August 18, 2014

Health + People


Human wellbeing is directly influenced by the spaces in which we live, work, and play. As the decision makers behind the literal building blocks of these spaces, architects are key initiators of this sequence of impact. Through the lens of Health + People, the design studio begins to adopt elements of a chemistry lab, wherein the intricate properties of building materials become more clearly understood, as well as their effects on human health.

We are able to self-actualize and advance society when we are healthy. Therefore, for people to thrive, holistic health must be a priority. Since the human condition is relatively fragile, it requires both individual and collective efforts to protect and nourish it. Buildings, even those outside of the healthcare industry, have the potential to support these healing processes. Through informed decision making, the building industry can actively and positively contribute to the health of the people it serves.

The more knowledge that we accumulate about a building material’s origin, chemical composition, transformation over time, and known effects, the greater our capacity to create architecture that supports and celebrates life. This reality is key in propelling our advocacy for transparency in the building industry, and for open dialogue amongst designers, builders, material science researchers, and manufacturers.

In exploring Health + People, we will delve into questions like:
+ What are innovative ways to track the material health of a building?
+ How can we more effectively integrate human and environmental health?
+ What role can buildings play in mitigating chronic illness, such as obesity or depression?