Pre-design research shows through on the bottom line

A research-based approach to building design is key to the economic success of the organisations that occupy space, whether they are caring for people with dementia or running an office according to architect Anja Dirks owner of Utrecht-based design firm Studio ID.

“We did a lot of research translating medical and scientific information into the design tools that we use for people with dementia, but we did the same in a completely different field which was looking at the millennial generation,” Dirks told Real Asset Media’s Richard Betts.

Pointing out that millennials have a very high rate of burnout, Dirks said she was interested in how to design an office environment for them, “to see if we could decrease the amount of burnout and if it is related to something physical or something else.”

Healthy, happy staff reflect in the numbers if not the rent

Dirks has also undertaken similar research in education and schools to determine what are the healthiest environments, to look at different types of learning and and the physical space that it requires.

The concern is not just social but also financial. Dirks said that if an office design creates healthy, happy people  it can be seen in the numbers. “But not the real estate numbers directly, it’s more in the numbers of the business, or because people stay longer with a company. But this is very hard to incorporate in the real estate number or when financing the building.”

The effects may only become apparent in retrospect, she added. “This is something that we not only see in office design but also in healthcare design.”

Dirks encourages clients to utilise the practice well before a project starts so that research and advice can be incorporated at the right time.