What makes a good building


The definition of a “good” building depends on your perspective. What someone needs from a building and what their preferences are will differ from person to person. So instead of trying to pin it down to just one or a set of features, we need to look at what a building gives to us and how we affect a building.

If you are concerned about lowering carbon emissions and saving energy, a good building may be one that is extremely energy efficient. We discussed energy efficiency and CO2 emission in a previous blog. Aesthetics may well be substituted so long as key energy saving features are present. However, the design and appearance of a building could be the most important aspect of a building for some.

If you are interested in the character of a building (particularly in a historic build or retrofit) a good building will be something that preserves and enhances existing character. In these circumstances appearance comes first and reducing carbon emissions second, especially where it may damage the character or fabric of the building.

In a sense, environment can also refer to how durable or long lasting a structure is, and important features for an inhabitant will include comfort, usability, durability and being able to have control of the internal environment.

Many people (and most of the construction industry) don’t always understand the relationship between buildings and health. Although often overlooked, it’s very likely that mould and condensation in certain areas of a house could be the cause bronchial issues – to give just one example. Likewise drafts or poor ventilation could also be the root cause of a variety of medial ailments. Therefore a good building is one that promotes health and wellbeing for the occupants.

A good building depends on individual perspective but also on knowledge and understanding of how people interact with buildings. This interaction operates on many different levels, and in a reciprocal fashion. We affect buildings and buildings affect us. If a building is to be described as good then it has to cater for a range of interests for the long term, and not simply satisfy a limited number of people.