Dezeen Magazine

"Good Design: it all adds up" - RIBA report on benefits of good architecture

Dezeen Wire:
the Royal Institute of British Architects in London has published a report promoting the social and economic benefits of well-designed buildings.

Entitled Good Design - it all adds up, the report aims to discourage short term cost-cutting in building projects for housing, education, health, workplaces and public spaces.

The document showcases 15 examples where the effects of good design can be tangibly measured, including Chimney Pot Park by Urban Splash and Accordia by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, Alison Brooks Architects and Macreanor Lavington.

Read the full report »

The following information is from the RIBA:

New RIBA report shows the true social and economic benefits of investing in good buildings

A new report issued today by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) provides evidence for how well designed buildings can deliver tangible social and economic benefits to those who use them and invest in them.

Good design – it all adds up brings together research from the UK and abroad to illustrate the benefits that good design in housing, education, health, the workplace and public spaces can bring, and what happens if that investment is not made.

The research material is supported by case studies of fifteen highly successful building projects that demonstrate how high-quality design has made a measurable and positive impact on the lives of every user.

Initiated by RIBA President Ruth Reed, and launched by John Penrose MP, Minister for Tourism and Heritage and the cross-government lead for architectural design policy, at the RIBA in London, Good design – it all adds up has been published to support anyone considering investing in a construction project and those directly involved in the design and building process.

Speaking today, RIBA President Ruth Reed, said: ‘In stringent times, there is a danger that short-term money-saving decisions will be made on new buildings which result in poor solutions that are effectively false economies. Good design is an investment that pays for itself over a building’s lifetime; bad architecture will always cost more; invest now, or pay later.’

John Penrose MP said: ‘High quality architecture and design make a really important contribution both to society and to the economy, particularly when budgets are tight and value for money is key. Ugly, poorly-designed and ill-considered buildings sink the spirits of those who live and work in them and can, at worst, actually help defeat the core purpose of the building itself. So this guide provides useful evidence to support the need for high standards in design. I commend it to the profession and to those councillors and consultants involved in the commissioning process.’

Key findings in the report include:

Health - Patients with access to daylight and external views require less medication and recover faster. At Skypad Teenage Cancer Trust Unit in Cardiff, one teenage cancer patient said: “It doesn’t feel like being in hospital. It makes treatment easier as I am not focusing on that”. For medical staff, building efficient, effective, flexible facilities where they have more time to spend caring for patients and advising their families allows them to do their job at their best, reducing stress, fatigue and the chances of making mistakes.

Education - After students at the Bristol Brunel Academy moved to their new building, vandalism fell by 50 per cent and the number of pupils who said that bullying was an issue for them fell by 23 per cent. (National Foundation for Educational Research, 2008). A 2010 survey by the British Council for School Environments (BCSE) and Teacher Support Network highlighted how the overwhelming majority of teachers (95.8 per cent) agreed that the school environment had an influence on pupil behaviour. At Christ’s College secondary school in Guildford, the senior assistant principal stated “There has been a huge, huge change in the behaviour of the students…we have no graffiti, we have almost zero litter” since the new building opened in 2009.

Housing - At Westwood Estate in Peterborough, a survey revealed how the introduction of simple, affordable environmental improvements such as road narrowing and closing off alleyways to deter intruders made a dramatic difference to residents’ mental health and satisfaction with their housing development.

Growth and employment - The development of well thought-out urban spaces can revitalise run-down areas, promote business and increase employment; the creation of the Liverpool ONE scheme in 2008 has helped to create over 3,500 new local jobs.

Work-places - The right workstation layouts, space allocations, air quality, acoustics and lighting can make the difference between a hard-working office and a less productive one.


Back to Dezeen Wire »
Back to Dezeen »