Wellness is a Building Material
22 February 2022
Our lives are closely shaped by the buildings that we occupy, and these buildings are in turn shaped by their physical context. Making healthy places is about getting the right balance between many different factors, but what exactly does this recipe look like?
For us, it begins with nature. Offering people physical and visual connections to the natural world – whether it’s open countryside, a park, garden or balcony – can literally broaden horizons, as well as offering opportunities to grow food, escape, exercise or simply take a breath of fresh air.
Connection to a natural setting also shapes internal spaces: daylight that changes in quality throughout the day, a feeling of quietness and calm but not silence, a clean and fresh atmosphere, the sight of a tree or passers-by. Ideally, this internal space should be uncompromised. Whether it’s a home or a workplace – or both – it has to be adaptable and flexible, enabling its intended function but also allowing the possibility of other uses.
Another important factor is community spirit. We try to design places that reinforce this, whether corporate or domestic. This might include creating safe places to play at the doorstep of your home, or including welcoming and accessible spaces (either indoors or out) where people can gather informally. Cars are moved to the periphery to put the focus on pedestrian or cycle movement in shared streets.
The final ingredient is the materials themselves. Not everyone who uses our buildings will have a conscious response to the way that they are constructed and finished, but we believe that by choosing materials that are natural, responsible and lasting, the places we make can feel implicitly healthier and more uplifting.