Friday, October 28, 2011

Un-fat architecture

Could an enriched environment help turn white fat into brown fat? New research on mice is showing that there are 3 lifestyle changes that might trigger the biological processes that can make your body naturally burn fat instead of storing it. One is becoming more socially engaged, two is presenting yourself with new challenges and the third is staying physically active.

This points at a new challenge for architecture to create enriched environments that stimulate activity and social interaction. This goes against some existing ideas such as comfort, architecture will need to start integrate "obstacles" and discomfort that will stimulate us to take the healthy route. I.e. lifts should not be central and accessible in a building, they should be hidden, the staircase should be central and inviting so that people instinctively take the stairs.

A great example of architecture that stimulates conversation, social interaction and activity is the recently station Overvecht. It was redesigned to include a amphi-theater like seating arrangement and a slide.

Add caption

I also think that this example of a staircase by Droog at their Dry Tech exhibition is a great example of stimulating architecture.

Danish architects 3XN have thought about healthy architecture when they designed the Orestad college. The central staircase is so big that invites to social interaction right there on the staircase.
Orestad college by 3XN architects

The Japanese architects Arakawa and Gin have extended the idea and call their work reversible destiny architecture, architecture against death. In 2008 they build the destiny lofts in Tokyo in 2008. The apartments are full of challenges that stimulate physical activity, so that the simplest tasks may turn out to be physically demanding.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

doing good every day

Doing good can be really easy, a part of your daily ritual even, like going to the supermarket. And the gesture of giving can be really barely noticeable.

My supermarket has admitted access to a couple of institutions that have set-up collects right next to the bottle returning machine. Instead of holding on to the little receipt that the machine gives you, you can insert it into the collects. It's quite effective, because usually the amount of money on the receipt is small, and it sort of makes you feel guilty to hold onto it. So it sort of comes natural to donate it.

Also the supermarket (Dutch) always has some sort of stickers or loyalty-points you can collect. For the moment with enough stickers you can earn a little box full of groceries. Already last year (they do this action at least once a year) I gave my box to the Homeless seller of Streetnews, I just felt that I didn't need it. I have enough. So this year the supermarket has actually organized a central box where all of us that feel we don't need this extra groceries can put our stickers in. directly. Goes to the Homeless people of the Tussenvoorziening.

I think it's a great initiative! That a supermarket would be so engaged in the local community and it's employees so empathic that they care about those that have less. This is charity made easy. I'm sort of giving something away that I don't really have in the first place.

Also outside the supermarket there are bins to collect shoes and clothes for recycling, I guess that part is a little bit more traditional charity.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...