How Architecture Impacts Our Wellbeing
Good design benefits us in ways that we never notice, but bad design can negatively impact our health.
One of the basic needs every human requires for survival is shelter. Homes and community spaces have a deep impact on an individual’s health and quality of life. This is why it is important that community spaces are designed mindfully. A well-designed space will work seamlessly for those who use the space without them realizing why. When a space is not designed well, something will immediately feel wrong, productivity is lower, the mood is unstable, and it becomes clear that the design was not created with the intention of a beneficial experience. A good community space has many important qualities. A few important ones are safety and architecture. Windows, access to the outdoors, evacuation exits, good ventilation, compliance with safety regulations, and more. Good lighting and acoustics can have a great impact on an individual’s experience using a community space. Warm-toned lighting has been shown to be of great benefit to health and overall comfort and experience in a space. Depending on the purpose of a space, different types of lighting can have a positive or negative effect. Wellington Estates says that warm-toned lighting “creates a warm, cozy atmosphere” and is “soothing.” (5) This lighting is ideal for a bedroom, a quiet study space, a dining area, or even a common room. Ideal for gyms and stadiums, cool-toned lighting can be energizing and brightening. Cool-toned lighting, if used in the wrong type of space, can be jarring and harsh. This is why small details can make a huge difference in the quality of someone’s life. Cool-toned fluorescent lights, although more cost-effective, can be especially damaging in an office setting. “A recent survey by Staples (which, it should be noted, sells office lighting) of 7,000 office workers in 10 European countries found that many office workers said they experienced seasonal affective disorder (SAD) because they had limited access to natural light in their offices, Forbes reported.” (1) The blue light emitted by our cellphones and office lighting can not only affect your mental health, but it also commonly causes strain to your eyes and migraines. Companies and institutions that care about the well-being of their employees and associates should consider small details like lighting that can greatly impact the productivity and quality of life of their employees.
- Current Affairs. “Why You Hate Contemporary Architecture ❧ Current Affairs.” Current Affairs, https://www.currentaffairs.org/2017/10/why-you-hate-contemporary-architecture.
- Doyle, Mika. “Workplace Lighting Can Affect Your Mental Health & Mood, According to a Recent Survey, & Here's What to Know.” Bustle, Bustle, 2 Jan. 2019, https://www.bustle.com/p/workplace-lighting-can-affect-your-mental-health-mood-according-to-a-recent-survey-heres-what-to-know-15583283
- “How Does Architecture Impact Society? A High-Level Look: Thought Leadership.” HMC Architects, 21 Oct. 2019, https://hmcarchitects.com/news/how-does-architecture-impact-society-a-high-level-look-2019-10-18/#:~:text=Everything%20from%20the%20layout%20of,contribute%20more%20to%20their%20company
- Judah. “Emotional Effects of Cool Light and Warm Light.” Wellington Estates An Assisted Living Community, 3 Aug. 2018, https://wellingtonestates.com/cool-light-and-warm-light/
- Love, Hanna, and Cailean Kok. “Exploring the Often Fraught Relationship between Public Spaces and Social Divides.” Brookings, Brookings, 9 Nov. 2021, https://www.brookings.edu/essay/exploring-the-often-fraught-relationship-between-public-spaces-and-social-divides/
- “What Makes a Great Public Space?” Www.nar.realtor, 19 May 2016, https://www.nar.realtor/blogs/spaces-to-places/what-makes-a-great-public-space#:~:text=Great%20public%20spaces%20are%20accessible,and%20accommodating%20for%20all%20users
(Photo Credits: Katelyn Varville)