American Institute Of Architect CEO Explains The Role Of Architecture In Public Health Issues

     American Institute of Architects CEO Robert Ivy has been outspoken in his support of architecture and the benefit the profession brings to society. Mr. Ivy believes that architecture has the power to deeply impact society in a variety of areas including healthcare. Recently Mr. Ivy took a moment to expound on this idea.

Can You Give Us Some Background To Your Belief That Architecture Can Benefit Public Health Issues

Design has always played a vital role in public health issues in America. Take, for instance, the Olmstead design of New York’s Central Park. The initial concept was not necessarily borne of thoughts of recreation but more so with the idea of eliminating sub-standard housing and upgrading a part of the city that had traditionally been plagued with a specific set of challenges. Both the original idea for this design space and the results of its execution was the direct positive impact on public health.

It is also evident to me that the younger architects are more connected to the social issues of the day, with health issues being a large part of these social issues. I think more and more as these younger architects express themselves through their work they will provide even greater benefits in the realm of public health. However, it is important to not forget the historical basis of this issue.

How Do You Feel Architecture Can Directly Affect A Specific Issue In Public Health

There are a number of ways. Architects have the power to design buildings that promote physical exercise. This can easily be done by simply designing buildings that make it necessary to walk flights of stairs. This could greatly impact diabetes and heart disease epidemics that plague the nation.

Keep in mind also that basic design principles already take into account things like sunlight, clean water, and air quality.

Do Materials Used In Design Play A Role In Public Health Issues

Certainly. As designers, our choices in materials can have an immeasurable impact. Structures that are constructed with materials that adversely affect the health of human beings would affect a great number of individuals. And this is something that is totally within the control of designers and builders.

About Robert Ivy

Robert Ivy is the Executive vice president and CEO of the American Institute of Architecture. Mr. Ivy was awarded a master’s degree in Architecture from Tulane University upon completing his undergraduate work at Sewanee: The University Of The South

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