TV shows influence of buildings on wellbeing

10/08/2011

The new Channel 4 series, 'The Secret Life of Buildings' uncovers the impact of the buildings in which we live, work and play on our wellbeing, using research conducted by the University of Exeter supported by Ambius.The first episode 'Home' showed presenter Tom Dyckhoff comparing how pain can be managed for longer in pleasant versus hostile surroundings using a crude ice bath test.

Kenneth Freeman, international technical director for Ambius commented: "Whilst the test wasn't scientific, we do know that studies have shown how artwork placed down corridors to the operating theatre increased feelings of calm in patients and create a better customer experience. Good quality, pleasant environments can also increase recovery times.  "The impact of the built environment on our general wellbeing is an important issue and clearly the wider consciousness created through TV programmes such as ‘The Secret Life of Buildings' can only be for the good."

TV shows influence of buildings on wellbeing

The second episode 'Work' included an experiment on office workers, using planting from Ambius. The experiment was based on an extensive study by The University of Exeter in conjunction with Ambius, which found that the trend for 'lean' and minimal office spaces could be having a negative effect on business productivity. The four-year study co-funded by Ambius found that people were happier, healthier and 17 percent more productive in an enriched work environment than they were in a 'lean' space. Those that were given some say over their environment were 32 percent more productive.  

Freeman says, "Sick building syndrome is a very real issue. However studies in Europe have shown that health complaints at work and symptoms associated with Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) can be dramatically reduced by the addition of good plant displays, for example. Buildings are quieter and more relaxed with plants in them, at the same time, more stimulating and interesting. Plants have positive effects on people, can help to enhance moods and help people feel more relaxed and experience less stress. We should never underestimate the impact of the environments in which we live and work on our happiness and wellbeing."

This article appeared on www.architectnews.co.uk.

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