FrameWorks: A Design for Wellbeing series


The translation of research insights into built form is an imprecise process, but the architectural design framework (or guideline) has long been a primary mode of communication between theorists, architects, urban planners and engineers back to the time of Vitruvius.

The upcoming FrameWorks series of articles highlight a selection of human-centred design frameworks, historical and contemporary. As design frameworks have developed from aesthetic guides to safeguards of social and environmental health and comfort, they account for more and more human impacts: ergonomics, air quality, circulation, even the mental health of occupants. Advances in life sciences have refined the ability to quantify our psychophysiological wellbeing, and these metrics are coded into guidelines, reflecting the research of the time.

The articles will look at a framework's scientific backing, applicability, and built projects which exemplify the primary design principles. Perhaps most interestingly, we will explore the assumptions of personal or community wellness and the relationship between human and built environment that underpin each design framework. The definition of wellbeing has evolved, and so too has our ability to understand its spatial determinants. An understanding of the foundations which have led to our current standards of practice is valuable for all designers and researchers working to build a better, more equitable world.
Looking forward to diving in!

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What are the theoretical driving forces behind new human-centred hospital design?

Whereas architects like Otto Wagner and Louis Sullivan see the development of original style and (by extension, ornament) as a necessary part of the style, Loos believes that the ‘failure’...
Density of brain connections in the brain, by age. : Adapted from Corel, JL. The postnatal development of the human cerebral cortex. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University...
Places designed for humans, at any scale, need to recognize and reflect our species’ 6 most fundamental space-related needs.

What is it that makes these spaces more comfortable, both psychologically and physiologically, for some people more than others?
Henry Wotton stated the three conditions of well-built Architecture, as first outlined by Vitruvius, in “The Elements of Architecture” as “Commoditie, Firmenes, and Delight.” [1] The book, published in 1624,...