The students and faculty in the Design + Health group at Taubman College study the intersection of health and design. We interpret this nexus broadly both in terms of subject matter and scale; we look at wearable devices, furniture and ergonomics, immersive spaces and XR, hospitals and other institutional buildings, and urban design. Our motivation is to increase accessibility, inclusion, equity, and alterity in the face of many current and historical examples of design-driven health inequality, redlining, disabling urban environments, and institutional facilities that lack access to natural light.  Our group is concerned about the gaps between quantitative analysis and lived experience, and we think architecture and design has an urgent need to close these gaps.

This inherently interdisciplinary work is pursued by Design + Health faculty with a wide range of background and research interests, including commercial hospital design, disability culture, surgery, and architecture history. Interested students can take a wide variety of courses within Taubman College including studios, history electives, and elective seminars, or enroll in courses through allied schools, such as the School of Public Health. We are an inclusive community and welcome a range of questions, participations, and pursuits. Please email one of our faculty members if you are interested in getting involved in our work.

    Health and Design Concentration

    Interested in a coordinated exposure to the topic of Health and Design in Architecture? For 2023-2024, the Health and Design faculty will offer a soft launch of the Health and Design concentration. While not as formal as a certificate, the concentration will help students find health focused courses in the Architecture program and foster community among those who are interested in topics such as mental health, aging, disability, healthcare architecture, healthy environments, environmental psychology, and more. The Health and Design concentration is related to the Healthy Cities Certificate but may be more accessible to M.Arch students as it includes some courses already required for the degree.

    Design and Health; Show and Share

    Date & Time: April 18, 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
    Location: Art & Architecture Building, East Review

    / Faculty

    Robert Adams, M.Arch
    Associate Professor of Architecture

    Andrew Ibrahim, MD, MSc
    Assistant Professor of Architecture
    Assistant Professor of Surgery

    Joy Knoblauch, PhD
    Associate Professor of Architecture

    Upali Nanda, PhD
    Associate Professor of Practice in Architecture

    / Concentration Courses

    For the upcoming year, the following courses will participate; undergraduates who take 3 of 5 courses and M.Arch students who take 4 of 5 will be considered to have concentrated in Health and Design. A path for Ph.D. students may be forthcoming.

    • ARCH 409 / 509 Health By Design I (public health) – Upali Nanda
    • ARCH 409 / 509 Health By Design II (healthcare architecture) – Upali Nanda
    • ARCH 313 / 413 History of Architecture (Health) – Joy Knoblauch
    • ARCH 509 Topics in Disability, Design, Health, and Wellness – Robert Adams
      ARCH 506 Research for Design Practices – Linda Groat
    • ARCH 509 Augmented Tectonics (Checkup XR) – Jonathan Rule
      ARCH 509 Theory of Design and Health – Joy Knoblauch
    • URP 552 Healthy Cities – Kim Kinder

    / Student Work

    “Therapeutic Wayfinding: Transforming the Corridor into a Healing Environment” 

    – Aidan Barron, Chun-Li Chen (Julie), Elyssa Bakker, Irene Routte

    / Additional Programming

    Health & Design Fellowship

    Two year fellowship designed to train architects in rigorously quantitative analytics and econometrics to handle large datasets with the ultimate goal to evaluate and improve our design.


    Health and Design Quantitative Lab Meeting
    (Wednesdays, 1pm)

    Weekly meeting where students fellowship present their research-in-progress for collaborative feedback. Contact iandrew@umich.edu to attend

    Health and Architecture CrossRoads
    (Every other Friday, 9am)

    Multidisciplinary meeting to organize and coordinate health and design events, contact Joy Knoblauch (jknoblau@umich.edu)