WAYNE, N.J. -- Designing space with an eye on health is a sign of the times, says a Wayne architect.
"Timing is everything," said Ben Lee, who was named 2017 president of the The American Institute of Architects-New Jersey (AIA-NJ).
"People nowadays are very conscientious of their health," he said, referring to how people monitor their heart rates on their phones.
Lee is a board-certified healthcare architect and is managing principal and chief financial officer of NK Architects in Morristown.
“As architects, we are best positioned to improve the population’s health through our design for housing, schools, offices and commercial buildings,” Lee said.
Imagine a nursing home that sleeps just 10-12 people.
"Food is prepped in the building and there's a sense of intimacy so it feels more like home," he said.
A behavioral care facility is designed to have patients wake to face the sunrise.
"It doesn't cost more to lower stress."
Another aspect considered in designing for wellness is the space between buildings.
“Improving community health is part of the agenda for the design profession," he said.
"By developing physical space that promotes walking, biking, parks and recreation and public gathering, we are creating a healthier and more livable community.”
Lee has over 35 years of experience in the field of architecture. He was awarded the 2016 Kindred Spirit Award by Carrier Clinic for his assistance in the non-profit behavioral healthcare system providing a safe, restorative, and respectful environment for adolescents and adults receiving mental health and addiction treatment services.
Lee has been an active board member of AIA-NJ for the past five years, serving as president-elect in 2016, first vice president in 2015 and treasurer in 2014. Lee was also the 2011 president of the Architects League of Northern New Jersey, one of AIA-NJ’s six local sections.
Lee is also a member of several other professional groups such as the American Society of Hospital Engineers, the American Hospital Association, the Healthcare Facilities Management Society of New Jersey, the USGBC, a LEED accredited professional and a member of the New Jersey Chapter of the American Planning Association.
NK Architects is a national architectural, structural engineering, planning and interior design firm.