No matter where we are, our mental health is affected by the architecture around us.
For example, most people will be more productive in a bright, sociable, and comfortable environment than in a dark, anxiety-inducing environment.
Design choices such as light, noise, shared spaces, and art spaces have an impact on mental health, according to a study by Connellan et al. (2013).
Designing our work and living spaces around our comfort and psychological well-being has become increasingly important over time.
As Katie Okamoto mentioned in one of her articles, one in five Americans suffers from some form of mental disorder.
But less than half of these affected people receive any form of treatment.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic, mental health has increasingly become one of the biggest issues affecting people’s lives.
Advocating for positive change
Professionals in all industries should do their best to contribute to positive change in ordinary things, and this especially includes architects.
Architects have seen positive results come from their mental health-conscious designs.
This is a technique widely used when designing mental health facilities.
Dr. Thomas Story Kirkbride was one of the first Americans to consider the idea of using architecture and design to create a therapeutic environment.
In recent decades, architects have rethought other places where humans spend their time, such as the workplace.
We are starting to see more offices that encourage social interaction, movement and an overall more relaxed environment.
Not only do we have evidence that design can have a positive impact on our mental health,
But poor design has also been shown to trigger negative reactions such as anxiety, high blood pressure, and increased risk of infection.
The connection between mental health and physical health
Because mental health is directly linked to physical health, all environments in which we spend long periods of time will benefit from thoughtful design.
As individuals, we should do ourselves a favor and make sure we keep our living spaces filled with design choices that impact mental health in a positive way:
These are safety and security, abundance of light, bringing the outside in, and temperature control.
Katie Okamoto has reported that mental health issues have cost America more in GDP than the five major diseases combined, including cancer and cardiovascular disease.
As mental health issues have gained greater importance over time, they have begun to receive the attention they deserve and have seen strides towards resolution.
Good architecture also comes from those who understand the purpose of the structure they are designing as well as the people who will inhabit it,
and make sure to take their feelings and emotions into account.
A good architect knows that something like an office is not just a workplace, but an environment that hosts friendships, conflicts, and achievements.
If you are looking for a company to help design your new space,
Consider finding a firm with a team full of detail-oriented people who will keep things like your mental health in mind, like INJ Architecture.
Architecture, more than just an assembly of bricks and mortar, can greatly impact our mental health.
The design of our physical environment may have a significant impact on our emotions,
with certain architectural aspects having the ability to reduce sadness and anxiety.
So we’ll discuss how architecture can be used to design places that support mental health and overall well-being.
Natural light and its effects:
It has been scientifically proven that using an abundance of natural light in architectural design provides a large number of psychological benefits.
The effect of sunlight is not limited to our surroundings; It also helps regulate our daily cycles.
As a result, a natural circadian cycle enhances sleep habits and overall mood, reduces stress and increases positivity.
Having natural light in our living and working spaces is crucial to creating conditions that promote mental health.
Recognizing the inherent relationship between humanity and nature gives rise to the idea of biophilic design.
Biophilic design integrates natural elements into the built environment to remind residents of their inherent connection to the natural world.
Architects can design settings that convey a sense of calm and tranquility using elements such as plants, water features and natural materials.
Such settings can relieve anxiety and encourage calm.
Furthermore, lively environments have been shown to enhance creativity and cognitive function, which increases overall mental health.
Open and spacious layouts:
The layout and organization of a building can have a significant impact on our mental health.
Not only do open, spacious designs provide a sense of freedom and comfort, but they also help reduce feelings of confinement and claustrophobia.
Such designs encourage physical exercise and socialization by stimulating movement and flow,
and generating a sense of community.
Because social connection is essential to overcoming feelings of isolation and sadness,
inclusive and accessible environments are an important element of supportive design.
Access to green spaces:
The availability of parks, gardens and green spaces in crowded urban areas can have a significant impact on our mental health.
These natural oases also provide opportunities for relaxation, physical activity,
and socializing, all of which help reduce stress and enhance mental health.
The sight of greenery and the ability to interact with nature can calm our minds and provide a much-needed break from the rush and bustle of everyday life.
Noise pollution is a common stressor in modern urban environments and can harm mental health.
Thoughtful architectural design can help reduce noise levels and create quieter spaces.
Building location, soundproofing materials, and acoustic considerations may contribute to a quieter environment.
A calm atmosphere enhances a feeling of serenity and calm, which leads to improved mental health outcomes.
Colors and materials:
The colors and materials used in a building may elicit emotional responses in people.
Warm, natural colors, such as earthy browns and gentle greens, can evoke feelings of safety and warmth.
On the other hand, bright and vibrant colors can lift morale and generate good feelings.
Incorporating natural materials, such as wood and stone,
may improve the overall well-being of residents by creating an environment that is warm,
inviting, and in sync with the natural world.
Creating specialized therapeutic areas within buildings may be part of conscious architectural design.
These areas have been created specifically to promote mental health, providing individuals with a place to relax and reduce feelings of anxiety, stress and exhaustion.
Meditation rooms, quiet corners or locations decorated with soothing themes provide
a much-needed respite from the fast-paced and demanding outside world, allowing residents to revitalize their minds and spirits.
Accessibility and inclusiveness:
Inclusive design concepts seek to make buildings and environments accessible to people of all abilities and backgrounds.
Promoting accessibility not only develops a sense of belonging and dignity for everyone, it also plays an important role in promoting mental health.
When places are created to meet the needs of all people,
a stronger sense of community is fostered, leading to improved mental health for all involved.
Architecture is emerging as an important tool in promoting mental health as we strive to create healthier and more supportive communities.
Every element of architectural design may help reduce sadness and anxiety,
from the use of natural light and biophilic design to promoting social connectedness including therapeutic areas.
We can build an environment that nourishes the mind,
body and spirit by prioritizing mental health in the architectural process, ultimately promoting a happier, more resilient society.
More on INJ Architects: