Can residential architecture constitute a part of a human-enriched environment and contribute to recovery, prevention and stress reduction?
Book chapter, 2020
The physical environment and its importance to human health is a subject of growing interest, research, and knowledge. One way to understand what this link could potentially look like is to study the concept of the enriched environment (EE), which has long served as a model for studying the diverse effects of the environment on mental health underpinned by changes to the structure and function of the brain. Although the concept is regarded to be promising in healthcare and rehabilitation contexts, and overwhelming evidence exists from animal models, there is still limited evidence for a defined, corresponding model for humans in clinical settings. However, there is now emerging interest related to the architecture and design of residential homes and workplaces being health promoting or restorative. The authors put forward different concepts of how residential architecture could provide opportunities for an enriched environment providing potential stress reduction. The concepts-spatial extension, movement, materials and detailing-will provide a point of departure for further qualitative and quantitative studies on how architecture and design could potentially contribute to a holistic health care concept where the home is set to be a new epicenter for health promotion and personalized care.