Special Issue "Architecture and Salutogenesis: Beyond Indoor Environmental Quality"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 November 2020).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Rossano Albatici
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Civil, Environmental and Mechanical Engineering, University of Trento, 38122 Trento TN, Italy
Interests: indoor human comfort conditions; passive building elements for heating and cooling; salutogenesis in architecture; ecosustainable building design; building performance and monitoring

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In the last 50 years, a green revolution took place in the building sector, mainly focused on decreasing energy consumption through the whole life cycle, maximizing the use of renewable energy sources, and controlling GHG emission in the atmosphere. Recently, a real paradigm shift occurred in architectural design principles with the introduction of new concepts, such as nearly zero energy buildings, long-term renovation strategies, energy and environmental building rating systems, life cycle assessment procedures, digital design, and so on. Along with these, a stronger attention to the aspects concerning users’ indoor comfort conditions was aroused, and the concept of indoor environmental quality is now commonly accepted. Regardless, in this field, the general approach is always pathogenic oriented, that is limits are defined in order to establish which the proper characteristics are that an environment must satisfy so as to prevent human disease. In the 1970s, the new concept of salutogenesis was proposed, mainly after research by Aaron Antonovsky in the field of health and medicine, now introduced also in the principles of many national health programs. The question is no more why people get sick, but why and how they are healthy, where they recover the “generalized resistant resources” that prevent illness and promote health. From the beginning of the 2000s, “extended salutogenesis” concerned not only physical, psychic, emotional, relational, and spiritual aspects, but also economic, cultural, and environmental ones, the latter related to architecture and the built environment as well.

The question now is, how does a well-designed built environment produce potentially healthful factors enhancing environmental strategies of health promotion?

This is particularly important for hospitals and homes for the elderly, but also schools and residences as well. This novel approach, focusing on wellness factors that promote health, opens up new questions but also extraordinary possibilities to regenerate the architectural design and related research, in the field of building shape, relationship with the environment, construction systems, passive solutions, installation design, materials and processes, interior and furniture design, and so on.

With this in mind, I want to invite researchers and scholars to contribute to this Special Issue of Sustainability, with the aim of forming a solid scientific background to the salutogenic approach to architecture and built environment design, continuing the development of the last 40 years from energy efficiency to comfort to IEQ and, finally, to health.

Therefore, I invite you to contribute to this Special Issue by submitting comprehensive reviews, original case studies, or research articles.

Prof. Rossano Albatici
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1900 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Salutogenesis
  • Design and health
  • Wellbeing
  • Eco design
  • Indoor comfort conditions
  • Passive building elements
  • Neuroarchitecture
  • Biophilia
  • Materials
  • Interior design
  • Furniture

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Modelling VOC Emissions from Building Materials for Healthy Building Design
Sustainability 2021, 13(1), 184; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13010184 - 27 Dec 2020
Abstract
The profound qualitative changes of indoor air and the progressive increase in the absolute number of pollutants, combined with the scientific awareness of the health impacts deriving from spending more than 90% of one’s time inside confined spaces, have increased the attention onto [...] Read more.
The profound qualitative changes of indoor air and the progressive increase in the absolute number of pollutants, combined with the scientific awareness of the health impacts deriving from spending more than 90% of one’s time inside confined spaces, have increased the attention onto the needs of well-being, hygiene, and the health of users. This scientific attention has produced studies and analyses useful for evidence-based insights into building performance. Among the main pollutants in the indoor environment, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) play a central role, and the use of box-models using the mass balance approach and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) models are now consolidated to study their concentrations in an indoor environment. This paper presents the use of both types of modelling for the prediction of the VOC concentration in the indoor environment and the proposal of a guide value for the Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)-oriented building design, specifically related to the indoor VOC concentration due to building materials. Methodologically, the topic is addressed through environmental sampling, the definition of the parameters necessary for the numerical models, the simulations with the box-model and the CFD, and the comparison between the results. They show a good correspondence between the modelling tools used, highlighting the central role of ventilation and allowing a discussion of the relationship between regulatory limits of emissivity of materials and Indoor Air Guide Values for the concentration of pollutants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Architecture and Salutogenesis: Beyond Indoor Environmental Quality)
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Open AccessArticle
BIM for Healthy Buildings: An Integrated Approach of Architectural Design based on IAQ Prediction
Sustainability 2020, 12(24), 10417; https://doi.org/10.3390/su122410417 - 12 Dec 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
The relationship between users and the built environment represents a fundamental aspect of health. The factors that define the properties linked to health and well-being are increasingly becoming part of building design. In these terms, building information modelling (BIM) and BIM-based performance simulation [...] Read more.
The relationship between users and the built environment represents a fundamental aspect of health. The factors that define the properties linked to health and well-being are increasingly becoming part of building design. In these terms, building information modelling (BIM) and BIM-based performance simulation take on a priority role. Among the key features for the design of Healthy Buildings, indoor air quality (IAQ) plays a central role. There are numerous indoor pollutants with significant health effects; volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are to be mentioned among these. The paper presents the proposal of an integrated workflow in the BIM process for the check and control of VOC emissions from building materials and their concentration in confined environments. The workflow is developed through the systematisation of IAQ parameters for the open BIM standard, the integration in the BIM process of a numerical model for the prediction of the VOCs concentration in the indoor environment, and the development of model checkers for performance verification. The results show a good adhesion between the numerical model and the implementation in BIM, providing the designer with a rapid control instrument of IAQ in the various phases of the building design. The present study is the first development focused on TVOC, but implementable concerning other aspects of IAQ, as needed for the effectiveness of performance building-based design for health and wellness issues. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Architecture and Salutogenesis: Beyond Indoor Environmental Quality)
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Open AccessArticle
Acoustic Comfort as a Salutogenic Resource in Learning Environments—A Proposal for the Design of a System to Improve the Acoustic Quality of Classrooms
Sustainability 2020, 12(22), 9733; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12229733 - 22 Nov 2020
Abstract
This article addresses the topic of environmental comfort from a salutogenic and pedagogical point of view. It begins by presenting a wide framework aimed at describing the complexity and specificity of the acoustic issue and the need to integrate decibel-based metrics with knowledge [...] Read more.
This article addresses the topic of environmental comfort from a salutogenic and pedagogical point of view. It begins by presenting a wide framework aimed at describing the complexity and specificity of the acoustic issue and the need to integrate decibel-based metrics with knowledge and reflections which are inherent to non-measurable factors. The article then focuses its attention on educational spaces and presents the results of an investigation carried out in 52 classrooms of 19 primary schools in Florence. From this research and keeping in mind the current Italian legislation, the following results are deduced: (1) the layout of a typical classroom, (2) the average reverberation time and (3) the sound-absorbing surface required to improve the acoustic quality of the typical classroom with polystyrene fibre panels. Subsequently, after having briefly described the more appropriate typology of sound-absorbing solutions, a system for the acoustic correction of classrooms is presented. This system is composed of two parts. The first part is fixed and its realisation is entrusted to specialised personnel; the second, based on the concept of personalisation and transformation of the educational space, is modifiable through time and designed and applied by the students themselves. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Architecture and Salutogenesis: Beyond Indoor Environmental Quality)
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Open AccessArticle
Biophilic Design for Restorative University Learning Environments: A Critical Review of Literature and Design Recommendations
Sustainability 2020, 12(17), 7064; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12177064 - 30 Aug 2020
Abstract
The influence of environmental design on people’s wellbeing and productivity has been well studied in some settings such as offices, hospitals, and elementary schools, but salutogenic and biophilic design in urban post-secondary educational environments remains understudied and warrants closer investigation. There are unique [...] Read more.
The influence of environmental design on people’s wellbeing and productivity has been well studied in some settings such as offices, hospitals, and elementary schools, but salutogenic and biophilic design in urban post-secondary educational environments remains understudied and warrants closer investigation. There are unique challenges faced by these students and implementing health promoting and restorative, environmental design strategies could improve the quality of life and learning outcomes of university students. This paper identifies pertinent themes in published multi-disciplinary literature relating to the influence of the built environment on university students: emotional stress, happiness, stimulation, cognitive function, social support, belonging, places to study, lighting, and ventilation. The results of the semi-structured literature review identifies, analyzes, and categorizes relevant studies that examine nature views, nature images, natural colors, natural materials, auditory and olfactory aspects of nature, nature images with water, indoor plants, campus landscapes, study spaces, local materials and style, daylight access, and thermal and environmental comfort. These are organized according to the biophilic patterns identified by Browning, Ryan, and Clancy. Trends and gaps in understanding the influence of biophilic design on university settings are discussed, and the paper identifies evidence-based design recommendations for incorporating biophilic design in university settings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Architecture and Salutogenesis: Beyond Indoor Environmental Quality)
Open AccessArticle
Acoustics for Supportive and Healthy Buildings: Emerging Themes on Indoor Soundscape Research
Sustainability 2020, 12(15), 6054; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12156054 - 28 Jul 2020
Cited by 4
Abstract
The focus of the building industry and research is shifting from delivering satisfactory spaces to going beyond what is merely acceptable with a wave of new research and practice dedicated to exploring how the built environment can support task performance and enhance people’s [...] Read more.
The focus of the building industry and research is shifting from delivering satisfactory spaces to going beyond what is merely acceptable with a wave of new research and practice dedicated to exploring how the built environment can support task performance and enhance people’s health and well-being. The present study addresses the role of acoustics in this paradigm shift. Indoor soundscape research has recently emerged as an approach that brings a perceptual perspective on building and room acoustics in order to shape built environments that “sound good” according to building occupants’ preference and needs. This paper establishes an initial discussion over some of the open questions in this field of research that is still in an embryonic stage. A thematic analysis of structured interviews with a panel of experts offered a range of perspectives on the characterization, management, and design of indoor soundscapes and health-related outcomes. The discussion pointed out the importance of both perceptual and multisensory research and integrated participatory design practices to enable a holistic view regarding the complex building–user interrelations and the design of just cities. Soundscape methodologies tailored to the peculiarities of indoor soundscapes can help to measure and predict the human perceptual response to the acoustic stimuli in context, thus reducing the risk of mismatches between expected and real building experiences. This perceptual perspective is expected to widen the scientific evidence for the negative and positive impacts of the acoustic environment on human health, well-being, and quality of life. This will support prioritizing the role of acoustics in building design and challenge many current design practices that are based on a noise control approach. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Architecture and Salutogenesis: Beyond Indoor Environmental Quality)
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Open AccessArticle
Aging, Living Environment, and Sustainability: What Should be Taken into Account?
Sustainability 2020, 12(5), 1853; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12051853 - 01 Mar 2020
Cited by 4
Abstract
The aging population presents numerous challenges and the design and management of living environments are not an exception. This literature review and analysis brings together topics related to the living environment of the aging population and the concept of sustainability. The article presents [...] Read more.
The aging population presents numerous challenges and the design and management of living environments are not an exception. This literature review and analysis brings together topics related to the living environment of the aging population and the concept of sustainability. The article presents the review of the existing design concepts that are applied to planning the environment for the elderly, including (i) design for all, (ii) universal design, and (iii) inclusive design. Furthermore, this review highlights the aspects of sustainability and the peculiarities of the aging population that should be taken into account in the design and management of their living environment. Key points related to sustainable aging are highlighted, and the possibility of complementing the existing design concepts with the concept of biophilic design is proposed in order to strengthen their social, psychological, and ecological aspects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Architecture and Salutogenesis: Beyond Indoor Environmental Quality)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
The Potential of Biophilic Fractal Designs to Promote Health and Performance: A Review of Experiments and Applications
Sustainability 2021, 13(2), 823; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13020823 - 15 Jan 2021
Abstract
Fractal objects are prevalent in natural scenery. Their repetition of patterns at increasingly fine magnifications creates a rich complexity. Fractals displaying mid-range complexity are the most common and include trees, clouds, and mountains. The “fractal fluency” model states that human vision has adapted [...] Read more.
Fractal objects are prevalent in natural scenery. Their repetition of patterns at increasingly fine magnifications creates a rich complexity. Fractals displaying mid-range complexity are the most common and include trees, clouds, and mountains. The “fractal fluency” model states that human vision has adapted to process these mid-range fractals with ease. I will first discuss fractal fluency and demonstrate how it enhances the observer’s visual capabilities by focusing on experiments that have important practical consequences for improving the built environment. These enhanced capabilities generate an aesthetic experience and physiological stress reduction. I will discuss strategies for integrating fractals into building designs to induce positive impacts on the observer. Examples include fractal solar panels, fractal window shades, and fractal floor patterns. These applications of fractal fluency represent a fundamental and potentially impactful form of salutogenesis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Architecture and Salutogenesis: Beyond Indoor Environmental Quality)
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