HKS’ Atlanta Office Design Reimagines the Future of Work

HKS’ Atlanta Office Design Reimagines the Future of Work

What is the office for?

This important question is a driving force behind the new Atlanta office of global design firm HKS.

Responding to the extraordinary shift toward hybrid work worldwide, HKS looked to its own real estate portfolio and employees’ evolving needs to reimagine the future of work. Located in Atlanta’s Buckhead neighborhood, the office is the first of several at HKS to undergo a holistic real estate analysis and commercial interior design process targeted at creating and implementing innovative post-pandemic workplace strategies.

The project began when the HKS Atlanta team identified a need to relocate from Downtown Atlanta. Surveys and strategy workshops — led by HKS’ real estate experts, designers and researchers — revealed that employees desired an office central to where they lived, closer to their local client base and in a community where they aspired to build more connections.

The team determined the ideal setting would be located along a major thoroughfare, Peachtree Road, and situated within the Atlanta tree canopy with views across the city. With these criteria in mind, the team worked with an existing real estate client to lease a 9,800-square-foot space in Buckhead.

A Connected, Choice-Driven Environment

When designing the new space, HKS dove deeper into this central question: what is the office for? Collaborative visioning sessions resulted in a shared ideal: the office is not just for work or productivity — it is for people. This workspace would be for HKS employees, clients and community partners. 

Designed with a vision to “mirror the city,” the HKS Atlanta office accommodates a contemporary hybrid workforce and invites community members in for engagement gatherings, workshops and events.

“We were thinking about a holistic work environment where we come together to create, collaborate, meet with clients and produce and deliver our work,” said HKS Atlanta Office Director Julie Volosin. “We host a lot of client meetings, tours, industry events and gatherings here in the office. It’s a wonderful opportunity for us to share what we’re doing to push the limits of innovative workspace design.”

The design team conducted surveys, work sessions and interviews with HKS Atlanta staff members, analyzed workplace data and ultimately devoted a significant portion of the new space to collaboration, less to private workstations.

The new workplace features an “idea theater” for creative work sessions and events, “rapid ops” rooms for project teams on deadline and havens where colleagues can work or take breaks, which HKS’ industry-leading research on brain health shows are critical to well-being and performance.

The design draws on HKS research about effective work ecosystems and provides several types of environments employees can choose from to accomplish their best work.

“For a creative field, it matters that we can change our ambience very quickly and really leverage it to bring our creative solutions,” said Sheba Ross, HKS Global Practice Director, Cities and Communities, who is based in Atlanta. “The fact that reflection and very vibrant collaboration can coexist is something that is a differentiator at the Atlanta office.”

With digital equity and sensory comfort as key design drivers, the space ensures a connected, accessible working experience for all team members and external collaborators.

“If there’s anything the past few years taught us, it’s that we need community. And one of the benefits of the new HKS Atlanta office is that it creates community in different ways,” said Ross. “Our spaces are multipurpose. You could bring in a team and have a huddle together while also engaging with an online group. All our technology has been set up in a way that allows seamless collaboration.”

Ethan Hopkins, Job Captain, HKS Atlanta, said that having a choice of work environments helps learning and mentorship come naturally in the office.

“Every day that I come in, it’s just a different experience because of different individuals that I sit next to. I don’t just learn what they’re working on, but who they are a little bit better,” Hopkins said.

Measurable ESG Impact

The new HKS Atlanta office is much more than an innovative commercial workplace design that prioritizes employee choice and community connection. It is the product of a well-designed real estate process with tangible connections to business objectives and Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) goals.

The square footage of the new office is 38% less than that of the previous office, enabling HKS Atlanta to redirect financial resources towards engaging talent, developing business market growth and strengthening social impact projects.

With a 60% Average Daily Occupancy program and planning approach, the space can support large fluctuations in headcount within an efficient office footprint. The office has supported growth from 55 full-time employees (FTEs) to 85 FTEs, decreasing the rentable square footage per FTE from 178 to 115.

“Through studying how we work and monitoring our work patterns, we’ve reduced our real estate footprint. That saves us significant real estate costs long term,” Volosin said.

A life cycle analysis of the project revealed the office design has a 23% lower embodied carbon footprint compared to other office spaces in a benchmarking study conducted by the Oakland, California-based Carbon Leadership Forum. The HKS Atlanta office incorporates high-performance systems and healthy materials to reduce carbon footprint and improve employee well-being, and the firm is pursuing LEED Platinum and WELL Platinum certifications for the space. HKS is also pursuing a Brain Health certification for the office, which will set a new measurable standard for workplaces the firm creates for itself and clients in the future.

The design’s emphasis on supporting people is underpinned by a commitment to Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (J.E.D.I.) in HKS policies and programming. Since opening, the Atlanta office has attracted new, diverse talent; 50% of new hires based in Atlanta over the last year identified as a minority and the office has risen to the third highest firmwide for the number of languages spoken.

The surge in multicultural representation in the Atlanta office has led to new market revenue streams and advanced the office’s Citizen HKS public interest design programs that help develop vibrant, socially equitable neighborhoods.

According to Ross a multicultural, multigenerational, multidisciplinary staff ensures projects are considered from a variety of perspectives.

“It’s our ability to listen and adapt and connect the dots that makes the difference,” she said.

The HKS Atlanta office is a model for resilience in office development and design, a necessity in today’s ever-changing landscape of work. It exemplifies that an innovative design process that includes people from all levels of an organization can contribute to business goals, create connections across boundaries and even help answer profound questions like “what is the office for?”

Based on the success of the Atlanta workplace, the firm has implemented similar solutions in the real estate and design process for new HKS offices in Phoenix, Salt Lake City, New York City and Washington D.C., with more to come.

Volosin said HKS Atlanta staff continue to discover new ways to use their prototypical workplace and they’re eager to share what they’ve learned with their HKS colleagues and the entire industry.

“We’re so excited to be on the forefront of realizing what new work environments can be.”

HKS Wins 2024 AIA Architecture Award for SoFi Stadium and Hollywood Park

HKS Wins 2024 AIA Architecture Award for SoFi Stadium and Hollywood Park

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) announced that HKS has won a 2024 AIA Architecture Award for the design of SoFi Stadium and Hollywood Park, a 298-acre sports and entertainment complex in the Los Angeles suburb of Inglewood.

The awards were officially announced at AIA24, the AIA’s national conference in Washington, D.C. 

AIA’s annual Architecture Award celebrates the best contemporary architecture. The award program is intended to showcase a range of outstanding work and highlight the many ways buildings and environments can improve our lives. To select the winning projects, a jury evaluates entrants according to the AIA’s Framework for Design Excellence, a set of ten principles for achieving sustainable, resilient and accessible design.

“HKS is committed to design excellence,” said Dan Noble, HKS CEO & Chairman. “We strive to create places that lift the spirit, lower environmental impact and perform at the highest level for the people and communities we serve. SoFi Stadium and Hollywood Park balance function and beauty in a cohesive space that speaks to the energy of human performance.”

The project includes three primary programmatic elements under one signature roof: SoFi Stadium, the National Football League’s premiere venue; YouTube Theater, a 6,000-seat live entertainment performance venue; and American Airlines Plaza, which connects the stadium and theater. Beyond the sweeping structure, the development includes 25 acres of green space including landscaped parks, trails and a lake. The design honors the local climate, culture and community to provide a uniquely Southern California experience.

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Los Angeles Rams Owner and Chairman E. Stanley Kroenke is the primary force behind SoFi Stadium and Hollywood Park. Kroenke challenged HKS to design a venue that would become the entertainment epicenter of one of the world’s biggest entertainment havens: Los Angeles. 

“I’d like to thank Mr. Kroenke for partnering with us on creating the most impactful sports venue in the world,” said Mark A. Williams, HKS Partner and Global Sector Director, Venues.

When SoFi Stadium opened it changed the way fans experience sports and live entertainment from both a physical and virtual perspective,” said Williams. “I’m proud that our team created a holistic piece of architecture that delivers an extraordinary experience for all.”

California’s see-and-be-seen culture is embedded in the fan experience at SoFi Stadium, which features integrated technology such as the seating bowl’s center-hung, multisided Oculus videoboard.

The stadium’s 3-million-square foot (278,709-square-meter) indoor-outdoor design showcases the best of the Pacific coast climate. “You get the access and feeling of being in an outdoor venue – the movement of the air, the quality of the natural light – and protection from the sun and rain. It’s the best of both worlds,” said Lance Evans, HKS Partner and Venues Design Director.

The site is designed to be active 365 days a year, for activities ranging from major stadium events to neighborhood gatherings such as farmers markets. In addition, it has been used as a voter registration spot and a site for administering COVID-19 vaccinations, all testaments to how SoFi Stadium and Hollywood Park do more for Inglewood and the surrounding area than serve solely as an entertainment venue.

Evans said such events “are equally important and necessary for a vibrant piece of architecture for the community.”

University of Texas Health Science Center – San Antonio State Hospital

Case Study

University of Texas Health Science Center – San Antonio State Hospital A Mission of Hope, Healing and Recovery

San Antonio, TX, USA

The Challenge

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (Texas HHSC) and University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UT Health San Antonio) sought to replace the outdated buildings of San Antonio State Hospital to help modernize the psychiatric hospital system in Texas.

Texas HHSC and UT Health San Antonio tasked the design team of HKS and New York-based design firm architecture+ with creating a world-class replacement facility. Their goal was to provide a therapeutic environment for patients to enhance their recovery.

San Antonio State Hospital has been in operation since 1892. Texas HHSC and UT Health San Antonio wanted the replacement hospital to honor the history and landscape of San Antonio, including the San Antonio Missions. These five Spanish colonial buildings, which date to the 1700s, are a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The project team discovered unfavorable soil on site during the design development phase of the replacement hospital project. This discovery challenged designers to work swiftly to adjust the hospital’s stacking plan. They accomplished this major undertaking in three weeks.

The Design Solution

San Antonio State Hospital incorporates a patient-first model, with a design intended to honor patients’ dignity and inspire hope. The building features open areas and natural light. Private rooms are provided for all patients.

Each patient building is organized around a central area that includes spaces for community gatherings and recreational activities, as well as treatment and therapy. Entry points and portals throughout the buildings are designed and framed to evoke the entryways and portals of San Antonio’s historic Spanish colonial mission buildings.

The hospital’s exterior design features the decorative quatrefoil motif and vibrant colors seen throughout San Antonio. Each patient building is accented with its own unique glazed brick that serves as an aesthetic element and as a wayfinding identifier that correlates with the building’s interior color palette.

Colorful, strategically placed shading devices help offset solar heat gain on campus. Wood grain panels bring warmth to the interior and exterior design, complementing the hospital’s field brick and limestone. These are familiar elements of south-central Texas architecture.

The Design Impact

San Antonio State Hospital bolsters access to mental and behavioral health services for people throughout South Texas. According to Texas HHSC, the hospital serves approximately 270 people annually from over 50 counties in the region. The 3-story, 535,000-square-feet (49,703 square meters) modern replacement hospital provides 300 private patient rooms in a therapeutic environment. The hospital promotes individual dignity and personal safety for patients, staff and families.

Project Features

Nathan Ferrance


Case Studies

Banner Sports Medicine Scottsdale

Case Study

Banner Sports Medicine Scottsdale A Dedicated Sports Medicine Destination

Scottsdale, AR, USA

The Challenge

HKS designers were challenged to deliver a cutting-edge sports medical facility in the Phoenix area that would be a one-stop-shop for virtually every aspect of athletic performance from testing and evaluation to injury prevention to mental health needs. The facility also needed to accommodate the public and athletes of all ages and skill levels, from “weekend warriors” to players on the area’s multiple professional sports teams.

The Design Solution

Banner Sports Medicine Scottsdale is a welcome addition to the Riverwalk at Talking Stick mixed-use development. The building is a continuation of the natural Riverwalk element that links the community of buildings together with underground dry riverbeds that are interconnected walkways for employees and visitors. These features relate to the history of the Maricopa and the Pima Indian communities originally developed along waterways for sustenance and fortification.

The building’s exterior design supports the Banner Health brand and integrates materials in desert hues, with deep overhangs for shading from the sun. By overlaying these materials in basket woven patterns on the building, it also integrates harmoniously into the hardscape. Metal trellis and canopies creating complex shadowing at the entries and outdoor field.

Inside, Banner Sports Medicine Scottsdale includes highly sophisticated universal and sport-specific equipment and resources which provide insight into the personal mechanics of athletes across virtually all court, field, and track sports. The main space on the ground floor features high ceilings with glazed bays that can be opened to the practice field outdoors and takes advantage of the beautiful desert and mountain views.

The Design Impact

Located across from HKS-designed Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, this one-of-a-kind facility is considered Arizona’s most comprehensive complex for athletic training, diagnostic and monitoring systems. It is designed to give all Arizonans the most advanced athletic care and treatment possible.

Project Features


“Having everything under one roof provides value to patients and to their providers because we can take a team approach to help people get back to their optimal level of participation and perform at their highest level.”

Dr. Evan Lederman, chief of Banner Health Orthopedic Sports Medicine program

Scott McFadden

University of Georgia Baseball Stadium Expansion

Case Study

University of Georgia Baseball Stadium Expansion Revamped Baseball Locker Room Gives University of Georgia Bulldogs Program New Bite

Athens, GA, USA

The Challenge

The University of Georgia baseball program wanted to completely change the look of their current locker rooms, to make the space more player-centric and elevate it to one of the best, if not the best, in the highly competitive Southeastern Conference. HKS designers faced the challenge of creating the new locker room space within a limited existing footprint by eliminating deficiencies in the space plan, which will allow more capacity for the players. Comfortable and vibrant player-centric spaces are vital in supporting and exciting players, fostering team unity and attracting recruits.

The Design Solution

The HKS design team responded to the existing conditions by considering the athlete first. They spent a great deal of time analyzing how the players use the building to support the well-being, training, team building and performance, and how these components come together as part of the new strategy for this facility.

Based on that analysis, new field access points were added for frictionless movement from the locker room/mudroom to the field to increase efficiency in the facility. The design also limited demolition in these spaces, which helped to correct layout deficiencies and utilize as much of the existing footprint as possible for the required program.

The design of the locker and team meeting spaces emphasizes the importance of the athlete’s story of feeling a part of something bigger than themselves. That experience is curated by engaging the whole athlete and building a deeper connection to collegiate pride and the team. The play of red and crisp white lighting, elements of contrast, and volume of space create drama and bring layers of energy for the athletes.

The locker room layout is crafted to foster interaction between players, promoting camaraderie as they prepare to head out to the field. The integrated sound system allows for player control over playlists that can infuse the atmosphere with energy and motivation through music. HKS’s sensory design approach encompasses lighting, textures and sound to envelop the players in an immersive world. Dramatic, layered lighting can shift to match the intensity of the team, setting the stage for game day. Every aspect of the design is supported by brand elements, ensuring a cohesive and memorable environment that leaves a lasting impression on all who enter.

The Design Impact

The new design eliminated unnecessary space and all players now have the same locker room space and the same vantage points. The large central open area encourages interaction with all the players, leading to better team camaraderie and connection.

The locker and team rooms are the first phase of a larger transformation of the UGA baseball complex and a testament to the university’s commitment to the sport. When players know that the university is committed to them, they cultivate deep beliefs in themselves. As the next chapter of Georgia Bulldog baseball is written, their facility transforms along with them to gain efficiencies, provide state-of-the-art player-centric environments and support the journey of the collegiate athlete.

Project Features

“We’ve got these facilities, and it is like, WOW!”

Wes Johnson, Head Baseball Coach, University of Georgia

Nexus Recovery Center

Case Study

Nexus Recovery Center

Dallas, Texas

The Challenge

Nexus Recovery Center, a non-profit established in 1971, has been at the forefront of providing comprehensive treatment and support to women battling substance abuse. Initially focused on rehabilitation, Nexus has evolved to offer a wide range of services including therapy, life skills training, childcare, and wellness treatments. The primary challenge in creating the Doswell Building was to develop a space that could simultaneously address the diverse needs of its occupants and integrate a variety of programs within a single facility. This task required reconciling the need for both public engagement spaces and private, contemplative areas within an optimized environment.  

The Design Solution

The Doswell Building’s innovative design solution encompasses a dual-configuration approach, dividing the structure into two distinct yet interconnected segments through a central courtyard. The courtyard serves as both a divider and a unifier, where one side caters to the community with amenities like a large circle drive, community rooms, and a vibrant social hub, while the other side provides a tranquil space for admissions and dorms.  

The master plan for the campus integrates natural elements, redefines the campus’s focal point, and establishes a new primary entrance. The use of modest materials—concrete, timber, and stainless steel—along with strategic glazing, creates a space that feels secure yet open, dignified yet unassuming. The building’s exterior incorporates natural elements and sustainable practices, from the courtyard’s sanctuary-like atmosphere to the façade’s tree-inspired patterns, emphasizing the connection between the built environment and the healing process. 

The project emphasizes a strong connection to nature, featuring landscapes designed to withstand the harsh North Texas summers with gravel beds, rocks, and drought-resistant vegetation, minimizing irrigation needs. A significant budget allocation supports stormwater management, introducing a large detention pond and bioswales to control runoff, enhancing campus safety and protecting nearby residential areas. 

Phase II of the project involves creating new facilities for the Pregnant and Parenting Women and Children program and a Child Development Center. The dorms will expand to 30 rooms with private accommodations for moms and babies, along with community kitchens and increased staff to provide better care. The Child Development Center will be relocated to a larger facility with increased capacity and additional trained teachers and therapists.

The Design Impact

The Doswell Building is designed to become a new cornerstone for a diverse range of occupants, offering a dual configuration that cleverly balances public interaction and private reflection. By offering a space that embodies dignity, security, and community, the building plays a crucial role in supporting women and families, providing them with a safe and welcoming environment. Through its thoughtful multifaceted approach, the Doswell Building represents a design that is both inviting to the public and supportive of the residents’ journey to recovery.

Project Features

FBI Innovation Center at Redstone Arsenal

Case Study

FBI Innovation Center at Redstone Arsenal A Training Ground for the Cybersecurity Crimefighters of the Future

Huntsville, Alabama

The Challenge

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is expanding operations at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama with new facilities dedicated to attracting and developing a rising generation of technically advanced agents — a “graduate school” for the cyber crimefighter. The FBI envisioned a 240-acre Science and Technology District with a central building for cybersecurity crimefighter training and education plus offices that would support its critical mission to protect Americans now and into the future.

The Design Solution

HKS and its design-build partner at Clark Construction Group committed to creating the FBI Innovation Center as a signature centerpiece for the new campus. The three-story building includes classrooms, offices, digital laboratories, and an attached training center. Together, these facility functions enhance the FBI’s capacity for research and development as well as its operational, tactical, and technological capabilities.

Early in the design-build process, the HKS team devised a plan to decouple the workplace and training components of the building, ensuring that each was distinct yet unified with the other for a cohesive design. The academic and workplace building is clad in glass and metal panels, and offers a welcoming environment for agents, trainees and government officials. The practical training facility has a unique metal fin design and acts as a forward-looking extension from the primary building.

In addition to designing the Innovation Center, HKS also worked with landscape architects and civil engineers to amend the FBI’s master plan so that adjustments would support better building integration into the overall campus. As construction on the main building proceeded, the team worked closely with Clark Construction Group to adjust design elements, ensuring critical program features could be realized in keeping with the latest FBI security standards.

The Design Impact

The Innovation Center is designed to optimize energy performance, limit impact on environmental resources, and provide a healthy environment for those who learn and work there. FBI is a nationwide leader in the adoption of Design-Build Done Right® —the best practices of the Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA) — and with these practices, the Innovation Center sets a new standard of design excellence. The building is designed to attract and retain top talent for the FBI including young professionals who desire contemporary training and workplace amenities. As a home and training ground for a new wave of cybersecurity crimefighters, the building will play a large part in helping the FBI protect Americans throughout the 21st century.

Project Features

HKS’ Sleepover Project Builds Empathy, Better Senior Living Communities

HKS’ Sleepover Project Builds Empathy, Better Senior Living Communities

Grant Warner, Senior Designer and Principal at global design firm HKS, knows a lot about the often roller coaster-like experiences of senior living community staff members and residents. He received much of his information first-hand.

Warner has spent several days – and nights – as a senior living resident as part of the Sleepover Project, a 24-hour immersive experience designed to increase understanding of people in those communities. HKS’ Senior Living practice uses insights gained through the Sleepover Project to create environments to improve the lives of elders, their families and care partners.

“The Sleepover Project, at its core, is an empathy-building exercise,” said Warner, who helped launch the Sleepover Project in 2005 while working for another firm.

During a sleepover, participants assume the persona of a senior living resident, for example someone with hearing loss who uses a wheelchair, to more fully comprehend how the environment impacts residents’ everyday lives. Throughout the sleepover, participants record their observations in journals to help track ideas for advancing senior living design.

The goal, Warner said, is for HKS team members to come away from sleepovers “inspired by meeting some of the people that they work for and seeing how their work can impact real lives.”

First-hand Experience

HKS adopted the Sleepover Project in 2020 when the firm merged with Dallas-based D2 Architecture. D2, specialists in senior living design, had developed sleepovers into a regular practice.

Warner, who joined HKS when it merged with D2, has participated in more than a half dozen of the approximately 30 sleepovers that have taken place across the U.S. Those projects have been conducted at places ranging from brand-new communities designed to support the latest models of care to outmoded legacy buildings constructed before the advent of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

During some of Warner’s previous sleepover experiences he saw residents languishing in uninspired environments and struggling to maneuver wheelchairs in cramped bathrooms.

“I thought, ‘This is not dignified. This is awful. What else have we missed as a society, as a profession, in architecture and construction? We’ve got to do better,’” he said.

In February, HKS conducted the first Sleepover Project since pausing the project for safety reasons during the Covid-19 pandemic. Warner led a veritable slumber party of 10 people in a sleepover at the new HKS-designed Elevate Safepoint senior living community in Clearwater, Florida.

Participants included HKS design, research and communications professionals; two of Elevate Senior Living’s owners; representatives from the company’s operator, American Healthcare Management Group, headquartered in St. Johns, Florida; Elevate Safepoint Clearwater’s interior design firm, St. Louis-based Spellman Brady & Company; and the community’s management team.

Charlie Dierke, Executive Director, Elevate Safepoint Clearwater, said that he found it fantastic that designers and researchers were willing to spend a full 24 hours in the community. Dierke said that in general at senior living communities, “architects never come through, except for a walk-through. They don’t really look at the flow of the building, how the residents are taken care of.”

Breaking Down Barriers

Christian MacCarroll, Office Design Leader at HKS Orlando, took part in several activities with residents during the sleepover at Elevate Safepoint Clearwater. He participated in meals, a painting class, a happy hour gathering and Bingo (a game he accidentally kept winning until, he said, “I had to purposefully lose, so the residents wouldn’t get mad at me”).

Spending an extended period with residents helped break down “some of the barriers that you would otherwise have if you were just holding a meeting in a conference room, asking them to answer a couple of questions,” MacCarroll said. “The sleepover was an opportunity to get to know them. There’s no replacement to being there in person and experiencing it first-hand.”

Through his conversations with residents at Elevate Safepoint Clearwater, MacCarroll learned several things that will help guide future designs.

One thing he noticed is how much residents love to recall their past. People talked about where they grew up, the jobs they’d held, their travels, families and children. “To me, that was important,” MacCarroll said. “How can we design things to help reinforce their past?”

Spending 24 hours in an assisted living/memory care environment underscored how much of their time these residents spend in the community. “Very rarely do they ever leave,” MacCarroll said. “We need to create environments that are always stimulating the mind.”

We need to create environments that are always stimulating the mind.

Places for group activities and individual reflection, indoor/outdoor spaces and design features that afford flexibility and customization, such as adjustable lighting, can be helpful in providing needed variety, he noted.

An engaging senior living environment can be the difference between “a place that you go to just to live out the rest of your life or a place that you go to experience the greatest years of your life, and make new friends and memories,” MacCarroll said.


Over the years, the Sleepover Project has led to mind-opening discoveries and innovative design solutions.

For example, Warner said he was not initially a fan of indoor streetscapes in senior living communities because he found them somewhat kitschy. But he realized the benefits of this type of design when he saw these spaces resonate with residents, such as a husband and wife reading the newspaper together at an indoor streetscape coffee shop or a man with dementia who was newly delighted by a streetscape setting every time he stepped out of his room.

Warner said, “It totally changed my thinking. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The environment was so beneficial for those memory support residents.”

Sleepover participants’ use of geriatric simulation equipment helps build empathy for residents who are dealing with the physical effects of aging and helps designers create accessible environments.

According to Warner, eyeglasses that simulate common vision conditions related to age, such as glaucoma or macular degeneration, are especially useful for identifying color patterns, finishes and furnishings that may not be well-suited for an older population.

Another key finding of past Sleepover Projects is the value of distributing spaces to reduce the number of steps staffers must take during a shift.

“Most of them want to spend more time with the residents. They don’t want to spend time walking to a central supply closet that’s 350 feet away or a clean linen closet that’s 200 feet away,” Warner said.

Elevate Safepoint Clearwater features six distinct “households,” each with its own kitchen, clean linen room and laundry room. According to Warner, this layout helps staff “stay in the community, stay in their household with their residents and spend more time with them.”

Broad Effect

Joe Jasmon, CEO of American Healthcare Management Group and co-founder of Elevate, said the sleepover at Elevate Safepoint Clearwater provided a nearly unprecedented opportunity to examine the impact of the community’s design in depth.

“You rarely get an opportunity to do that,” Jasmon said. “I can’t put a dollar figure on it, but it’s going to be huge” for current and future Elevate senior living communities. Jasmon noted that senior living residents often can’t or won’t provide feedback, but the Sleepover Project will supply good, solid information for refining design and operations.

“When we think about innovation, the small things count as well,” said Daniela Aguirre Alfaro, HKS Design Researcher. She noted that the Sleepover Project enables HKS to discover through experience small things that can have a large and meaningful impact.

HKS design and research experts see potential for the Sleepover Project to expand beyond its current format, for even broader influence.

Warner envisions a “workover” program in which HKS designers assume the role of a senior living care partner for a day, to learn more about how hard these individuals work, the pressures they are under and how design can make their jobs easier.

HKS Senior Living practice leaders believe the Sleepover Project concept can be applied across practice areas. For example, it can help designers understand what it’s like to get ready for a game at a sports venue or to be a stadium worker on game day.

“Empathy is a tool that can be applied anywhere,” said Aguirre Alfaro.

HKS Mexico City 

Case Study

HKS Mexico City  Design of New HKS Mexico City Office Improves Community Connection and Employee Wellness | El diseño de la nueva oficina de HKS en Ciudad de México mejora la conexión con la comunidad y el bienestar del empleado.

Mexico City, Mexico | Ciudad de México, México 

The Challenge

With a focus on designing a showcase workspace that embodies HKS’ ongoing commitment to Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) principles, the challenge lies in seamlessly integrating an open outdoor space within the HKS Mexico City office. This space must not only enhance the work environment for employees but also serve as an educational hub for clients on environmental stewardship. Moreover, it should foster collaboration with partners, facilitate networking opportunities and maintain the firm’s influence on local communities, all while supporting the ability to attract and retain top talent. 

The Design Solution

Sustainability was a main driver for the Mexico City Office. Designed to maximize the use of natural daylight and views, it drives design towards the mental and physical health of our employees. All occupants have access to natural daylight from their workspace, social zones, and conference rooms. 

Connecting the mezzanine to the main open office area reduced HVAC loads and helped to create a social connection between the two floors. Also, connecting the conference and workspaces to the exterior wall offers natural circadian rhythms for the occupants to have access to nature across the day and season.   

The conference rooms have smart technology that gives teams the ability to connect digitally and physically using magnetic white boards, pin- up spaces, and digital screens.  The live wall backdrop is a powerful architectural feature, showing the impact of biophilia as a strategic tool towards designing with nature for emotional impact.  Instead of feeling drained with workload, spaces within the office can rejuvenate and revitalize energy levels for occupants.   

 The core values of this office design showcase breathable building strategies through thoughtful HVAC air ventilation systems, biodiverse landscapes, and biophilic green spaces.  From the outdoor expansive live wall to the desk plant, the Mexico City office acknowledges the need for its fellow community members  to live a more carbon neutral existence. In-take air flow filters unhealthy contaminates, and synthetic material specifications like plastic laminates and nylon carpets were minimized, allowing natural surfaces to symbolically communicate age, natural origin, and craft.  Sustainable progress is also intentional from a social perspective.   

This office uses seamless technology and cloud based digital platforms to support working anywhere anytime to meet the needs of fluid global teams.   Using a smaller footprint and digital equity, it accesses multisector and multigenerational global talent pools and brings them to the local community.  

The physical expression of interconnected visible attributes must be reinforced with invisible attributes including seamless technology, flexible and hybrid work policies, and brain healthy behavioral habits. 

The concept of workplace choice was introduced through providing a variety of space types to meet all encompassing occupancy needs, from social spaces, focus rooms, library quiet zones, huddle spaces with varying furniture solutions, a lounge and conference spaces. All workstations are height adjustable with ergonomic features. 

The Design Impact

 The Mexico City office sits at street level opening its doors to support private, community, government, and industry partnerships that engage in transparent and authentic conversations servicing diverse social resiliency.  Biophilia sets the point of view and serves as a reminder to treasure our living ecosystem. 

The HKS Mexico City office now has a culture that encourages employees to use various work points throughout the day, which shows that their feelings and moods — which affect their output — are taken into consideration. The resulting culture shift provides a positive and satisfying experience for workers. 


Con el enfoque en diseñar un espacio de trabajo que represente el compromiso de HKS hacia los principios ambientales, sociales y gobernanza (ESG), todo alrededor del reto de integrar de una manera eficiente el espacio exterior con el interior para la oficina de HKS Ciudad de México. Este espacio no sólo debe mejorar el ambiente de trabajo para los empleados sino también servir como un centro educativo para los clientes sobre temas ambientales. Además, debe fomentar la colaboración con socios, facilitar la oportunidad de gestionar tanto redes presenciales como sociales, y mantener la influencia de la empresa en la comunidad local, al mismo tiempo respaldar la capacidad de atraer y retener a los mejores talentos.

Solución de Diseño

La sustentabilidad fue uno de los principales impulsores de la Oficina de la Ciudad de México. Diseñado para maximizar el uso de la luz natural y las vistas, impulsa el diseño hacia la salud mental y física de nuestros empleados. Todos los ocupantes tienen acceso a la luz natural desde su espacio de trabajo, zonas sociales y salas de conferencias. La conexión del mezzanine con el área principal de oficinas abiertas redujo las cargas de HVAC y ayudó a crear una conexión social entre los dos pisos. Además, el vínculo de la sala de juntas y los espacios de trabajo a la pared exterior ofrece ritmos circadianos naturales para que los ocupantes tengan acceso a la naturaleza durante todo el día y la temporada.

Las salas de conferencias cuentan con tecnología inteligente que brinda a los equipos la capacidad de conectarse digital y físicamente mediante pizarrones magnéticos, espacios pin-up y pantallas digitales.  El telón de fondo de la pared viva es una poderosa característica arquitectónica que muestra el impacto de la biofília, tal como una herramienta estratégica hacia el diseño con la naturaleza para lograr un impacto emocional.  Los espacios dentro de la oficina pueden fortalecer y revitalizar los niveles de energía de los

Los valores fundamentales de este diseño de oficinas muestran estrategias de construcción transpirables a través de sistemas de ventilación de aire HVAC bien pensados, paisajes biodiversos y espacios verdes biofílicos. ocupantes. 

Desde el muro verde al aire libre hasta la planta de escritorio, la oficina de la Ciudad de México reconoce la necesidad de que los miembros de su comunidad vivan una existencia más neutra en carbono. El flujo de aire en la entrada filtra los contaminantes nocivos para la salud y se minimizaron las especificaciones de materiales sintéticos, como los laminados de plástico y las alfombras de nylon, lo que permitió que las superficies naturales comunicaran simbólicamente la edad, el origen natural y la artesanía.  El progreso sostenible también es intencional desde una perspectiva social.  

Esta oficina utiliza tecnología sin fronteras y plataformas digitales basadas en la nube para permitir el trabajo en cualquier lugar y en cualquier momento para satisfacer las necesidades de los equipos globales fluidos.   Utilizando una huella más pequeña y equidad digital, accede a grupos de talentos globales multisectoriales, y multigeneracionales llevándolos a la comunidad local. 

La expresión física de los atributos visibles interconectados debe reforzarse con atributos invisibles, como la tecnología sin fisuras, las políticas de trabajo flexibles e híbridas y los hábitos de comportamiento saludables del cerebro.

El concepto de elección del lugar de trabajo se introdujo al proporcionar una variedad de tipos de espacios para satisfacer todas las necesidades de ocupación, desde espacios sociales, salas de enfoque, zonas tranquilas de bibliotecas, espacios de reunión con diferentes soluciones de mobiliario, un salón y espacios para conferencias.

Impacto de Diseño

 La oficina de la Ciudad de México se encuentra a nivel de la calle y abre sus puertas para apoyar asociaciones privadas, comunitarias, gubernamentales y se coordina con entidades industriales que participan en conversaciones transparentes y auténticas al servicio de la resiliencia social diversa. La biofilia establece el punto de vista y sirve como recordatorio para valorar nuestro ecosistema vivo.

La oficina de HKS Ciudad de México ahora tiene una cultura que anima a sus habitantes a utilizar varios puntos de trabajo a lo largo del día, lo que demuestra que tienen en cuenta sus sentimientos y estados de ánimo, que afectan su rendimiento. El cambio cultural resultante proporciona una experiencia positiva y satisfactoria para los trabajadores.

Project Features

Amy Gilkey

Memorial Cancer Institute

Case Study

Memorial Cancer Institute A Cancer Center of Excellence

Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

The Challenge

Memorial Healthcare System aspired to transform the site of two defunct big-box stores, located on the edge of the health system’s Pembroke Pines medical center campus, into a primary destination for cancer care in South Florida. In addition, the new facility, adjacent to the health system’s Memorial Hospital West, would also serve as a landmark that communicates Memorial Healthcare’s presence in the community.

The building site is constricted on four sides by existing structures and two major roads. The project team needed to anticipate future expansion on site and design the institute to accommodate future additions.

Memorial Healthcare System also challenged the HKS-led project team to be good stewards of resources. The health system tasked the team with creating a facility that requires minimal maintenance – for reduced operating costs and increased sustainability – and that maintains optimal function for the life of the building.

The Design Solution

Memorial Cancer Institute is a 4-story, 121,000-square-foot outpatient cancer center designed to support research and clinical trials, advanced cancer screening and diagnostic testing, radiation treatments, chemotherapy and cellular therapies, surgical options and integrative medicine.

The institute is arranged around a central atrium with a grand staircase that rises throughout the building. The atrium stairway promotes physical activity for healthy users, simplifies wayfinding in the facility and affords easy deconstruction for future expansion. The building is designed for horizontal expansion, to meet future community needs.

Infusion bays are positioned on the building’s exterior, with large windows that frame views of the surrounding area and the institute’s rooftop garden.

Located atop the fourth floor, the garden includes meandering walking paths, lush greenery and shaded seating areas that give patients, their families and cancer institute staff direct access to nature. Research shows access to nature can improve well-being and aid in the healing process.

The garden features native plants and pollinators to support local biodiversity. To minimize water runoff, the rooftop landscape is fortified with drought-resilient plants that can handle intense South Florida rainfall and storms.

The master plan for the project includes a future inpatient cancer hospital that will integrate with the institute’s outpatient services, for enhanced patient support and clinical care.

The Design Impact

The institute features 63 exam rooms that are designed for multidisciplinary cancer care teams. This is more than double the number of exam rooms (29) the health system previously had available for cancer care. In addition, the building has 51 private infusion suites, up from 38.

The facility provides a state-of-the-art cancer care environment that supports Memorial Healthcare’s research alliance with Florida Atlantic University. The state of Florida designated Memorial Cancer Institute/Florida Atlantic University a Cancer Center of Excellence, one of a select group of organizations in the state that are conducting leading-edge clinical research and advancing patient care.

The institute also supports Memorial Healthcare’s partnership with Moffitt Cancer Center, a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. Comprehensive Cancer Centers are recognized for their leadership, resources and substantial transdisciplinary research.

According to Memorial Healthcare, Memorial Cancer Institute enables the health system to provide stronger cancer care, including expanded services not previously available in the region.

Project Features

Dell Children’s Medical Center North Campus

Case Study

Dell Children’s Medical Center North Campus A Pediatric Care Destination

Austin, Texas

The Challenge

To keep pace with the growing Central Texas population, Dell Children’s Medical Center is expanding with a new north campus that will be the first pediatric hospital in Williamson County. This campus will provide comprehensive health, wellness and emergency services in a child-friendly environment.

The HKS design team was challenged to develop a space that would continue to position Dell Children’s as a leader in pediatric health care, recruit world-renowned talent, and create a destination for programs poised for national prominence.

The Design Solution

Working in partnership with Dell Medical School at The University of Texas and community physician partners, the hospital will attract medical professionals who specialize in pediatrics. As a designated safety net hospital and Level III trauma center, the hospital will treat any type of illness regardless of ability to pay.

Dell Children’s will continue to develop groundbreaking programs such as fetal care, pediatric congenital heart services, which completed its first heart transplant at the main campus in 2020. Future programs may include a genetics and rare disease center.

Building upon the identity of the existing campus, the exterior design for the new hospital continues a story of connection to care and community. The exterior uses the same color tones, limestone brick and a tower that features a coronet inspired by the Daughters of Charity, who started a hospital in Austin in 1902 that would later become Dell Children’s. The interior design also mimics the look and feel of the main campus, creating a familiar and welcoming place for children and families to heal. It is an extension of the surrounding landscape, with large windows and spaces optimize natural light promoting health and wellness. Floor patterns evoke nearby karsts or watering holes and large-scale graphics depict local landscapes. Each floor is represented by a different theme and color to help with wayfinding.

The Design Impact

Dell’s Children’s Medical Center North Campus will be the first pediatric hospital in Williamson County, a vibrant fast-growing suburb of Austin. It is a destination for all levels of pediatric care by strengthening existing specialties and developing additional pediatric complex care programs. It ensures that children and their families never need to leave the Austin area for their critical care needs.

Dell Children’s Medical Center is part of a $1 billion investment in healthcare infrastructure for Central Texas. Since 2020, HKS has designed more than 800,000 square feet (74,322 square meters) of expansion space for Dell Children’s Medical Center at Ascension, including two parking garages.

Project Features

Hunger Busters

Case Study

Hunger Busters Sowing Resilience: A Journey to Cultivate Change

Dallas, TX, USA

The Challenge

Nearly two-thirds of the Dallas Independent School District’s (DISD) 150,000 students face the prospect of food insecurity each day. To help reduce that challenge Hunger Busters, a non-profit meal provider program founded in 2012, serves freshly prepared dinners to 4,500 DISD students each school day. But with the continued urgency to feed hungry children in Dallas, Hunger Busters leaders recognized the need to expand their facilities overlooking the Trinity River.

After a break-in that resulted in the loss of equipment and food supplies, Hunger Busters used the temporary setback to launch a capital campaign to propel their ambitious expansion project forward. It trained its focus on the La Bahara neighborhood, one of the five vibrant Hispanic communities in West Dallas. Confronted by challenges posed by large-scale development and escalating housing costs, La Bahara became the inspiration for a facility deeply entwined with its community. Global design firm, HKS, working through its Citizen HKS philanthropic arm, volunteered to help bring that vision to life.

The Design Solution

Inspired by the symbolism of a planted seed that is nurtured and grown, the HKS team worked with Hunger Busters to create a vibrant, sustainable food preparation facility that will eventually help nurture, grow and sustain thousands of Dallas youngsters.  

The facility has three core sections: Hunger Busters’ operations, the commissary kitchen, and the rentable entrepreneurial section. Underground parking has been strategically implemented to optimize kitchen and collaboration spaces on the upper floors and address the site’s specific geological challenges.

The first level of the 17,000-square-foot building boasts expanded prep space, tripled production capacity, and a 1,400-square-foot (130 sm) revenue-generating commissary kitchen. Emphasizing sustainability, the site incorporates a chef’s garden for locally sourced produce.

The project incorporates a 1,500-gallon rainwater collection system, capitalizing on Dallas’s average rainfall to support the facility sustainably. With an annual collection capacity of approximately 636 gallons, this system plays a crucial role in irrigating the landscape and providing water for the plants in the chef’s garden. 

The second floor of the two-floor facility will offer a rentable shared workplace that local nonprofits can use to foster collaboration and resource-sharing. Another highlight of the second floor is the outdoor terrace, which boasts spectacular views of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, an iconic structure that acts as a scenic connector from the La Bahara neighborhood to downtown Dallas.

A vibrant artwork piece, chosen through a local high school art contest, will provide a fitting final touch, anchoring the facility’s high-profile corner. Hunger Busters’ journey, like a seed growing from a simple connection with roots to a thriving community project, exemplifies the transformative power of collective effort in shaping positive change.

The Design Impact

The project’s sustainable strategies included an anaerobic digester that can transform food and garden waste into bio-fertilizer and energy that can power all exterior site lighting; a rainwater capture system; and CLT as a structural system.

Also, a roof solar panel with 60% coverage, is anticipated to offset 46% of the building’s baseline energy usage, holding out promise for achieving a net positive project by 2030.

The use of Mass Timber construction, specifically through the incorporation of pre-fabricated Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) panels, aligns with Texas Regionalism and plays a pivotal role in drastically reducing the building’s carbon footprint. The efficiency of CLT not only accelerates the construction timeline but also minimizes labor costs and offers enhanced fire safety advantages. 

Throughout the design and construction phases, HKS and Hunger Busters remain steadfast in their commitment to ethical decarbonization. The overarching objective is to cultivate a building materials supply chain that is deeply environmentally conscious and actively advocates for a future free from forced labor. 

This new facility, overlooking the Trinity River, is a beacon of circularity. By utilizing excess food from local restaurants and businesses, transforming it into nutritious third meals for students, and then converting any remaining waste into energy, this innovative approach addresses food insecurity and exemplifies sustainable practices championing a circular and regenerative system that benefits both people and the planet. With this new infrastructure in place, Hunger Busters will be able to increase meal production to an impressive 14,500 meals per day, significantly widening their impact within the city of Dallas. 

Project Features

Ronnie Belizaire


Case Studies

News, Announcements and Events

The Arena in Diriyah

Case Study

The Arena in Diriyah Celebrating History, Culture and Legacy

Diriyah, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

The Challenge

Wanting to attract people to congregate and celebrate at the birthplace of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia—Diriyah, the City of Earth—the Diriyah Gate Company Limited challenged HKS to create a technologically advanced, globally significant arena that is a timeless representation of its place, geology and culture. 

The Design Solution

The Arena in Diriyah is designed for residents of the Kingdom and visitors alike—for all who want to connect with Nadji culture and its architectural heritage. HKS’ design builds upon this legacy while setting the stage for a healthy, resilient, digital future. The design team embedded international best practices, innovative technologies, and high-performance energy targets into the project.

The architecture is a composition of stone monoliths that simultaneously evokes local geological formations and ancient Najdi forts and palaces. The arena rises from the landscape and a series of “digital waterfalls” animated by light glow between them. The visual energy of the waterfalls serves as a beacon drawing guests to the dynamic experience inside.

Every guest of the Arena in Diriyah will enjoy the highest caliber entertainment experience. Interior designers conducted extensive user research to connect with the local audience. The arena is designed to host myriad events, and quickly transforms to accommodate events ranging from intimate concerts to major international sporting events.

The Design Impact

Architecture and design play a key role in connecting people to a place and to one another.  The Arena in Diriyah will unite people in a shared sense of cultural experience and offer a harmonious blend of heritage and innovation while stimulating tourism and economic growth.

Project Features

“The Arena in Diriyah is a cornerstone element of our mission to blend tradition with innovation. It exemplifies Diriyah’s unique lifestyle offering that harmonizes community, culture, and natural connection, setting a new standard for world-class destinations rooted in Saudi heritage.”

Jerry Inzerillo, Group CEO of Diriyah Company

HKS’ New Atlanta Office: What the Future Office Could Be