- Article by Natalie Mortimer
There’s been a huge amount of research into the effect of green spaces on our health, with many scientists agreeing that they can aid with healing. ADR speaks to Brent Hardcastle, associate, Wilson Architects about how to incorporate landscape into design to promote health and wellbeing.
What are the main challenges health centres face when designing new facilities?
A health centre’s top concern is ultimately the wellbeing of their patients and staff. It’s really important to design spaces that seamlessly integrate with nature to promote healing and wellbeing.
What have you found to be the top design elements that can influence a person’s health and wellbeing?
A patient’s experience plays a significant role in the successful treatment of chronic disease. This includes everything from air and light quality, connection with nature, down to the materials used in the design of health places.
Salutogenesis is a term coined by Aaron Antonovsky, describing an approach focusing on factors that support human health and wellbeing, rather than on factors that cause disease. More specifically, the “salutogenic model” is concerned with the relationship between health, stress, and coping.
How can incorporating landscape into the design impact on, and promote health and wellbeing?
Access to natural light and views to landscapes can have an important role in reducing the stresses associated with clinical patient care environments, which are all too often drab and disconnected from the outdoors.
These places often need to accommodate families and young children, and breakouts to landscaped areas or play spaces can bring a sense of intrigue and delight in exploring nature and place.
Studies show that images alone of greenery are proven to produce a soothing effect in stressful situations. Blood pressure, brain activity, respiration rate, and the production of stress hormones all decrease.
Nature not only provides a distraction from pain and discomfort but offers respite from the competing stimuli in our increasingly technology-focused lives.
Why is it important to consider staff and researchers’ wellbeing, as well as a patient’s, when designing a health project?
Creating a workplace which enables stimulation and wellbeing is just as important to staff and researchers in clinical workplaces as it is to the patient and visitor. A thoughtfully-designed workspace results in increased productivity and a high level of staff morale. This, in turn, leads to higher staff retention.