Human-centred design

By John Connole
Tuesday, 22 January, 2013

“The health of our environment and the health of the people within it are inextricably linked,” says Sheree Proposch, Director of Bates Smart. She believes that a holistic approach to sustainability, includes – environmental, emotional, physical and psychological considerations. Sustainability can and should be thought of in broad terms, reducing energy consumption, as well as encompassing social responsibility and the creation of well-considered environments. Building positive structures is the way of the future. Understanding the impacts of architecture on human emotion and behaviour, especially in healthcare buildings has lead to a design philosophy that contributes to wellness.
Fundamental design considerations include:

  1. Orientation and integrated landscaping

  2. Day-lighting based internal planning

  3. Building envelope and facade design

  4. Sun-shading and high performance glazing

  5. Natural ventilation

Bates Smart’s fully integrated approach combining architecture and interior design supports the growing body of research that shows healthy indoor environments provide increased patient and staff well being, increased staff productivity and patient recovery rates.
Design features which contribute to restorative environments include:

  1. Stimulating views and filtered daylight

  2. Appropriate use of colour

  3. Elements of nature

  4. Measured use of materials and textures

  5. Variety and appropriateness of artificial lighting

Buildings which are easy to navigate with a logical layout together with abundant natural light also contribute to healthy environments. Circulation and wayfinding needs to be easily understood and spaces obvious in their purpose. Clear orientation provides a calm and reassuring environment, reducing spatial disorientation.
“It is fundamental that we incorporate these findings into healthcare design – for patients and for staff. We can look for a more ‘human’ way of responding to these challenges through architecture.”
Sheree Proposch is a Director at Bates Smart and leads the Social Infrastructure Group.
“Bates Smart recognises our responsibility to deliver sustainable and human-centred environments and to influence and create behavioural change.”
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