It is hard to believe or even consider the possibility of architecture being important to our mental and physical wellbeing. However, according to the studies and research being conducted, it is evident that architectural designs and choice of building materials have a great impact to our individual health as well as that of the public at large, as pointed out by Robert Ivy.
In his explanation, Robert Ivy quotes the words of the former leader of the CDC National Center for Environmental Health, and a renowned pediatrician, Dr. Richard Jackson, who said that designers, architects, and planners have more influence over peoples’ health than the doctors. This is not a new philosophy as it may seem, for the Feng Shui Chinese philosophy, has emphasized for thousands of years the importance of the environment to our health. More to that, there are also modern examples of people who held on to such philosophies since the early 20th century, the likes of biologist Rachel Carson, Jane Addams, among others.
Robert Ivy emphasizes that it’s no doubt that our health, temperament, destiny and much more are directly affected by the environments in which we have lived in. As illogical as this may sound, not only to the public but also to the public health officials, a good design can by far prevent an individual from getting ill. As a matter of fact, a research conducted by McGraw-Hill Constructions shows that many in the medical community barely get the connection between health and design, says Robert Ivy.
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Robert takes us back into looking at the various factors affecting public health which include heredity, diet, and social constraints. He is aware that bring design in the list may seem simplistic but the truth is that physical environment has a crucial but often overlooked role in public health. Professional planners and designers can largely affect non-communicable diseases, the likes of asthma, diabetes, heart disease, and obesity by provoking an active lifestyle or by keeping at bay toxic materials.
To back this point, Robert gives an example of the expanding obesity rates in the United States, affecting both children and adults. He says that embracing basic health design tactics by planners and architects, which encourage a walking community, would be a solution to a healthier future.
Robert further says that the building materials for our homes especially for interior designing need to be considered to ensure they are not home to all the harmful chemicals. He says that architects should take it upon themselves to source for constructing materials that are eco-friendly.
He concludes by saying that by us being the products of the environment we live in, it is up to us to shape it for the better.
Robert Ivy is the CEO and Executive Vice President of American Institute of Architecture. He went to Sewanee: the University if the South for a degree in Arts and has a Masters of Architecture from Tulane University.
The American Institute of Architects leading professional association for architects in the United States. The organization was founded in 1857 and was established with the focus on developing and improving the sector. Currently has 90,000 members. The American Institute of Architect is an organization that brings together architects. The founders of this organization did not want architects to operate as individuals. By coming together, they will support one another and grow the profession. Since then the organization has played a major role in advancing the interests of this profession.