Framework for Design Excellence: 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 community.

  • How can the design encourage a healthy lifestyle?
  • How can the project provide for greater occupant comfort?
  • How can the project be welcoming and inclusive for all?
  • How can the project connect people with place and nature?
  • How can material selection reduce hazards to occupants?

Focus topics

  • natural and artificial lighting
  • thermal comfort
  • indoor air quality
  • mental and social well-being
  • acoustics
  • movement /exercise
  • nourishment

If you can do only one (or a few) thing(s):

  • Design interior and exterior paths and public and semi-public destinations to encourage positive informal social interaction among neighbors, acquaintances, and associates.
  • Provide operable windows in regularly occupied spaces.
  • Give occupants individual control over their immediate thermal and lighting systems.
  • Maximize indoor air quality through increased outside air and pollutant mitigation.
  • Include biophilic elements that engage a variety of senses.
  • Vary environments to promote physical activity.
  • Provide occupants with access to plentiful filtered drinking water.

Additional information

This publication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is published and distributed with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering professional services. If professional advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought.

AIA does not sponsor or endorse any enterprise, whether public or private, operated for profit. Further, no AIA officer, director, committee member, or employee, or any of its component organizations in his or her official capacity, is permitted to approve, sponsor, endorse, or do anything that may be deemed or construed to be an approval, sponsorship, or endorsement of any material of construction or any method or manner of handling, using, distributing, or dealing in any material or product.

Image credits

The Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design-19

Jonathan Hillyer

A image of a green roof in fall so the grass is dead and there are people walking around.

Bruce Damonte

Rainier Beach Clinic-34

Benjamin Benschneider

Front of the Bristol Community College John J. Sbrega Health and Science Building at dusk