New post-COVID-19 and nature-based, architectural solutions for enhancing personal wellness at home

Research Area(s): User Experience Design | Funder: NSERC | Program: Engage
PI Name: Phil Fung | Faculty/Department: Faculty of Applied Sciences & Technology

Toronto-based Kirkor Architects and Planners specializes in innovative solutions to the demands of a growing urban populace. The company seeks novel architectural solutions to promote building occupant wellness for the "new normal" - a trend of remote working, at-home learning and at-home leisure expected to persist beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. Kirkor seeks empirical understanding of how biophilic features - natural elements that enhance wellness outcomes - can be integrated into their future architectural designs. The Humber team will therefore experimentally test types of putative biophilic features able to be incorporated into building infrastructure (e.g., houseplants, food crops, nature imagery and aquarium fish) for their wellness-enhancing effects. Key insights will include: (i) The most effective means of interacting with a biophilic feature for promoting wellness, ranging from passive exposure to active, participatory gardening and education and (ii) the duration of exposure needed for enhanced wellness. Kirkor will apply these insights to developing data-supported solutions for safeguarding Canadian wellness amidst rapid changes in living and working arrangements.