Academy of Architecture for Health

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The Academy of Architecture for Health (AAH) provides knowledge which supports the design of healthy environments by creating education and networking opportunities for members of – and those touched by – the health care architectural profession.

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You can contribute information to the AIA COVID-19 project database, and view all submitted projects. Visit the Alternative Care Sites preparedness site to learn important areas to evaluate when selecting ACSs for the care and treatment of COVID-19 or surge capacity patients.

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Health and the Built Environment: A Paradigm Shift

  • 1.  Health and the Built Environment: A Paradigm Shift

    Posted 03-11-2024 09:35 AM

    It is time for a paradigm shift in our approach to the design of built environment. As most people spend more than 90% of their lives in and about the built environment i.e., architecture, we need to address the human health and wellbeing as the central mission of all architecture. It is not enough to only address health issues in healing environments but we need to understand our responsibility as the architects of the de facto human environment which has replaced the natural environment. 

    Over 3.5 billion years life's biological rhythms have evolve in direct response to the natural environmental conditions. The built environment in which we spend most of our living hours, now, differs from the natural environment with consequential impact on our health and overall wellbeing. As architect we need to be familiar with physiological impact of the designed environment and design for health optimization.  

    Now, I know well, that we are alway dealing with extremely critical issues which need our attention but we must understand that at the heart of all those issues, the main goal should be human condition. Today we are occupied with carbon footprint, energy efficiency, sustainability, and more but if we lose sight of the central mission of architecture we have no business calling ourselves architects. I am not saying the issues above are not worthy of our attention, on the contrary, I want to emphasize that what we do at the end is for human habitation on Earth and not some abstract notion of carbon for carbon sake. Look, Earth will live with or without us but we are the vulnerable subjects in need of certain environmental conditions.  

    So, please join me in this conversation to explore the conditions which can optimize the built environment for better mental and physiological health, performance, and wellbeing. 

    Ali Heshmati AIA
    Henning Larsen Architects