How Healthy Are We Building?

Posted by: Amy Giangiulio 03/31/2023

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The commercial design industry has seen a significant shift in recent years towards designs that prioritize the well-being of a building’s occupants. We see new trends emerging in our offices, hospitality spaces, and even public transit. As a result, occupant wellness has become a top priority for many commercial architects, interior designers, and building owners.

We’ve put together a list of some of the most popular trends in commercial design and the way they’re shaping the built environment for individuals.


Biophilic Design

Biophilic design is based on the concept of bringing nature into the built environment. This design approach utilizes natural elements, such as plants and water features, to improve air quality and create a calming and relaxing atmosphere. The use of natural materials, such as wood, stone, and clay, can also help to create a sense of warmth and comfort.


Natural light

Lighting is an essential aspect of commercial design, and it can have a significant impact on occupant wellness. The use of natural lighting has been shown to improve mood, increase productivity, and even reduce stress. Many designers are incorporating daylighting strategies into their designs, such as skylights and windows that allow natural light to enter the space.


Air Quality

In an effort to increase air quality across built environments, a special focus has been turned to HVAC systems in retrofit applications and new construction. Many architects and designers have also incorporated natural air into their designs by adding terraces or balconies to commercial spaces. With the addition of a rolling or sectional door, the outside environment can easily add to the footprint of a building while adding to the occupant’s overall health.


Health and Safety

The health and safety of building occupants have become a top priority in commercial design. With the recent pandemic, designers are now incorporating features such as touchless technology and air filtration systems. They are also keeping health in mind when selecting building materials and scaling back from the use of materials that contain carcinogenic chemicals.


Equitable Spaces for Holistic Health

One of the most encouraging trends in architecture and design is added intentionality to ensure commercial spaces are accessible to the community in all levels of socioeconomic standing. This means creating access and approachability for all occupants, to create a welcoming environment for all. Mental health, shown to improve with regular contact with one’s neighbors and community, was addressed as an area of health that needs ongoing attention in commercial design.


In conclusion, commercial design is moving towards occupant wellness as a top priority. Architects and designers alike are incorporating elements that promote comfort, health, and productivity. With these trends in mind, commercial buildings are becoming healthier and more enjoyable places to work and visit.


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