Interior Architecture (MSIA) Student Research | Chatham University, Pittsburgh, PA

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Student Thesis

Designing Interiors for a Wider America: The Impact of Obesity on Residential Design

Author: Lauren Nicole Bertovich
Date: 2007
Program: Master of Science in Interior Architecture, Chatham University

The objective for this thesis design project was to program and design renovations and new additions for an existing single family home for an obese occupant. The new interior environment will ideally improve the quality of life for the larger inhabitant. The designer accomplished these results by applying acquired design knowledge acquired through a literature review. Unlike many industries, which profit by catering to this growing, unhealthy demographic, the interior design solution for this project will support the client’s needs without creating a specific market for obese clients. The relationships between humans and their surroundings may vary as individuals are likely to respond differently to certain environments. Interior designers use standard, anthropometric measurements, lighting recommendations, material specifications and ergonomics to ensure these relationships are functional and supportive. A persons surroundings may contain various elements that support or hinder spatial relationships and function. Interior designers should focus on another vital element, the occupant. The human body differs in size, shape and form. Interior designers need to consider that design standards and guidelines are based on averages which may fluctuate over time. Obesity is not uncommon and is increasing steadily. More than half of Americas population fall into this larger demographic and interior designers are likely to be working with an increased number of obese clients, in the future.