This On Demand CEU is a recorded presentation from a previously live webinar event. In this course we explore the impact that healthcare environments can have on patient and staff wellness. We examine the role natural daylight and perceived open space play in modulating cognitive function, and how we can engage our past memories of natural environments to create a therapeutic patient experience. The course introduces a cognitive approach to design that underscores the restorative value of perceived open space as a healing attribute that can engage our biophilic memory.

Two spatial reference frames present in nature, the perceived zenith, the highest point above the observer, and the perceived horizon line, the farthest point before the observer, can be recreated in an enclosed interior space by staging an appropriate illusion to alter our perception of space. Recreating these fundamental spatial maps through an effective illusion enables a range of wellness benefits normally associated with interiors applying more traditional biophilic design principles.

Learning Objectives

  • Explain why reducing daylight to its elemental components, brightness (irradiance) and color temperature, in enclosed interiors can alter our perception of daylight’s inherent spatial nature.
  • Discuss the role circadian photoreceptors and retinal cones play in regulating circadian entrainment and how the environmental context in which our physiology detects daylight is as important is the light itself.
  • Describe the neural pathways that link our sensorimotor system (how we move through space) with executive function (how we think), thereby generating our sense of place.
  • Summarize the malleable nature of human perception and how bi-sensory illusions incorporated into healthcare settings can alter occupant perception and improve the patient and staff experience.
  • Discuss the implications of healthcare environment design on both patient and staff wellness and productivity.

Pre-requisite: A basic understanding of the principles of Biophilic Design and Evidence-Based Design will be helpful, but are not essential to understanding the course.