What is the role of environments as we progress into the 21st century? Of course, they still provide places for living, working, learning, healing, and playing – but the way in which environments will nurture these activities is changing as we evolve into the future. In particular, the convergence of responsive design with multi-sensory design can bring about a new kind of nurturing, where building occupants learn and grow within environments.
Being more than simply about meeting needs, architectural places will also guide, teach, and inspire in new ways. For example, a hospital can not only help a patient to heal with improved quality more quickly, but the architecture can also help the medical team to fine-tune their emotional intelligence – particularly during high stress situations. What if a hospital could inspire new, more creative compassionate healthcare? In this way, the environment would create personalized space to help the medical team, the patient’s family/visitors, and even the patient, themselves, to nurture their feelings and behaviors toward even more creative compassionate healing.
With multi-sensory design, it is important to study context when orchestrating the stimuli of an environments into a design. For example, a certain sound or color may trigger anxiety in a hospital, while sparking excitement or energy in another setting. By factoring for the context of an occupant’s situation or experience, a design can be better “tuned” to help occupants gain emotional intelligence about their situation and what steps to take next. This will help them to make better decisions that, in turn, help them to reach their short or longer term goals.
As you design your architectural concepts, be sure to think more than about how your building occupants would react. Take your design vision further. When formulating your concept, think of how your building can help your occupant to become smarter – not just intellectually, but emotionally as well. This will help their ability to perform at those optimal levels in a multitude of situations.
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