Architecture has evolved dramatically through the decades, from the art deco styling of the 1920s, the functional efficiency of the modernist 1950s to the minimalist era through the 1990s. Today, forward-thinking designers, engineers and architects are looking to revolutionalise the industry by taking a user focused approach.
Human-centric design goes beyond the eye-catching aesthetics and examines the daily habits, rituals, and social interactions of the inhabitants. While beauty is still essential, it is less about impressing people who enter your home and more about cultivating ease and simplicity in everyday life. The goal is to create synergy between your natural movements and the layout of your house or apartment.
The first step to creating a truly intuitive and user-centric home design is to gain a deep understanding of the person who will live there. Whereas traditional housing design begins with a set of perimeters – 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a 900mm oven – human-centric design takes an altogether different approach. It examines the way you move through the house and the way you interact socially. What time do you like to get up in the morning? Do you spend your evenings watching television or chatting over a glass of wine? How do you entertain? How do you use your car?
Once the designer has a thorough understanding of the client’s way of life, the next step is to consider how the building can enhance the person’s psychological, physiological and physical well-being.
The windows, skylights and overhead lighting are carefully positioned to embrace the natural light throughout the day and to enhance your sleeping patterns at night. The temperature is optimised to provide a comfortable environment at all times, and the layout is designed to create intimate and personal zones as well as tailor-made social areas. The inhabitants who will entertain frequently will have different requirements to the couple who prioritise having frequent visits from family and young grandchildren.
From the intuitive placement of light switches, so you never have to fumble to find the button, to keyless entry and automatic shutters, each element is chosen to enhance the homeowner’s life.
It is becoming a standard feature in new homes in Australia to include technology such as Alexa room awareness. The human-centric approach is different because it aims to integrate technology in a way that is so intuitive that you don’t realise that it is there. You no longer have to reach through the water flow to turn on the shower, and your garage door will automatically open when your car pulls in, so you don’t have find your remote or to roll down your window and swipe in when it is raining. The engineering becomes invisible, and all that you notice is how seamlessly everything works. Premium developments on the front foot are beginning to embrace this intuitive mindset and design for native human behaviour.
The consultative human-centric approach delivers a solution that is empathetic to the users’ wants, needs and lifestyle. The future of housing will create a home so intuitive that it knows you better than you know yourself.