Functionality of a building? Or the visual appearance? Or the mental and the physical interaction with space? What is the architectural purpose of a building? Are the buildings designed with the right purpose?
While architects have always focused on functionality and visual appearance during design, the issue of health (mental or physical) of the users of the building has been quite untouched during the design.
The work spaces, offices and many other places where a person spends most of its time, doesn’t put the human aspect above the design. Functionality and rigidity take over and thus, health is subdued. Very few workplaces consider this aspect, and it is a major issue in design that very few architects consider.
In the recent years, many statistics have shown that people aren’t happy with their work spaces and do not interact with the environment around and thus, face health related issues where, usually the mental state is compromised.
Roaming around in an IT office some time back what struck me was that I couldn’t and would never work in such a workspace. Space was cluttered and dull; cutting out people from the different shades of the day, change of time and any outside environment. Despite being a rich MNC office, which could be well designed and had a great potential, but the rigidity of and the clichéd corporate office designs was what denied the people from a healthier work environment.
The designers always have the solution, but when enough support isn’t offered, they go with the designs that have always been considered ’safe’.
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The Interactive workspace designs, the health following function and form are what every place that is designed needs.
These places can consider various aspects and make the infrastructure whole lot healthier. While the inclusion of interactive sessions, and interiors and a casual environment is fast coming to the work culture, design inputs like natural light, designs that are without barriers and more connected, that reduce the hierarchy systems, are some details that can be looked into.
Materials that help in creating a healthier environment- wood, mud, gypsum, etc. Plastering and cement generate heat, thus making the buildings warmer. And most of the buildings use steel and glass, which is not healthy at all. These materials do not breathe, unlike brick or wood, and thus, create a nauseating environment, if stayed in that environment for a longer time.
While both the images above are offices/ workspaces, the difference is huge and the work environment and the layouts make a lot of difference. The choice of materials and the circulation has a December-may difference and thus, working in such different environments affects the health of a person in different ways.
The choice is always there, but the permission to choose usually becomes the client’s decision and thus the right approach sometimes suffer, which directly reflects on the health and thus, an urgency to follow heath over form.