Some may not think that architecture and public health go hand-in-hand. However, Robert Ivy, CEO of the American Institute of Architects since 2011, disagrees. Ivy, who received his Bachelor’s Degree in English from Sewanee: The University of the South and his Master’s Degree in Architecture from Tulane University gives a few insights as to how architecture is helping the public health sector promote a healthier lifestyle for the general population.
Ivy claims that architecture and good health are more closely related than may be thought. By designing buildings and parks certain ways, for example, they can promote more walking. For a park, in particular, by making the area attractive, they can bolster interest in traveling to that park and exercise further in its various forms. For a building, designing it in a way that requires people to walk upstairs. In schools, creating rooms with lots of sunlight to help students focus on the lesson. By understanding what contributes to obesity and poor health, designers can create buildings to promote healthy exercises.
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However, he also places an emphasis on education. After all, one cannot hope to make much of a difference in anything if one doesn’t understand the components. As such, he notes that certain colleges are already requiring architect and design students to take courses in health. One college, in particular, the College of Architecture at Texas Tech University, is offering a new Master’s degree of science in architecture that has a specialization in design and health. On the other side of the spectrum, Dr. Bon Ku of Thomas Jefferson University is teaching his medical students with a design-thinking method. With this education, the two fields can work effectively together to promote exercise and healthier living, improving the health and lives of those using the facilities.
This is one of many topics about the relationship between design and public health that Robert Ivy has written. Before he became CEO of the American Institute of Architects, he was the Editor-in-Chief of Architectural Record–a position he held since 1996. In 2003, he also took the position of Vice President and Editorial Director of McGraw-Hill Construction Media.
Among his accolades, Robert Ivy received the Crain Award, which is the highest recognition a person can receive from the American Business Media. Alpha Rho Chi, an architectural fraternity, named him a Master Architect in 2010. Not to mention, besides all of that, while he was the editor of Record, the architectural journal was among the most circulated of its kind in the world.
Currently, Ivy also sits on the advisory boards of Tulane University, Mississippi State University, Auburn University’s Rural Studio, and Tongji University of Architecture and Urban Planning which is located in Shangai, China.