The research and advocacy organisation Center for Health Design has set the following eight steps as part of the evidence-based process:
- Define evidence-based goals and objectives
- Find sources for relevant evidence
- Critically interpret relevant evidence
- Create and innovate evidence-based design concepts
- Develop a hypothesis
- Collect baseline performance measures
- Monitor implementation of design and construction
- Measure post-occupancy performance results
It’s no surprise that evidence-based design has long been the norm in healthcare design where function has traditionally always been the priority over aesthetics. Interior elements are often selected strategically for the ways that not only can they maintain high hygiene standards and ease of cleanability, but also influence critical physiological and psychological responses such as patient healing and anxiety. For example, natural light in healthcare has been correlated with shorter duration of in-patient stays, accelerated post-operative recovery, more effective pain alleviation, and boosted employee morale.
Other sectors, like workplace and education, are just beginning to catch up in designing spaces that are rooted in empirical research.
Evidence-based design is similar to “research-informed design” in that they both rely on some amount of evidence, but the two terms are not synonymous. According to Jaynelle F. Stichler, co-editor of Health Environments Research & Design Journal, evidence-based design typically relies on multiple forms of evidence to guide decision-making, whereas research-informed design is limited to using published research studies.
Examples of Evidence-Based Office Design
EBD has been making it to modern office design as more and more companies strive to maximise employee productivity. The following are some examples of evidence-based design in office interior design that have been backed by extensive research findings.
Biophilia is one of the most popular and frequently applied learning in evidence-based office design. Although the premise of an innate human need for a connection with nature was popularised by Edward O. Wilson’s book of the same name, most of the biophilic tenets proposed – such as biomimicry, the presence of wood, and the presence of water – are each supported with separate research initiatives.