Designing homes to help our health

Many people underestimate the power our homes have to heal and contribute to our wellbeing, according to University of Queensland alumnus, architect Anthony Clarke.

Mr Clarke said a well-thought-out and researched design could provide significant benefits to clients living with chronic conditions.

“It’s very much a holistic approach; we try and understand as much as we can about their unique condition,” he said.

“It started with a brief from a family who wanted to create a space suitable for their autistic son and since then we’ve been designing homes and other projects for people living with trauma, dementia and Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Charing Fatigue Syndrome.”

Mr Clarke established his own practice, BLOXAS, in 2010 where he focuses on empathic and experimental architecture.

“I think people generally consider that architects incorporating health care into their design will result in a sterile or overly commercialised space, which we would say certainly isn’t correct.”

Mr Clarke said many elements are taken into consideration during the design process, including whether the client would require control over light and sound quality or could benefit from sensory or therapy rooms.

“Earlier on, we found people would refrain from sharing details about their health until it was too late,” he said.

“Now we are seeing that our clients are sharing openly because they’re starting to see that their information is part of a bigger picture in shaping healthy architecture.”

Mr Clarke will join fellow alumni in presenting at The UQ Art of Living Conference later this month.

Speakers include UQ Adjunct Associate Professor Shaneen Fantin, who specialises in socially aware design and architect Brian Bass, who recently won the AIA Sunshine Coast Regional House of the Year Award.

Head of the School of Architecture Dr Cameron Bruhn said the conference will examine the way we live and feature presentations on outstanding residential projects.

“This conference is bringing together the diverse talent of architecture alumni from UQ; architects who are established and emerging leaders in the field,” he said.

“The ten architecture practices presenting at The UQ Art of Living Conference are pushing the boundaries in residential architecture, creating homes that respond to people and place.”

Registration for The UQ Art of Living Conference is open until Thursday 13 June.

Image above left: BLOXAS’ Garden Pavilion project provides a sanctuary for a client with a chronic sleep disorder.​​

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