British architect Ben Channon is on a mission to make architecture more mentally-friendly. He says our homes and offices are often designed with three mitigating factors in mind: cost, carbon emissions and safety. Important as they are, this strict mindset overlooks the driving force for designing a building in the first place: the people who utilise the space, and the “joy” they feel when doing so.
“By most estimations, we now spend more than 80 per cent of our time in buildings, and this can affect our mood both positively and negatively,” Channon writes in the introduction to his new book, Happy By Design: A Guide to Architecture and Mental Wellbeing.“Buildings affect us in largely similar ways. Of course, some people might prefer certain colours or materials, but there are many elements to building design that will universally affect how people feel within a space. The quality of the places where we live, work and study therefore impact our happiness significantly.”
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