Architecture of health. It feels good to look at incredible views, clean lines, minimal clutter, and that’s not all. More and more families and businesses are recognizing the value of designing for health, and working with architects like LEAP to create happier homes and more productive businesses.
Architecture of Health
As we approach the end of January, let’s check in: what was your New Year’s Resolution? Was it to take control of your health? Maybe you already eat a pretty healthy diet, get exercise, and still feel like there’s a missing piece? Maybe it’s not you. It very well could be your environment that’s getting you down—home or work. And you’re not alone. Let’s take a look at how your environment can effect your health, for the better!
Design Impact on Home and Business
Okay, so you might be thinking, my house will never look anything like Frank Loyd Wright’s Falling Water. What does architecture really have to do with the success of my home and business? Well, design influences us everyday, in every way. Think of how a department store like Anthropology very carefully crafts their layout to provide their shoppers a highly curated experience. You can have this too! Below are some examples of how great design can influence your home and business.
LEAP’s Residential Designs:
- Enhance Family Life
- Enhance Sleeping, Eating, Bathing and Living Lifestyles
- Increase Daylight (improved mood, circadian rhythm)
- Promote Healthy Indoor Air (fewer allergies)
- Increase Energy Efficiency (decrease heating and cooling bills)
LEAP’s Commercial Designs:
- Improve Productivity (employees feel better, and have less sick days)
- Enhances Business Culture (good design = good business)
- Increase Daylight (decrease electric bills)
- Promote Healthy Indoor Air
- Increase Energy Efficiency
“That which surrounds us shapes our existence. We should therefore surround ourselves with beauty. In a beautiful environment, our fears, our nagging doubts, hold much less power than they do in an ugly environment.” – Alain de Bottom, founder of Living Architecture
What do you want to experience every day?
At home: You wake up refreshed, sunshine illuminates the kitchen, your house is clean and organized, none of your kids are suffering from allergies (even though spring is in full swing), and your morning routine rolls out effortlessly; your household moves as if in a choreographed dance. Have kids? Great! We have a lot of experience (personal and professional) designing for families and their dynamics.
At work: You have steady foot traffic all day, as people walking by immediately notice your storefront and want to know more. Once inside, the temperature is just right, the lighting is perfect and the layout moves them through the space, where the story of your brand unfolds before their eyes. We have also helped many businesses improve their bottom line through creating curated customer experiences.
Working with an architect like LEAP, you can be the curator of your own home, your own business. And that certainly doesn’t mean put everything behind glass, and with a do not touch sign. What fun is that?
Your Brain on Architecture
One of the studies that is helping to scientifically provide evidence of the architecture/brain connection is being conducted by Dr. Julio Bermudez. His work uses an fMRI to capture the effects of architecture on the brain when showing subject photos of contemplative and non-contemplative architectural structures. His preliminary results show that “contemplative architecture” (think churches, museums, ancient sites, building that make you go WOW), had effects on the brain, similar to that of a meditative state. (“The Brain on Architecture“, The Atlantic)
The presence of an external stimulus (the photos of the buildings) also removes the tedious self-regulation that occurs in the prefrontal cortex during traditional meditation. The interviews of the 12 subjects revealed that “peacefulness and relaxation, lessening of mind wandering, increasing of attention, and deepening of experience”. (ref)
The idea is that this type of research can be refined to help determine things like: the optimal ceiling heights for different cognitive functions; the best city design for making way-finding easier; the ideal hospital layout to improve memory-related tasks in patients recovering from brain injuries; the influence of different types and quantities of light within a built space on mood and performance. Now that’s some architecture of health.
Health-Based Approaches to Design
Still curious? Let’s take a look at some research on the architecture of health.
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) recognizes the profound impact that design decisions can have on human health for individuals and communities, which is why they started their Design and Health Initiative. One of the outcomes from a 2014 summit was the development of six evidence-based approaches designers can use to promote health and well-being:
1. Environmental quality: Preventing, mitigating and reversing chemical and microbial pollutants that harm public health
2. Natural systems: Utilizing natural forms, diverse species and existing ecosystems that relieve stress, accelerate recuperation, encourage healthy eating and promote physical and social activity
3. Physical activity: Encouraging exercise, recreation and other daily activities that lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and other health problems
4. Safety: Reducing accidental injury and crime to remove impediments to physical activity and alleviate anxiety and stress
5. Sensory environments: Diversifying the touch, smell and acoustics of an environment to promote safety, improve physical, mental and emotional well-being and enhance quality of life
6. Social connectedness: Strengthening personal and professional relationships and encouraging behaviors like civic participation to increase happiness and ensure communities function more effectively
Our next few posts will explore the impact on architecture of health as it specifically relates to homes and businesses.
Been thinking about how you can design your dream home or business? Give us a call for a free consultation!