Wellness Architecture & Design Initiative Trends


TREND 1: Spiritual and Numinous Moments in Architecture

Creating spaces that ground, connect and uplift us is an essential part of daily rituals in a fast-paced, ever-connected digital era. Creating moments for mindfulness, introspection and connections is taking all kinds of shapes in our homes, workplaces and communities, from DIY meditation coves to contemporary, non-faith-based temples open to the public.

TREND 2: Deep Integration of Nature

This is biophilic design like we have never seen it. Whether it is more time at the family cabin, the treehouse resort, or updating the backyard as a sanctuary, nature has become our place to reflect, to entertain and play, and to recharge our batteries. Gardening is on the uptick, which is a good thing as the microbes in dirt trigger our neurons and make us happy.

TREND 3: Mass Migrations Cause the Building Industry to Boom

With the ability to work remotely, people are renovating their homes, relocating to rural regions, and second homes are becoming primary residences. All of this is creating high demand across the architecture, engineering, and construction industries with unprecedented lead times in the supply chain and rapidly increasing costs on both materials and labor. However, even with rising project costs, people are still choosing to move their projects forward, as a year of low spending has created savings that are stimulating economic growth.

TREND 4: Wellness Spaces Transform Our Homes Forever

Wellness is a theme, and people are investing in design and DIY treatments to immerse themselves in all things wellness, engaging with designers as well as doing what they can at home to integrate important routines. Often, solutions are simple, from wellness color schemes to aromatherapy, music, plants, and stenciled messages of love and resilience on walls. The premise is that any daily activity, such as exercise, mediation or spiritual practices, demands designated space or even a room within the home, as these rituals are every bit as important to our wellbeing as the kitchen is for eating, the bedroom is for sleeping, and the bathroom is for hygiene.

TREND 5: The Microscope Is on Home Life

After a year of working from home, the home office is here to stay, but maybe not in the way we would have thought. Rather than separating work lives from home lives, people are reevaluating their lives and living situations holistically and with a new focus, one that puts work in balance with self-care rituals and family health and bonding. The office has gone digital, and with less need for filing cabinets, the old office is now the new wellness room, and the laptop has migrated to the dining room or elsewhere in the home.


TREND 1: Prescribing Light

Science shows light is not just something we see by, but a necessary nutrient to fuel our health. Proper fixtures in buildings can improve mood and biological health by ensuring hormones are regulated by circadian-accurate color and intensity throughout the day. Additionally, light can be used to purify surfaces and the air, including light fixtures that kill viruses, bacteria and microbes. In today’s world, lighting is providing solutions to fighting Coronavirus.

TREND 2: The Architecture of Sleep

Design and the built environment have an impactful role in optimizing sleep. Go beyond sleep products to ensure fundamental features in the sleep environment are set up to enhance your sleep behavior. Air quality, light, acoustics and even materials are essential to restorative design. With the fundamentals right, you can then decide if and how sleep technology can further augment your rest.

TREND 3: What to know about Electromagnetic Radiation & the Built Environment

In a world where the third wave of technology will rely on “noisy” Electromagnetic Radiation infrastructure like 5G, there is much we still don’t know about the impact it will have on human and planetary wellbeing. However, design can thoughtfully integrate precautions into essential spaces in your home and workplace that create an ER sanctuary.

TREND 4: Race to Net Zero

With the release of the IPCC “Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere,” the accelerating economic costs of climate change, and the inevitable impact on geographical borders, weather patterns, and growing geopolitical migration/tensions, buildings that serve the future must be Net Zero as a new minimum. It isn’t about using less or “offsetting” one’s impact anymore. It is about the net usage/net emissions that we, as mankind, are putting into the earth’s atmosphere.

TREND 5: Earth, Humanity & the Cosmos: How Ancient Design Practices Optimize Wellbeing

With “Energy Medicine Gets Serious” featured as a top trend for 2020, the Wellness Architecture Initiative will be exploring the role of energy in the built environment. Experts from the world of feng shui, vastu shastra, earth acupuncture and sacred geometry will be interviewed to discuss how ancient cosmology informs the design of the built environment in order that spaces resonate with the spiritual dimension and reflect the synergistic relationship between “Mother Earth” and our own “energy bodies,” as understood by ancient practices. These ancient principles are more timely now than ever in our chaotic modern times and are the missing link in creating environments that support true wellness.


The Global Wellness Institute serves as an umbrella organization for numerous Initiatives, that are independently chaired and run. The resources, editorial, research and opinions presented by the Initiatives do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Global Wellness Institute.