Based mildly inconvenient or unaesthetic, but may also

Based on a study done by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the United States, indoor environments actually contain at an estimated two to five times more pollutants than outdoor environments. Since almost 90% of our time are spent indoors, the quality of our indoor environments directly impacts the space users’ health and wellbeing (Chart 1.1). These statistics include only physical illnesses, yet over the years, countless psychologists have examined and deduced that physical health is vastly related to mental, emotional, social and spiritual well-being. Chart 1.1 Health risks due to indoor and outdoor environment according to countries healthcare facilities, the risks of contracting hospital-acquired infections (H.A.I) are extremely high all around the world, affecting up to 30% of intensive care unit patients. H.A.Is are infections develop within 48 hours after admission, which include gastrointestinal, urinary tract, and airborne viruses. The increased amount of H.A.Is were caused by overuse of antibiotics, which has created highly resistant “superbugs” that are life threatening and extremely difficult to treat. As preventive measures to minimize the risks of contracting H.A.Is, the physical design of a hospital is an essential component Healthcare facilities such as hospitals are one of the most expensive and complicating facilities to design, build and maintain. There are countless regulations, safety codes and latest medical technologies to consider. Studies have shown that there has been great amount of design errors that aren’t just mildly inconvenient or unaesthetic, but may also hinder the healing process, and in some cases create more problems to the patients. According to an episode of TED (Technology, Education, Design) Talk, Michael Murphy, a renowned architecture speaker, buildings are making people sicker, and for underdeveloped countries like South Africa, this situation is causing epidemic-level problems. Patients that seek treatment for physical injuries are likely to leave the hospital with multidrug-resistant viruses. Due to mistakes in the design and construction process, many people have suffered and even lost their lives. With that, Murphy assembled his team together with leading health activist Dr Paul Farmer to design a new hospital with better ventilation and reduced environmental footprintsFig. 1 Unventilated hallway in a South African hospital and Fig. 2 Hallway designed on the exteriorFig.3 Malfunctioned mechanical system and Fig.4 Natural ventilation and lightFig.5 Windowless patient room and Fig.6 Every patient has a view    Space design has the capabilities to improve the user’s’ life quality and create a sense of well-being in terms of happiness and health. Recent studies show that mental, spiritual, intellectual, psychological and social wellness support their physical healing process (Dilani, 2008, Sorana & Cucurnia).  Yet, despite all these, the design potential has often been neglected by healthcare architects and designers, which in turn, creates the likelihood of Sick Building Syndrome. 1.1 SICK BUILDING SYNDROMEBased on the definition by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, sick building syndrome (SBS) is when occupants of a building experiences acute health problems which are linked directly to the time spent in the building. According to WebMD, to classify a building as a “sick building”, 20 percent or more of the building occupants should have symptoms of watery eyes, irritated skin, dizziness, nausea, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, nosebleeds, chronic fatigue, tremors, swelling of limbs or cancer. What are the causes of sick building syndrome? In Malaysia alone, some buildings from the 1970s were designed to reduce ventilation rate and maintain the indoor environment to save electricity during the energy crisis. This resulted in poor ventilation system and high indoor air pollutant concentrations. Another common source of contaminant includes volatile organic compounds (VOC) which are found in adhesives, upholstery, carpeting, manufactured wood products, pesticides on indoor plants, cleaning agents, and even photocopy machines. Smoke particles from cigarettes, stove, fireplace and incense results chemical contamination. Synthetic fragrances in personal care products and cleaning equipments are also likely contaminants.