PUBLISHED Jan. 20, 2020
Places we live in have an important effect on our body and mind. Many aspects effect this such as the way it functions, the composition of form, the changing of scales, focal points, and the flow of movement are a number of examples. However, the specifics of light, building interior dimensions and use of materials are key aspects that contain some universal principles in how they are best used. For instance, our minds will respond differently in silent, dormant and reserved spaces as compared to bright and buzzing. As an architect, being aware of these factors is in fact essential to give people a better and healthier living environment especially as people spend almost 90% of their time indoors.
The management of space in the building is crucial. That is, an architect needs to allocate the suitable space and find the right dimensions for each room. Besides, the arrangement of furniture is a complementary factor that has an effect on the space and on the perception of the client regarding his living environment.
When it comes to the light, studies have shown that the more of it has a positive impact on our bodies. It helps in regulating our sleep and digestion as well as boosting our mood. However, poor lightening can cause depression and anxiety. For an architect, it is very important to choose what lighting will best improve the client’s mood and performance.
As for the material used in the construction, it is related to visual and physical comfort. In other words, building made out of natural materials such as timber or bamboo can have a relaxing effect on the brain and it will create a harmonious environment in which the client will feel at ease. However too much of it, and the space could feel less vibrant. Therefore selecting the right balance, with combinations of materials in correlation to their tone is essential.
To sum up, building materials, ventilation, lighting, and the consumption of space can all impact the physical and mental well-being of occupants. Design can affect the productivity level, air quality, and minimize the risk of injuries.
It is also the responsibility of architects to design buildings that supports health, safety, and welfare (HSW). According to the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the following are the six fundamentals that support HSW:
1. Environmental Quality
2. Natural Systems
3. Physical Activity
5. Sensory Environments
6. Social Connectedness
Green buildings are now becoming part of the norm in construction thanks to global awareness on the environmental changes. The quality of the environment people live in will be improved as better energy efficiency systems and hence a healthier atmosphere will be developed. Besides, buildings are designed with unique characteristics to reduce the risk of exposure to environmental hazards.
Nowadays, natural systems are becoming more popular. This concept consists of using natural materials for a specific purpose such as providing natural cooling to the house or having a better insulation system. Another reason for developing this ecofriendly system is to give their occupants a sense of control over their space like climate control and breathing air in natural ways rather than through mechanical systems.
Architects choose to work with healthier materials such as Low or no-VOC paints. Furniture, upholstery, and carpets fabrics where no formaldehyde is used to encourage a healthy environment inside the building. Likewise, the use of proper ventilation has become a part of innovative designs with movable doors, walls, screens and windows that enable cross-ventilation.