What If Buildings Could Function As Medicine?

// Given at WI?02014 on Mar 22, 2014

Our brains and bodies change in response to the environment, which, in turn, is changed by us. Medicine attempts to manipulate our brains and bodies in very specific ways, usually over a short period of time; thus, it's often necessary to keep taking pills over a lifetime to sustain physiological changes which protect against degenerative or chronic diseases and disorders. If both medications and the environment make physiological and neurological changes in us, could it be possible to design the environment to both engender and habituate attributes and behaviors in ourselves in order to prevent, or even reverse, diseases and disorders?

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Josh Van Zak

Architectural Pharmacologist

Josh likes figuring out how to heal people in effective and holistic ways. Specifically, his research focuses on the ways in which the built environment can be dynamically configured to function as medicine. He's explored these concepts in various neuroscience laboratories, including the Mayo Clinic and Yale School of Medicine, as well as architecture firms, including Philippe Rahm Architectes and Estudio Teddy Cruz Architects. His educational goal is to pursue a Master of Architecture and PhD in neuroscience, to eventually become an architectural pharmacologist.

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