Architects are uniquely positioned to help address many of the health challenges our society faces today—including COVID-19. From asthma to obesity, diabetes to depression, a growing body of practice-based evidence is clearly demonstrating the profound impact that forward-looking design decisions can have on human health for individuals and communities. When an equitable approach to health impacts becomes central to the products we specify and spaces we design, transformational outcomes quickly appear.
By using evidence-based approaches, designers can mitigate pollutants that harm public health, promote physical activity that lowers the risk of chronic diseases, alleviate anxiety and stress, and improve emotional well-being—among other things—to enhance quality of life.
Design a healthier built environment
It is critical to consider the physical, mental, and emotional effects a building has on its occupants and the surrounding community. Dive deeper with these AIA resources.
Reopening America: Strategies for safer buildings
The COVID-19 pandemic has risked the public's health and safety in buildings across the US and beyond. As states began reopening communities, AIA embarked on an initiative to explore how design strategies, backed by science, can be a public health solution.
Design for Well-being
Good design supports health and well-being for all people, considering physical, mental, and emotional effects on building occupants and the surrounding
AAH Academy Journal
The Academy Journal explores new trends, industry-wide issues, and emerging technology for improving health outcomes..
Select better materials
Good design supports health and well-being. Examining the toxicity of the materials and finishes you use on a project can make a measurable, positive impact on the health of people interacting with the building. Explore the resources below to better understand the impact of the materials you specify.
This pledge has been developed with a vision of a holistic approach to the way architects and designers evaluate the products and finishes that we specify. The Architecture & Design Materials Pledge was developed to inspire a shift in how we evaluate the products and finishes that we specify on a daily basis. Participants commit to five overarching statements that will lead to more intentional product specification across their portfolios over time.
Healthier Materials Protocol
The new AIA Healthier Materials Protocol was created to provide clear, practical methods and tools to navigate materials and effectively translate awareness to practice. The document provides a stepwise method for setting healthier materials goal and criteria definitions, product selection, tracking, and specification, no matter the size and scope of the project.
ROI: Healthier, more productive occupants
At the heart of our built environment—whether homes, offices, schools, or other building types—are the occupants. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Americans spend 87% of their time inside buildings, making the built environment they inhabit critical. Businesses, individuals, and society benefit from better working environments. Key health benefits include improved air quality, thermal comfort, and access to daylight. A study found that high-performance design elements that address these key benefits produced a total net value of $55.47/sf for increased productivity and $9.03/sf for improved health and wellness, through reduced absenteeism and missed work time, [GB1] [DM2] over 10 years (Attema 2018).
Support healthier building outcomes
Join one of our networks or an upcoming event to learn from your peers and share your best practices.