May 31, 2023

How One’s Mental Health Connects to Architecture

Awareness about mental health has been prominently vocal at this day and age. During the recent pandemic, rampant lockdowns and daily routines caused a severe distress to most people, especially frontline workers. With this, many health agencies view it as a health emergency. Even after the pandemic had reached its peak, public awareness of mental illness, social anxieties and other mental disparities became more prominent. There is now an urgency for prioritization of mental health.

In architecture, mental health falls on the category of safety and security. But there is an underlying link between mental health and architecture. Any aspect of it, from shape to color, from the interior style to the arrangement of facilities, can set a mental framework for occupants and shape their perception. When design inspires cognition, a vibrant design brings motivation.

Recognizing the role of architecture towards mental health means not only mapping out the most applicable designs in the market, but also fostering an amiable built environment that prioritizes health and wellbeing. So, it is incumbent to employ these basic principles of a healthy building:

Establish every design detail with a clear mindset of hospitality.

Every design is a product of the vision towards its end users. So, every detail should enable users to achieve that function or vision. And it starts with applying an amiable, hospitable design. Whether it be backdoor offices or residential complexes, they should impart an environment that welcomes patrons wholly.

Hospitality improvements can come in the form of well-managed facilities, open accessibility and available adjustments that users can enjoy. It is doubling the office perks, the customer conveniences and the stationed services. And psychologically, it gives users a looser environment to adjust and enjoy, enabling them rather than inhibiting them.

Apply notion that every corner encourages social gatherings and interactions.

One of the main takeaways of the importance of tending one’s mental health is that everyone has a part to play in creating a safe social setting. Thus, for architecture, any intricate detail should welcome a positive environment and communal mindset. Regardless, such environments should welcome social connections and connectedness.

But it all boils down to the exact culture needed to be enforced. A multi-used project can advocate for environmental causes that it would be a draw for patrons who value ecologically-sound destinations. And a major business player should prompt a vibrant office design to promote their topnotch employee-driven performance.

Expand safety and security measures on every corner and facility.

At a time of heightened concern for health and wellbeing, occupants seek for spaces that are safe and secure from outside threats. And when such problems surface, there are established measures to resolve them. While the urban environment has a role, it starts with the four corners of every space.

On achieving sound spaces that tends to our mental health, safety and security are imperative factors that tend to the assistance and protection of occupants. It is a level of quality to have 24/7 first aid, medical emergencies, safety protocols and consistent safekeeping that keep users assured of their protection.

Offer calm, comfortable spaces, from open spaces to personal areas.

Stress is easily one of the detractors of anyone’s mental health. Thus, whether it be office spaces or private settings, every corner should bring a level of comfort. Or more likely, any physical environment should provide separate spaces for relaxation. This can take in the form of gardens, cafes, benches, lounges or other common areas.

For offices, personal workstations should be conducive for productivity, with comfortable seating, warmer aesthetics and minimal disruptions. For commercial establishments, customer lounges add to the experience for the most avid shoppers. For terminals, available seating limits any stress of travel, and aids commuters needing assistance.

Set up open-air spaces for active movement and physical activities.

Perceiving a kinetic environment is perceiving an efficient working environment. And on adding to wellbeing, a more open space matters. That is why nowadays, wide-open spaces are not perceived as detriments to workplace culture or social settings, but cognitive adjustments for a less stressful and a more productive built environment.

Part of it is strategically assigning every space and their peripheries. Outdoor areas can be designated for physical activities and exercises. Assembly halls are for any type of gatherings. And play areas would be filled with sports equipment and tabletops. Staying true to these assignments would be seamlessly perceived mentally.

Map out lighting that is amiable for every area’s purpose.

Any space would not be adequate without decent lighting. The presence and absence of light can affect our cognitive functions. Thus, the type and exposure of lighting factor in to overall mental wellbeing. Darker rooms may cause a more negative mood, while overly-lit spaces can affect our sight and perception.

A smart lighting setup can support the physical, emotional and physiological stimulation around our built environment with the way we perceive colors and figures over their designs. Additionally, healthy natural light makes for more animated spaces and vibrant surroundings that offer comfort, convenience and cordiality for end users towards nature.

Select vibrant colors and dynamic form to set the tone.

It is natural for any type of color to have a specific cognitive effect on us. Each represents a particular mood or temperament that translate to various forms. Red represents passionate emotions. Purple signifies placidity. Blue connotes coolness. Orange denotes positivity. And so on. They each have a psychological stamp.

On applying these colors towards design, it all starts on envisioning the user experience. Whether it be an office setting or a residential unit, the choices of color can stimulate a different experience. And on tending to one’s mental health, apply more appropriate hues to create visual attentiveness and positivity.

Examine the necessary visual cues, avoiding sensory deprivation and overload.

However, there is a limit to the vibrancy and the aesthetics needed for spaces, depending on their nature. Sensory deprivation may causes stress and mental impairment, if not careful on the excessive décor, the flashy colors and the visual overload for such spaces. However, this may apply to spaces with zero design and austere hues.

The key here is simplicity. For a current generation that is critical on visual gratification and information overload, less speaks more. And less gives more mental leeway to adapt to the environment and to process any perception. And lean to visual cues that inspire patrons.

Include vegetation such as plants and landscaping to the mix.

Green architecture improves health and wellbeing. Hence, more contemporary designs lean to biophilic features. This involves the presence of vegetation like urban gardens, landscaped areas and ornamental plants indoor and outdoor. It may also include clean water and wildlife sanctuaries. And it also promote awareness to issues affecting the environment.

The draw is for consumers to find their mental security in nature, away from the hassle of city living and urban-centered commitments. That contributes to an ideal lifestyle balance found on urban areas. And as a remedy, biophilic designs and vegetative features help reduce the effects of several mental disparities.

Open communication towards end users and choose your words wisely.

Architects and designers are not alone on cultivating a positive environment to tend one’s mental health. It is an open exchange between them and end users on what factors to incorporate. Helping matters are considering recommendations from mental health experts and psychologists, who are aware of environmental and visual triggers.

With establishing this connection, end users can also be assured of the competency for architects and designers to handle their plans. It truly goes back on setting up a culture of hospitality and empathy. And importantly, assured words can help those seeking the mental health benefits of their surrounding spaces.

About GLAS

GLAS is an all-glass tower and premier office address, located in Ortigas, Pasig City. Bringing world-class design and green technologies, this state-of-the-art, 188-meter edifice features 102,000 square meters of Grade A office spaces and retail areas within its 42-story, 3-basement structure. Its innovative features that exceeds typical office building standards makes this is a PEZA-registered location. And setting benchmarks in green architecture marks it as a LEED-certified Platinum office tower.

GLAS is designed and built by internationally acclaimed firm, ASYA Design. For leasing inquiries, you may contact Espace Leasing and Marketing at (02) 8801 6888 or email us at