Health and Wellness Design for a College of Health Sciences

Patrick Murphy, Vanderweil Engineers
Martin Lu, HGA

The design team for Lehigh University's forthcoming 189,000 SF Health Science Technology Building (HST) sensed an opportunity to unify the mission and values of the new College of Health with a human-centric design. The story of Lehigh's HST project is one of the design team and the university planning team incorporating the fundamental concepts of design for wellness from the beginning of the project, and alignment with the new college and dean for the final push to make a real impact on the experience of working in this facility. As a result, the project design incorporated biophilic design; active design; strategic daylighting and views; and highly efficient and comfortable mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) systems to go beyond the initial goal for at least a LEED Silver certification to a design targeting both LEED Gold and Fitwel Three-Star certifications.

This advanced session will focus on the strategies to improve the health and wellness of research facility occupants through both design and policies, and how to manage a team around those goals. Presenters will share their experience in how to incorporate wellness design through key, timely, cost-effective decisions, and show how these strategies can be used not just for health science research projects, but for any project trying to achieve lofty goals with budget, operational or other constraints.

Learning Objectives

  • Recognize the impacts, importance, and opportunities for wellness design strategies in research laboratory environments;
  • Identify and apply sustainable wellness design strategies to enhanced occupant well-being and recruit students and researchers;
  • Synergize laboratory building design strategies with the mission and values of the owner and researchers, as well as identify fundraising opportunities to enhance the design; and
  • Collaborate with designers, owners, operations staff, and end users to develop both design and policies towards a wellness design certification.


As Director of Sustainable Design for Vanderweil Engineers, Patrick is leveraging his background as an architectural engineer and experience in sustainable, integrated, and innovative building design to inform designs through rigorous energy and water analysis. Several of Patrick's award-winning designs have achieved LEED Platinum and net zero.

Martin is an accomplished Architect and Project Manager with HGA, and has broad experience in all phases of project delivery from planning/programming through construction. Over 12 years, Martin has worked closely with clients on sustainable capital research facilities, driving consensus to reinforce their cultural, campus, and community goals.


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