Since the time of Vitruvius, we architects have pondered the effect that our work might have on those who use the spaces we design; unfortunately, however, we set ourselves up as universal models, judging what ‘works’ or not for the occupants, without any explicit evidence to substantiate those ideas. Of course, the profession has changed over the last three decades; the experience of the occupant is paramount, and evidence-based design – particularly when it comes to performative environments for work, health and learning – has risen substantially in importance.
But as much as we claim – as architects, interior and urban designers – to understand the people who will occupy the spaces we design, how much do we really? Where does our knowledge come from and how do we use it? Do we help contribute to the evidence? Do our clients (and, if they do, do they pay for it)?
Architectural Research Consultancy (ARC), a company that researches how the built environment affects the way people think, feel and act, is attempting to find out the answers to just these questions. And they’re conducting a brief, anonymous online survey (it takes only 2 minutes) to learn more. They’ll be publishing their data later in the year, and we’ll be sure to share those results with you.
So take the survey here, and when you’re done, let us know in the comments – how much do you feel architects know about the social and psychological needs of occupants? And how much do they actually take them into account in their designs?