their conditions and connect with peers. Every detail was designed with patients in mind, too, such as acoustically sealed walls, doors that ensure minimal disruption to those with auditory sensitivities, and diffused light for patients with mood and memory disorders. Sickeler also led the interior design process for the Piedmont Wellness Center at Pinewood Forest in Fayetteville, Ga., which supports community wellness through team-based rehabilitation and ongoing care. This project—and its design—work to reinforce the seven dimensions of wellness: physical, emotional, occupational, spiritual, intellectual, environmental, and social purpose. This was achieved by introducing elements such as daylighting and access to fresh air as well as concepts of providing opportunities for education and finding joy in daily routine. Finally, Sickeler also contributed to a pro-bono design effort for Georgia Center for Child Advocacy, a Perkins and Will social responsibility initiative, which supports children who are victims of violence and abuse. For this project, Sickeler directed the design intent, such as planning an active corridor: a space intended to uplift a child, through art, teddy bear gifts, and more, after meeting with a counselor or law enforcement official.

Industry impact: Sickeler’s recent projects demonstrate how her unique professional background serves the field of healthcare design. For example, the Gardner Neuroscience Institute project was inspired by her higher education work where small group education zones are utilized, resulting in similar elements delivered to help the institute realize its dream of allowing patients to learn about their diseases within the building. To that end, she created learning-focused waiting areas, or what she describes as “engaged waiting” spaces. Additionally, her corporate design experience inspired the concept of quick, adaptable private and collaborative work zones that she’s applied to the physician workplace for Mayo Clinic. She’s adept at taking best practices across design sectors to shape the future of healthcare design, delivering solutions that ultimately support goals for human health.