Innovation – Workplace

Innovation – Workplace


Congratulations to HOK as the winner of the 2020 Innovation Real Award in Workplace.

HOK undertook an extensive investigation into how organizations can rethink their space to be more inclusive and to help an increasingly neurodiverse workforce thrive. The firm challenged our Workplace leadership team to explore how we can create spaces that are inclusive. They tapped into past and current projects to identify best practices, and interviewed dozens of thought leaders in the industry and the medical profession about where the neurodiversity paradigm and the neurodiversity movement are heading and how it intersects with architecture and workplace design.

HOK also tapped into the art, science, and psychology of design to explore the world of the neurodivergent thinker and to examine how to create places and spaces that are more physically and culturally inclusive for all.

Our research:

  • Examined the various elements of neurodiversity and the key factors to be considered when designing space.
  • Explored environments that go beyond the norms of addressing mental health and wellbeing to create spaces that are tangibly and physically inclusive for neurodivergent users.
  • Defined steps to take to build such considerations into the design process and implementation.

When designing a workplace to be inclusive for all, all aspects of the space—color, lighting, materiality, elements in the field of view and sensory stimuli—need to be designed with purpose and intent.  Creating spaces that meet the psychological needs of a wide spectrum of talent starts with the basics. It focuses on workplaces that provide optimal ranges of temperature, lighting, air quality, noise, ergonomics, and a sense of comfort and security.  It is also important to understand that everyone, neurodivergents and neurotypicals, have varying degrees of sensitivity to stimuli. For hypersensitive individuals, sensory stimuli are often magnified to a degree where it is hard to manage so they prefer more controlled environments. Whereas hyposensitive individuals need more sensory stimuli to successfully process sensory information.  The key is to create an ecosystem of spaces where everyone can find the right balance for them and the task at hand.

Project Team:

  • Kay Sargent – Director of Workplace
  • Gordon Wright – Director of Workplace
  • Pam Light – Regional Leader of Workplace
  • Bill Bouchey – Director of Design, Interiors
  • Christine Vandover – Senior Project Interior Designer
  • Mary Kate Cassidy – Senior Interior Design Professional