Healthy Interior Designs - Designing healthy interiors with lessons learned from a pandemic

The School of Interior Design at Toronto Metropolitan University

is collaborating with The Institute for Pandemics to offer sessions at the

Healthy Interior Design symposium.

Online Symposium

October 27 & 28, 2023

The two-day symposium brings together interior designers, scientists, engineers, visualization designers, and public health experts to discuss indoor infectious disease transmission.  

Institute for Pandemics members David Fisman and Jeffrey Siegel are each presenting sessions on viral transmission in indoor spaces and how interior designers can take steps to support better air quality.

In-person Workshop

October 29, 2023

Toronto Metropolitan University

During the workshop, students, faculty and practitioners will work together to solve hypothetical interior design problems using knowledge gained from the symposium presentations.  The results will be used to develop a manual for interior designers that outlines strategies for reducing indoor transmission of infectious diseases.

About the Symposium

The interior was identified as the site of high transmission during COVID-19, resulting in a global shut-down. Breathing, talking, singing, sneezing and coughing became the focus of attention as pathways of viral transmission in the interior. Daily routines were interrupted and brought to a halt while waiting for guidance from health agencies. Procedures and protocols were implemented in order to decrease the spread of infection, most relevant in indoor spaces where personal spheres intersected more frequently with one another.

The pandemic revealed an overdue need to be proactive in reconfiguring interiors for yearly flu viruses, cold seasons and unexpected health risks in order to reduce transmission between co-workers, household members and society as a whole. Temporary solutions sprang up in interiors, but solutions that are robust and seasonal while simultaneously enhancing spaces for function and usability are needed. Interior designers give shape to a multitude of occupancy types such as education, healthcare, housing, workspaces, commercial, and recreational, playing a critical role in imagining how interiors can be designed to mitigate the spread of viruses.  

With the interior as the site of convergence, this two-day symposium and one-day workshop brings together twelve presenters and six moderators representing interior designers, scientists, engineers, epidemiologists, visualization designers, and public health experts whose work investigates infectious disease transmission made more imminent when confined indoors. Session topics will inform designers and anyone with an interest in shaping healthy interiors to understand how infectious respiratory particles are transmitted from the body, how far particles travel, pathways into respiratory systems, infectious surfaces known as fomites, how to protect the individual and community, and what steps can be taken to mitigate transmission. Following the two-day symposium is a one-day workshop with teams consisting of interior designers, academics and students to integrate the content from the symposium into design problems to produce strategies that reimagine healthier interiors.

The symposium and workshop are free and open to the public. Registration is required through Eventbrite. Please note, there is limited registration to participate in the workshop.

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