Building Health: The Link Between Architecture and Well-Being
Architecture has been shaped by health crises throughout history, here’s how experts believe that building designs may adapt as we learn from this one.
This article was originally published on Christie’s International Real Estate’s lifestyle blog, Luxury Defined.
Ask architectural historian Mohammad Gharipour what he believes to be one of the biggest influences on architecture throughout history, and his answer is simple: health. “When you consider a more holistic definition of health—its physical, mental, social, and emotional aspects—you realize how significantly urban designs have been impacted,” he says. Architecture and well-being go hand in hand.
There’s proof that, long before COVID-19, building designs responded to the health concerns of the time. Most recently, early Modernist architects embraced glass, clean lines, and access to outdoor space—believing that light and air were the best treatments for tuberculosis. But, says Gharipour, the idea of designing for well-being stretches back to the very first buildings themselves.
“In Europe, the Ancient Greeks put emphasis on social, and therefore emotional, health in their designs. The Romans then took urban infrastructure more seriously—for example, by finding ways to deliver healthy water and sanitation to their citizens. It’s an approach you’ll see in the history of almost every culture.
“One of the best examples in architecture is hospital design,” he continues. “Hospitals went through major changes during and after crises, as societies realized they needed to enhance the health infrastructure within cities.”
So how will this health crisis affect current architectural design? “Before the pandemic, the economy was humming along and people were working hard, so the focus of our designs was on providing ways for them to disconnect,” says Adam Winig, architect and co-owner of California-based design firm Arcsine. “But a lot of that was indoors, and the way we approached spacing was totally different. Now, the biggest change is that people want to incorporate an even greater sense of well-being along with an increased sense of sanitary safety.”
As a firm that includes hospitality, residential, and office design within its expertise, Arcsine has had to consider the challenges faced by each type of public and private area. “On the residential side, people who are working at home are more than ever looking to create home offices that even extend to having conference space,” Winig says. “We’re also working on providing home office spaces that can be accessed without having to enter the main residence.
“For large companies, reopening offices revolves around reducing occupancy and having more open areas, such as freestanding open space for conferencing within the larger office. On the other hand, hotels and restaurants are doing whatever they can to make the most of the outdoors,” he continues.
People now want to incorporate an even greater sense of well-being with an increased sense of sanitary safety—Adam Winig
“The hotels we’ve seen do really well are properties that already have infrastructure that allows people to feel safe. Bernardus Lodge & Spa in California’s Carmel Valley has a series of small buildings that open to the outdoors, and a lobby that opens on both sides with really good airflow. Overall, it’s a very outdoor-conducive environment.”
The approach people take inevitably varies across cultures, as David T’Kint, the Dubai-based partner of global design firm HBA, points out. “Here in the Middle East, residential design often incorporates two separate sections of a house: a private space for close family, and a public space for entertaining, with separate points of access to each. I believe we might start seeing more of this further afield, as people look for greater control of hygiene.”
“When you look at the public spaces in hospitality, one of the first things to come to mind is the lobby,” he says. “Traditionally, the hotel lobby is a grand space, empty except for a reception desk on one side and concierge on the other. Over time, it’s evolved to be a social gathering space. Now, it may become more of a transitional space, with someone there to meet you instead of a reception desk and the technology to check in online.”
“Although we have to keep in mind that human beings exist through interactions with others,” T’Kint adds. “As designers, we’re going to have to be creative in how we sculpt these spaces to create semi-private areas that still have interactive elements.”
Well into the Future
“At the moment, a lot of design is based around temporary solutions, such as partitions and creating social distance within existing spaces,” says Winig. “But there’s also a shift towards more permanent mechanical systems, especially ventilation that can more effectively bring outside air in or sanitize the air circulating within a building.
“Different business models will have to adapt in different ways. But I’m hopeful that they’ll recognize this as opportunity to find long-lasting solutions, which prioritize well-being.”
Just Listed on Lake Simcoe: 968 Degrassi Cove Pl W, Innisfil
This custom home direct waterfront home was built in 2000 by the current owner and has served as a sanctuary for family and friends. Over their 22 years of ownership, they have enjoyed the property during every season.
Degrassi Cove is a small and exclusive waterfront community and share the private road. The forested lands on the opposite side of the street provide great privacy. There is no vehicle traffic other than the neighbours, so it is very safe for kids.
Built as a 4-season home and located on the west-side of Lake Simcoe. You will enjoy north-west facing views of the lake and sunsets. There are no stairs to the water’s edge. The water table is level to the lot, which offers a beautiful beach area along the shoreline. There is great swimming and boating. The portable dock is 65 ft long with a 12’ x 12’ patio area. Boating enthusiasts can store their boat in the dry boathouse. Entertaining on the lake is so easy!
The home offers 2,700 sf on the main and upper level. The principal rooms offer generous space including a large private family room, formal dining room, large great room combined with the eat-in kitchen. In addition, there is 1,535 sf of finished space on the walk-out level. There are four generous size bedrooms. The primary bedroom is situated on the main level and overlooks the lake, and includes a five-piece ensuite, a walk-in closet and a garden door to the lakeside patio area. The three other bedrooms are located on the second floor.
The lower level includes a large recreation room with wood-burning fireplace and a walk-out to the lake. A large office with a built-in desk and bookcases can serve as a large 5th bedroom. The 3-piece bathroom is also equipped with a partially finished cedar-lined sauna. There is plenty of storage space on this level too.
Photography by @ishutterphoto
Staging by @chateau_designandstaging
This professionally designed custom-built home embodies a comfortable, vintage cottage feel built with energy efficient maintenance-free materials. This home offers a private park-like setting, with in- town conveniences. It’s a nature lover’s lot…a sanctuary for birds and wildlife. This one in in a million home was showcased in a 16-page spread in Cottages & Bungalows Magazine.
Shiplap walls and wood slat ceilings throughout impart a cabin-like coziness. The primary bedroom is secluded on the main floor overlooking a wooded area that surrounds the property. The front office duals as an additional main floor bedroom adjacent to a 3-piece bathroom. The upper level includes two additional bedrooms that provide enhanced privacy for guests. One of the bedrooms functions as a seating area with a Murphy bed and small kitchenette. It has been designed as a secure space for future rental opportunity.
Located in the charming lakeside village of Bayfield, this property is a stone-throw away from Lake Huron, a short walk to town, the fishing pier and marina, Pioneer Park and the Community playground. This spectacular property backs on to a designated environmental area and surrounded by trees makes it an ideal retreat for entertaining family and friends.
It’s no secret that green has been trending in a major way lately. Not only does the leafy shade conjure the sensation of being outdoors after two years cooped up at home, it also is a versatile (and welcome) alternative to traditional colors like white and gray.
Sweet 3 bedroom home that has a light and airy feel to the interior. Vaulted ceiling with open concept design creates a welcoming feel with plenty of natural sunlight all afternoon. Hardwood floors in bedrooms. Updated interior ready to be moved in to. It is a special place to call home or cottage.
Large wrap-around deck features West-facing views of 2-acre park of which you would be a 1/10th owner. Private dock for all park owners. Deeded Lake Simcoe access is rare to find. Very private setting with mature trees.
Message us today for more information or to book private showing.
staging by @chateau_designandstaging
photography by @ishutterphoto
20 Quiet Heights Lane, Georgina provides views of the lake from all spaces on the west side of them home, including the great room, kitchen, dining area, and primary bedroom.
You will enjoy the morning sunrise from the front covered porch and of course, sunset views from the lakeside. The natural sunlight fills the home with warmth and light all day long. It’s tranquil, serene, and welcoming.
In the design stages, the current owner had some important “must-have’s” including a Muskoka like feel, spaciousness, sun-filled rooms, and an “understated elegance“ carried throughout the home.
Some of the interior features include:
– 3 bedrooms on main level and 2 additional bedrooms on the lower level
– 3 full bathrooms plus powder room
– 10.9 ft ceiling height on the main level and 9 ft ceiling height on the lower level
– Great room includes custom millwork and 13 ft vaulted coffered ceiling
– Gourmet kitchen with upgraded appliances
– Spectacular light fixtures including ceiling fans in each bedroom
– Custom drapery and blinds
– Radiant heated floors in kitchen, primary ensuite and the entire lower level
– Surround sound system both indoors and outdoors
A full list of room features, additional images, virtual tour, and more can be found on our website (link in bio).
This listing is also available on realtor.ca (MLS# N5657656)
When you combine the attention to detail of a quality builder with the owner’s vision to create a sanctuary home, the result is spectacular.
This home offers a “Zen” feel immediately upon your arrival.
The landscaping is wonderfully appointed with a collection of perennial gardens, shrubs, mature trees and privacy hedges on both sides, which is home to many birds. There are several seating areas promote great conversation with family and friends or a place to enjoy some quiet time when you want to be alone and enjoy nature all around you.
This is a wonderful home to entertain in both indoors and outdoors. The raised balcony includes a covered area where you can enjoy a summer rain shower. The open area provides lots of space for your chaise loungers to get some sun and watch an array of boats on the lake.
The lower deck is covered and a perfect location for the 7-seater plus lounger hot tub along with another separate seating area to enjoy the lake views.
Listing Price: $1,935,000
DM us to book a private viewing.
The full listing can be found on our site & on realtor.ca (MLS# N5657656)