Residential architecture and atmosphere: what is the impact on wellbeing and health?
Paper in proceedings, 2016
Research within healthcare architecture has shown that how our built environment is designed affects our healing capacities (Sternberg 2009, Ulrich 1984). However, we still need to explore how residential architecture influence our wellbeing, in light of the growing knowledge of how spaces influence our emotions and physical reactions (Sternberg 2009). This case study recognizes this need, and investigates the architecture of the home and how it affects the residents´ sense of wellbeing and health.
To understand the interplay between human being and the built environment, we use the concept of atmosphere, which has been proposed as a way to describe architectural quality (Pallasmaa, Havik et al 2014, Zumthor 2006). In a previous study, this concept was adopted to perform a semantic concept analysis in a residential architecture context, and the results from that analysis will form the theoretical basis of this investigation.
The aim of this case study is to illuminate the connections between residential architecture, atmosphere, well-being and health in Norra Älvstranden which is a former harbour area in the centre of Gothenburg, Sweden. Little research has been done on residents´ own perceptions of the residential architecture of that area where development started in the 1990s. Adult residents of the selected projects will be invited to participate to semi-structured interviews, in order to explore and analyze connections between architecture and health. Perceived quality of architecture will be investigated through the semantic concept analysis of atmosphere, as described above. Health and wellbeing as perceived by the participants will be investigated by using the KASAM questionnaire developed on the basis of Antonovsky’s (1991) theory of salutogenesis.
The results from the study will contribute to a better understanding of the connections between residential architecture, wellbeing and health. This knowledge can be applied in future residential architecture design processes.
well-being & health