Evidence based design (EBD), in short, is when decisions about physical space are based on research and data. EBD has its roots in health care design and since the inception of the Pebble Project, an initiative launched by the Center for Health Design in 2000, EBD has become an integral part of the healthcare design vocabulary. The project brought together forward-thinking healthcare providers, architects, and designers to identify hospital design solutions that would measurably improve patient and worker safety, clinical outcomes, environmental performance, and operational efficiency.
Because hospital design involves high risks in both financial and clinical outcomes, it makes sense that EBD began with healthcare, where lives are at stake and nearly all decisions are data driven. This need for justification by hard data, however, is becoming more commonplace outside of healthcare. Nearly all project administrators take risks when they make decisions concerning design and construction, often having to defend their decisions to their supervisors or a board of directors.
In the 14 years since the Pebble Project was launched, the results of this program have been far-reaching. The EBD principles that guide the Pebble Project have moved beyond the world of healthcare and are making headway into being part of the process for designing schools, office spaces, hotels, restaurants, museums, prisons and even residences. It’s not at all uncommon today to see EBD included in RFPs as a project requirement.
With rising construction costs and human-centered considerations burgeoning, clients from all fields will demand accountability and the use of credible evidence in the construction and interior design of their buildings. Building professionals will be held to higher accountability for their design solutions and designers will seek substantiated strategies to remain innovative and competitive in their fields.
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