Architectual and Design Goals for a Law Office that Promotes Happiness

“We shape our buildings, and afterwards, our buildings shape us.”--Winston Churchill

1.  Natural light should be a major source of illumination.
2.  Include a large comfortable space for lawyers to gather together and socialize.  Major pathways in the office should be tangent to the common area.
3.  Avoid long sterile corridors.
4.  Create alternating areas of relative light and darkness throughout the office.
5.  Create a variety of flexible spaces.
6.  Provide a space for communal eating.
7.  Arrange welcoming things (chairs, fireplace, newspapers, coffee) inside the entrance, with the reception desk at an angle to the side.
8.  Avoid closed off, separate offices.  Workplaces should strike a balance between being enclosed and exposed.
9.  If possible, have light on two sides of every room.
10.  Offices should have views overlooking life--gardens, street scenes, etc.
11.  Let lawyers and staff ornament their offices with things from their own lives.
12.  Most spaces should be warmly colored (natural wood, wall paint or light sources can each accomplish this).
13.  Use pools of light rather than uniform illumination.
14.  If possible, include a fountain or some other feature with moving water.
15.  Place plants of varying shapes and sizes throughout the office.
16.  Vary ceiling heights (places to encourage fine attention with low ceilings and places with high ceilings to encourage expansive thinking).

Source: Christopher Alexander, A Pattern Language (1977)