Health and Buildings

This course investigates the interactions between humans and buildings with a focus on environmental sustainability and health. The exploration will fall into three categories:

  • How do humans interact with buildings, especially how does occupant behavior impact building performance, such as energy efficiency?
  • How do buildings impact humans, in terms of wellness and health?
  • Considering 1 and 2, how can we how can we design better buildings?

Too many architecture projects that are “green” on paper, fail to live up to their predicted performance once occupied by real people. A better understanding of how occupants interact with buildings could help reduce the uncertainty associated with building performance upgrades, and remove this barrier preventing investment in better building design. 

In this course, students will also explore how architects can influence occupant behavior. This is an elusive yet weighty goal in terms of mitigating climate change and improving public health. Finally, students will investigate design concepts that encourage physical activity, improve indoor air quality, and impact other aspects of health, such as sleep quality and circadian rhythms. In short, students will seek to answer the question: how can we build positive human interactions with the spaces we design?