December 10, 2022
Growing companies have a common problem: space management. And when you’re adding positions at a steady pace, sometimes you need to have satellite offices to accommodate the increase in staff. That was the challenge facing Lafayette, La.-based LHC Group, the largest home healthcare company in the country.
With a 66,000-sq.-ft. main headquarters and five or six locations scattered around the city, LHC Group knew it was time to consolidate the offices into one new, larger headquarters. Chase Marshall Architects, also based in Lafayette, was hired to design a consolidated campus that would improve overall efficiency while helping to attract and retain new employees.
Adding 200,000 square feet to the existing building sounds easy, but the architects faced challenges posed the existing floor heights, which even influenced the lighting choices. Chase Marshall Architects pulled it off, creating a spacious addition that includes office spaces, conference centers, training facilities, a cafeteria, and a pharmacy.
One of the most visually appealing rooms is the employee dining space. With a floating ceiling height of only 12’9″, the goal was to make the room look and feel as tall as possible. Designers did not want to crowd the room with multiple lighting fixtures suspended from the ceiling or affixed to the wall, so they selected Acuity Brands‘ A-Lite D5 recessed linear luminaires in custom rectangles to provide a clean accent in the space.
“We were looking for a light fixture to make a statement in the cloud ceiling,” explained John L. “Jay” Chase, Jr., principal at Chase Marshall and managing principal, project architect, and project manager for the massive undertaking. “I love the big boxes of light and the quality of illumination they produce in the space.”
Custom D5 recessed rectangles from A-Light had also been selected for the three-story atrium and stairwell. They, too, would have been similarly inserted into a cloud ceiling; however, as construction progressed, it was discovered that this dropped ceiling conflicted with one of the safety systems. Chase brainstormed with the A-Light team to find an alternative. With the addition of mounting brackets, they were able to retrofit the recessed luminaires to create dramatic pendants suspended along the industrial ceiling.
“A-Light was so helpful and accommodating in finding a solution,” Chase said. “The pendants really look super-cool, and the owner absolutely loves them.”
A-Light D5 recessed fixtures are also used in the office corridors, where the minimalist lines of lights serve as subtle wayfinding cues for employees moving through the building.
LHC Group’s executive floor is elegantly appointed with rich wood paneling and luxurious amenities. A-Light’s D5 recessed luminaires figure prominently, providing sleek lines of light in the dropped wood ceiling over reception. In addition to providing illumination to the waiting area, they also serve to define the executive space.
An adjacent corridor with high industrial ceilings required a different approach to lighting. Acoustic panels for sound absorption are interspersed with pendant lights that are consistent with the lighting design in other areas of the facility. However, the space did not benefit from overflow light from neighboring offices, as on other floors, resulting in a darker atmosphere.
As a solution, A-Light’s Apex 3 linear pendants were utilized to enhance the illumination. Apex 3 uses a precise viewing cut-off angle and recessed cell-lens technology to maintain a minimal presence.
“What I love about Apex 3 is that it blends seamlessly,” Chase noted. “The fixture is the same color as the ceiling, and the light source is so discreet that you can’t determine where it’s coming from. On a typical day, you don’t see or notice them, which is exactly what I wanted.”
A-Light’s Apex luminaire also provides the primary illumination for the new high-tech training room. The space is equipped with state-of-the-art cameras and audio equipment to enable presentations to be broadcast to every computer in the LHC network. The caveat: with an acoustical ceiling of only 9 feet, it was clear that anything suspended would interfere with the AV. Minimizing glare was also a concern, as employees and guests in the room are often using laptops and tablets.
Chase opted to use A-Light’s Apex 5 recessed luminaire. As with the Apex 3, its LED technology features a compact optical system to carefully control and channel the light source. “Our client was absolutely amazed by these fixtures,” Chase recounted. “They’re minimalistic, and they perform well. Most people walk into the training room and cannot figure out where the light comes from!”
The client was so pleased with the luminaires that the lighting specifications were modified for the boardrooms and ‘huddle rooms’ to include Apex 5 recessed fixtures in the dropped ceilings.
All of the lighting is on daylight sensors and managed with an nLight AIR® lighting controls system from Acuity Brands Lighting and Controls. This gives the LHC employees complete control of their lighting environments throughout the day.
“Lighting was an early priority in the project,” Chase commented. “From the training room to the boardrooms to the dining area, A-Light has helped us to create a stunning workplace. LHC now has a headquarters that not only contributes to corporate efficiency but offers an extremely positive employee experience.”
PROJECT: LHC Group Corporate Headquarters
LOCATION: Lafayette, Louisiana
PROJECT COMPLETED: May 2022
ARCHITECT: Chase Marshall Architects
AGENT: Lighting & Electrical Associates (LEA)
PHOTOGRAPHY: Geaux Media