How Green Design Improves Human Health

Architecture is made for people. All architectural design has an impact on the lives of its direct, indirect, and city users. The role of the architect is to make structures beneficial for everyone. First, the creation process should be guided by the need to improve human health in the urban setting. Thus, a project, whatever it may be, must give special attention to life. This can be achieved through the formal Vitruvian Triad – the fundamentals of architecture: firmitas (structure), utilitas (utility) and venustas (beauty). Among the many roles that architecture plays in society, human health improvement is among the most noble yet subtle. From the interior decoration details, to the design of the superstructure, the architect is free to create solutions involving either directly or indirectly the maintenance of welfare.

Innovative Interior Materials Reduce Toxins

Starting with the interior decorations, there are many innovative products that swap out toxic or allergic materials for green ones. Researchers are trying to find new materials to substitute all the synthetic and chemically processed materials. As a result, there are studies that show the minimizing of Asthma and general allergies through product selections. As for mental health, it has been proven that gardens, green roofs, and plants contribute to positive mental health, improve cognitive functions, and reduce stress. Bright daylight enhances our mood and neurological human health as well as reduces our dependence on electric light.

Vegetative roofs can purify air and contribute to better human health.

External Details Tackle Air Pollution

One of the most serious social problems in the modern era is air pollution, which has many causes. In large cities, the main villains are pollutant gases and soot particles expelled into the air by cars. This can lead to many diseases, like simple allergies or even cancer. In Mexico City – which has the most polluted air in the world – a German company called Prosolve installed a facade at Hospital Manuel Gea Gonzales, that filters pollutants from the surrounding air. The honeycombed structure is coated by a double layer of superfine titanium which, when in contact with sunlight, neutralizes different toxins from up to one thousand vehicles. In addition to improving the air quality, the structure serves as an elegant brise-soleil, also reducing the need for clean cooling systems within the hospital.

Hospital Superstructure Designed For Human Health

Proper ventilation and indoor lighting are extremely important for our quality of life and human health. They prevent the spread of many diseases and provide mental wellbeing. “There is no work of architecture without considering environmental issues” says Brazilian architect, João Filgueira, the creator of an effective ventilation and lighting system developed for network hospitals Sarah Kubitschek in Brazil. The system basically consists of massive metal sheds fitted internally with tippers and shutters that allow fresh air and natural light go inside. Externally, it has horizontal brise-soleils that free the environment from direct sunlight. Filgueira also developed an air conditioning system that cools the air from large galleries under the floor, pushing the warm air up and then leaving the sheds. Beyond the thermal comfort, these hospitals have large, colorful and beautiful gardens with integrated spaces, escaping the monotony of typical hospitals, and providing a more joyful and healthy experience essential for the recovery of the patients.

This external facade is designed to filter air pollution –  chronic problem in Mexico City.

Hospital Manuel Gae Gonzales in Mexico City, designed for human health.

As we can see,  these solutions were designed to improve health show how vast the range of possibilities is that architecture possesses. It also shows the enormous social responsibility of the architect. Architecture is not just designing spaces for housing. Architecture is designing spaces for living well.

About The Author

is a Brazilian Architecture student of Federal University of Bahia but currently studying in the University of Miami, United States. Has a particular love for design, innovations and the environment. Pinterest and Photography addict.