When viewing the night sky, most of us feel an intimate connection to the universe. Yet starry skies and moonlit nights have become increasingly rare for city-dwellers today. Given the harm that too much light at night is inflicting on human beings and ecosystems, it is time to reconsider our relationship to the ‘nocturnal side’ of our lives and our culture.
Commercial Skylights Blog
While the science of well-being is relatively nascent, the UK Government’s ‘Foresight’ project sheds a great deal of light on five factors that have a proven effect on well-being1, leading to the definition of the Five Ways to Well-Being (connect, keep active, take notice, keep learning, give).2 The question remains, though, how do we design buildings that can positively influence these five factors?
Over the last one and a half centuries, artificial light and the restructuring of working times have seemingly ‘liberated’ us from the diurnal cycles of light and dark that nature imparts on us. Yet recent research has shown that this separation from nature comes at a considerable cost, causing health and social problems. A reconnection to the rhythms of nature is therefore needed – and this will also have a profound influence on architecture.
How do you design and operate a healthy building? Answers to these questions can be found in an increasing number of methodologies and rating schemes that have seen the light around the world in recent years. They all share the ambition to strengthen the health and well-being of building users. Yet, they vary widely in terms of their overall scope, the metrics they use as proof of performance, and the weight that they put on the different phases in a building’s life cycle. The following chronological overview presents a selection of the most important and forward-looking tools, as well as their underlying methodologies.
A considerable body of research shows that people prefer daylit spaces to those lacking natural light. Why should this be? If there is sufficient light to see, why would people prefer one source to another? To answer this question, we need to understand the evolved relationship between humans and natural light
To truly enhance human well-being, building design needs to move beyond optimising single parameters such as temperature and humidity, to more holistic approaches that take their cues in health-supporting human behaviours. Based on the Five Ways to Well-Being that have recently been established by scientists, this article outlines the way architects can consider these aspects in their designs, in order to nudge building users into a healthier way of living.
All over the world, natural daylight has been exchanged for artificial light forms at the expense of our health and even productivity. With better building design, though, we can reclaim the daylight and improve well-being and performance
Children spend more time within the walls of their school than anywhere else but their own homes. How much time are we talking about?
For the approximately 64 million European, school-aged children who each spend about 200 days a year in educational institutions, with 70% of that day indoors, this comes out to around one full year spent indoors - in school, by the time they exit primary school.1
Did you know that well-designed classrooms have a significant influence on academic performance? Studies have found that improved physical characteristics of classrooms can boost the learning outcomes of students.
Hessenwald School in Weiterstadt, Germany, is an example of energy-efficient, contemporary architecture that offers a new teaching and pedagogical model. At the centre of both model and building stands a well-lit and well-ventilated three-storey atrium.
Ryparken Lille Skole (literally "Ryparken little school") is situated in a century-old former textile factory in Copenhagen. For years the school and its inhabitants suffered from the building’s decrepit conditions, until in the early 2010s, the school board decided to start a major renovation project.
While stimulation, colour and visual complexity are important to creating a vibrant learning environment in classrooms, what is the healthy balance between under-stimulation and over-stimulation?
Well-designed classrooms can improve students’ learning progress by around 16% in a single year. Ownership and flexibility account for a quarter of this learning impact, so let’s take a look at these important factors in terms of classroom design.
Just like the bowls of porridge in the well-known fairytale of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, the temperature in classrooms should be neither too hot, nor too cold, but just right.
One important function of the building envelope is to protect the interior from unwanted outdoor noise. Sound insulation is an important parameter of building components, as outdoor noise can have negative effects on health, mood and learning capabilities.
Poor indoor air quality can not only seriously inhibit students’ concentration and overall performance, but can also lead to increased absenteeism due to illness. Adequate ventilation is therefore imperative for healthy classroom design to help students flourish.
We all know that the best antidote to the ‘winter blues’ is a break in a warmer, sunnier climate, preferably with white sandy beaches and clear blue waters.
Have you ever thought about how 64 million European children spend more time at school than anywhere else other than their own home?
Well-designed classrooms can help boost the academic performance of students. One of the deciding factors is a good acoustic environment. In this article, we look at what noise in classrooms really means, and how architects and designers can minimise its negative effects.
In 2012 local authorities ended more than 10 years of talks by adopting a plan to refurbish the old vocational school in Huddinge, Sweden. The school, originally built in 1961, represented classic 60s architecture and was good quality.
There’s no doubt that the physical design of classrooms can have a positive or negative effect on children’s learning outcomes. One of the key factors identified by studies over the past several decades is the importance of consistent thermal comfort.
Schools are complex environments, where a wide variety of factors interplay to determine the kind of experience children will have, whether in the physical, intellectual or social domain.
Did you know that well-designed classrooms make a significant difference
Giving young school children a sense of ownership of "their" classroom promotes a sense of self-worth and responsibility and has also been shown to improve academic performance.