Improving the quality of life with challenging behaviour through architecture: a case study at a Dutch very-intensive-care facility

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingContribution to conference proceedingAcademicpeer-review

70 Downloads (Pure)


Background and aim – Challenging behaviour, such as aggression towards oneself, others, or objects, arises in interaction with the environment and may prevent individuals from participating in society and enjoying a high quality of life (QoL). Literature suggests that architects can contribute to prevention, by influencing challenging behaviour before rather than after its occurrence. The objective is to explore how architecture can contribute to the quality of life of intellectually impaired (and autistic) individuals showing challenging behaviour (CB).
Methods – The case study is based on interviews with residents and care providers, and direct observations of their daily life.
Results – Residents turn out to be dependent on the (visual) connection with the care provider and may experience stress from the behaviour of fellow residents. They also may experience stress when faced with unexpected situations and by sensory overload.
Originality – The relevance of architecture for CB reduction is new to this particular field of healthcare.
Practical or social implications – If these preliminary findings can be confirmed, they provide a basis for developing guidelines to design better environments for intellectually impaired individuals showing CB. Architecture might promote choice in interpersonal distance, by generous floorplans, a variety of spaces, and escape possibilities. Predictability might be enhanced by providing visual overview and previews into rooms. Finally, architecture that promotes sensory adjustment might improve the QoL of individuals showing CB by preventing sensory overload, and by doing so, mitigate related behaviours.
Type of paper – Research paper.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCompanion proceedings The European Facility Management International Conference 2020
PublisherEuroFM: European Facility Management Network
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 4 Oct 2020


  • facilities management
  • architecture


Dive into the research topics of 'Improving the quality of life with challenging behaviour through architecture: a case study at a Dutch very-intensive-care facility'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this