Bostadens arkitektur och berikad miljö
Doctoral thesis, 2019

Residential Architecture and Enriched Environments

The importance of the physical environment to human health is a subject of growing interest and research. One way to understand this link is through the concept of enriched environments. The concept has long served as a model for studying the positive effects the environment can have on mental health by effecting structure and function of the brain through stimulation. Enriched environments are characterized by offering a higher degree of multi-sensory stimulation through a combination of sensorimotor or cognitive stimulation and socialization. The scientific evidence for enriched environments from animal models is clear. However, there is still limited evidence and scientific definitions needed for a corresponding model for humans. They are to an even larger degree lacking in the context of the home.
The thesis addresses the issue how residential architecture can constitute an enriched environment through multisensory stimulation. The aim has been to formulate a series of studiable concepts that all touch on aspects of residential architecture, primarily focusing on architectural attributes in relation to cognitive stimulation and stress reduction, acknowledging that enriched environments can contribute to the development and enhancement of cognitive performance or to counteract the negative effects of various stressors also for healthy individuals.
The research approach is based on five separate studies that have informed one another in a successive development of knowledge in which theory and empirical material are interwoven and interpreted using the following methods: mapping review, semantic concept analysis, architectural analyses through figurative empirics and in-depth interviews with residents, and with architects.
The findings show three main areas with associated subgroupings of concepts and architectural attributes of the home: Spatial extension, Movement, and Materials and detailing.

A. Spatial extension
Spatial extension comprises diverging and converging views, variation and events in views, horizontal and vertical views, and the interface where the interior and exterior of the home meet.
Views in multiple directions can create a feeling of spaciousness. Contrast and variation in the character of the views provides stimulation and a complexity of experience, but also a feeling of spaciousness. The design of the interface between the home and its surroundings, and the link between that interface and the interior rooms of the home, create the conditions for a feeling of security and control.

B. Movement
Movement refers to the importance of variation, rhythm, and the passage between the home and its surroundings in the design.
The various aspects of movement are important to different experiences such as variation and complexity as well as freedom, spaciousness, and stimulation.

C. Materials and detailing
Materials and detailing refers to Abstract touch and Association.
Of importance is care in the selection of materials, the execution of the construction, and the way different materials come together and details are designed. But also how different materials, surfaces, and even forms work together through various sensory impressions to create a total experience. Association addresses how we can be positively impacted by materials or art when they connect us with meaningful aspects of, for example, nature.

The formulated concepts can be studied further through a multidisciplinary approach using both qualitative and quantitative methods focusing on factors such as stress reduction, control and motivation.


residential architecture



multisensory stimulation

enriched environments

materials and detailing

spatial extension

SB-H3, Sven Hultins gata 6
Opponent: Professor Catharina Nord, Blekinge Tekniska Högskola, Karlskrona


Hanna Morichetto

Chalmers, Architecture and Civil Engineering, Building Design

Kan bostadens arkitektur få oss att må bättre? Denna avhandling undersöker hur man kan beskriva bostadens arkitektur då den är en stimulerande miljö som i förlängningen kan påverka vår hälsa positivt.

Att den fysiska miljön har betydelse för hälsan är föremål för såväl växande forskning som intresse. Avhandlingen tar sin utgångspunkt i begreppet berikad miljö, som länge använts inom forskning för att studera hur en miljö som stimulerar på såväl fysiska och sociala som kognitiva sätt har en bevisat positiv effekt på den mentala hälsan. Forskningen har framför allt bedrivits i djurmodeller och på senare år har alltmer fokus riktats mot hur man skulle kunna beskriva en miljö som har samma positiva effekt även på människan. Avhandlingen undersöker just detta och med fokus på bostaden och dess närmsta omgivning.

Angreppssättet har varit att genom fem olika studier, av olika karaktär och som bygger på varandra, successivt utveckla ett antal begrepp och beskrivningar för vad i bostadens arkitektur som kan ha betydelse för att miljön skall bli stimulerande. De olika studierna har bestått av litteraturstudier inom flera vetenskapliga fält, begreppsanalys, djupintervjuer med såväl boende som arkitekter och analyser av olika bostadsprojekt. Slutsatsen är att tre områden i bostadens utformning tycks ha särskild betydelse för att en bostad skall kunna vara berikande: Siktlinjer, Rörelse, Material & detaljer och dessa beskrivs mer ingående i avhandlingen.

Integrative Ways of Residing: Health and Quality of Residence Architectural Inventions for Dwelling, Ageing and Healthcaring AIDAH

Formas (244-2013-1835), 2013-11-12 -- 2019-12-31.

Subject Categories

Architectural Engineering

Other Humanities not elsewhere specified




Doktorsavhandlingar vid Chalmers tekniska högskola. Ny serie: 4669



SB-H3, Sven Hultins gata 6

Opponent: Professor Catharina Nord, Blekinge Tekniska Högskola, Karlskrona

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