STEP UP: INTRODUCTION
Health and Wellness Through Design
03/13/2019 - TIM HAWK
Is it just me, or are things spinning faster and faster and we all seem to run from thing to thing without any respite? I am old enough to remember a slower time when we prepared drawings by hand and talked to one another in person or on the telephone to do our business as architects. It seemed as if we had more time to do our work. Projects took months and months to complete, and we finished projects at a high level of quality. Certainly our work was more linear, with fewer iterations expected and we had time to review drawings, coordinate the work of our consultants fully, and do our best to integrate and anticipate construction challenges.
In today’s fast-paced environment, technological connectivity drives speed and heightens expectations. Smartphones make our work 24/7 and we stay on and connected throughout the weekends. Clients seem to expect a collaborative process with “real-time” virtual reality modeling and detailed renderings. The construction of our projects is delivered by construction managers who often impose a fast-track construction delivery model with multiple bid packages. I can guarantee that the design process is much more complex in our current environment. Additionally, I can also attest that the level and quality of design that we all desire and deliver is much higher. Our landscape environments are richer, interior environments more thoroughly detailed and coordinated, and our teams work to integrate every technological detail.
No wonder we all feel overwhelmed, exhausted, and frazzled! And, we know that what I have described is not unique to the architecture and design industry. All of us are facing these demands. Educators have a higher bar to meet with a spotlight on the results. If a CEO does not meet the Board’s goals, they are quickly ousted. Ad agencies have to quickly turn opinions in a campaign and retailers are working quicker and longer to make up for lost margins from competition.
So, what can we do to help our society deal with these changing and challenging demands as we step into the future? At WSA Studio, we believe that good design can offer tools to building users which will help reduce stress and improve our health. Over the next few months, we will explore how design can impact our health, improve worker productivity and student performance, and advance our society towards a more balanced existence.