In 2016, the Hofmatt nursing home in Münchenstein, near Basel, required an extension. The resulting new design transformed the original structure into a modern, open complex through the addition of the central, south and west wings. These changes allowed the nursing home to increase its number of residents from 124 to 165.
The new extension plan is thought to have increased residents’ well-being through the use of natural and artificial lighting. The idea was to combine architecture, interior design and lighting to create a lively, pleasant atmosphere that felt nothing like a hospital. To achieve this, lighting designer Adrian Huber worked in close collaboration with neurobiologist Anna Wirz-Justice and the Fraunhofer Institut in Stuttgart to define and create a general, high intensity lighting system that would change throughout the day. A number of studies have shown that high lighting levels have a therapeutic effect and help balance sleep-wake rhythms, especially in people suffering with dementia. During the day, the new design seeks to maximise the use of natural light. A glass-clad gallery, which gets flooded with light, joins the individual sectors of the building with the residential quarters. This beautiful covered space allows residents to enjoy the benefits of walking regardless of weather conditions, particularly as taking physical exercise during the day aids and improves quality of sleep at night.
For the artificial lighting, Adrian Huber chose LED luminaires that provide a high-lumen output without blinding the residents. The Palco spotlights installed in the ceiling of the glass-clad areas generate a high level of luminous intensity, maintaining the residents’ level of activity even on days when they cannot go outside to enjoy the sunlight. The outside patio leading to the entrance into the nursing home features a large, naturally lit open space where recessed iRound luminaires reproduce the effect of natural light in the evenings. In the west wing, the corridors that lead to the residents’ rooms are illuminated with dimmable ceiling-recessed Reflex luminaires that create soft, uniform 2,000 lm lighting with a warm colour temperature and a low UGR<19. The latter is particularly important as it ensures the residents enjoy visual comfort despite the notable light intensity.
About 400 10-cell Laser Blade luminaires with a colour temperature of 3,000 K were installed in the hallway, the connecting gallery, the restaurant, the dining room and the corridors leading to the rooms in the central and south wings. Thanks to their high performance optics and black anti-glare screens, the luminaires achieve a low UGR<19 despite their 1,800 lm intensity. The light intensity of the luminaires can be varied during the day using a KNX control system, thus synchronising with the residents’ circadian rhythms. The colour rendering indices are also very high, at 90 and 95, so as not to distort the residents‘ colour perception.
Regulating circadian rhythms continues during the night through the elimination of “blue light” from the spectral component of the artificial lighting as this tends to inhibit melatonin production. As such, the Underscore luminaires installed as night lights in the residents’ rooms are fitted with amber coloured LEDs. This ensures a correct level of lighting for staff to continue working while also allowing residents to enjoy a good night’s rest.
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