Robert Ivy – Architectural Designs for Better Health

     Robert Ivy, is the Vice President and COO of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). He assumed his post at the AIA on February 1, 2011. Ivy earned his Bachelor of Arts in English degree from The University of the South – Sewanee and took his Masters of Architecture at Tulane University.

In a recent article that Robert Ivy wrote, he said it is a known fact that the health dilemma or issues people face in the United States come from having mediocre access to food with quality and lack of exercise. And architects are collaborating with the medical public to assist in transforming the lifestyle the community has been used to.

To prevent the rise of chronic ailments, architects are visualizing and planning a solution to address the public’s health issues. Plans are for a facility that offers health care that encourages regular exercise as a remedy for recovery or harnessing the sunlight to assist students in prolonging the span of their attention in school. The community health administrators and architects are working together in ways that nobody anticipated years ago.

One example of such collaboration between architects and health officials is the Cleveland MetroHealth Medical Center, which has been altered to a comprehensive community health center from a single hospital in the past. The plan was designed by the HKS architecture company who visualized the said center as a center-point for county-wide health care that would house traditional in-patient care, seminars and music festivals, and clinics. All of which are aimed to influence the lifestyle preferences within the Cleveland locality.

Another perfect example is the Highline that is situated in the Chelsea Neighborhood of Manhattan where James Corner, landscape architect, and Diller Scofidio +Renfro Architect Firm transformed the steel black columns of the train tracks into supports for a park that is elevated, which now serves as part botanical garden, part town square and part promenade.

The solution to health issues can be addressed by the collaboration of design and health, which is why undergraduate education in medical and architectural schools are insisting for further training in both courses to be able to find innovative ways to design neighborhoods and cities that would encourage physical activity to prevent chronic diseases as well as obesity.

Robert Ivy’s expectation and hope for the whole architect profession is to be able to convey the significance of design to alter the perception of the community regarding the architect profession and how it can assist in community health-related issues.



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