designFIRST

The DP design ecosystem

At DP Architects, our commitment to design excellence in architecture that enrich the human spirit and experience in today’s context, has meant pushing architectural designs beyond standard aesthetics and functionalities to encompass principles of health and wellbeing. This follows the World Health Organisation’s definition of health as not merely the absence of illness but as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being”. 

In our pursuit of holistic design, we have come to understand how and the extent to which the built form influences our wellbeing – from damp homes leading to respiratory complications in children to climate change detrimentally affecting food production. Indeed, statistics show that environmental factors may potentially cause up to 90% of cancers while genetics may account for as little as 10-15% of our health outcomes. What this means is: design matters. 

We recognise that in order to empower end-users towards health and wellness, as designers, we must place design first. So, we’ve tapped into growing research literature. Learning from principles of well-being, we have formulated an evidence-based design methodology for creating spaces and places that promote human well-being and planetary health. This methodology is built on four principles: contemplation, community, biophilia and hapticity. 

Each principle has characteristics that we have developed into a matrix to examine the holistic design credentials of existing buildings and support the design of new proposals.