Designed for Humans

Most basically, our houses give us shelter from the weather, a place to sleep protected from lions and tigers and bears, and room to keep our stuff. But can our living space affect our wellbeing and mood in more profound ways?

A study on visual landscape and psychological well being concluded: The potential of visual landscapes to reduce or heighten anxiety, and to influence other aspects of emotional states, should be considered in attempts to achieve more holistic evaluations of planning effects. Neuroscience and environmental psychology have continued to influence thought on the effects of our surroundings, especially in regards to hospitals, care faculties, and schools. But interest in these effects for all the places we inhabit has continued to rise.    

Elements like daylight, volume, angles, materials, and sightlines all trigger physiological and psychological reactions. As we increasingly find ourselves working from home, our primary roost may well impact our wellness, stress, energy, and sense of self more than ever before. At Whipple Russell Architects we start with the people who will occupy the space… and we start with light.

Daylighting is the architecture design term for the use of natural light. A daylit space utilizes sunlight as the principle source of daytime illumination needed by the occupants in order to use the space effectively, thereby saving on electric energy.

At top left our Mandeville Canyon design exhibits this play of light as ever changing throughout the day. The artful manipulation of space, shadow, geometry, materials, and color provide an emotional impact along with lighting the space for use. Add to this the careful positioning of glass doors and walls, windows, and skylights that connect us visually to the outdoors, framing views and vistas.

The views of landscape, water and sky framed by the architecture – a particular focus of Marc’s designs – have proved to be mentally and physically restorative. Center left, our Benedict Canyon project contains natural elements: the foyer olive tree, a living room water feature, and Zen garden. Marc’s designs frame expansive views of hills, nature, horizon, and very often, water. At bottom left, Laurel Way’s moat brings water into view from virtually every room.