Building Happiness

Architecture to Make you Smile

Attaining a state of happiness has been seen as a goal since ancient times, and surely in today’s conflicted world, we all yearn for inner piece and happiness?

Jane Wernick, RIBA Building Futures

Happy1 Happy2

Amid a timely month of great economic uncertainty and questions over the UK’s collective well being- Building Futures’ much anticipated publication was launched in October 2008. The book, produced with Blackdog Publishing is the culmination of an ongoing project started in early in 2007. It is a collection of essays, studies, thoughts and preambles from some of the UK’s leading architects, commentators, creatives and thinkers on what influences happiness, where it can be found and whether we are capable of constructing it?

The subject has been moving rapidly up the political agenda, managing to be above party politics with government placing increased value on its procurement. The issues have gained currency among policy makers. Creating spaces and building that encourage and promote wellbeing is an investment in public and personal health.


Jane Wernick- Editor
Louis Hellman
Keith Bradley
Ros Diamond and Simon Henley
Paul Smith
Pooran Desai & Ed Blake- Project Co-ordinator
Richard Rogers
Max Fordham
Kirsty Wark
David Halpern
Hugh Pearman
Byron Mikellides
Will Alsop
Sarah Toy & Hilary Guite
Antony Gormley
Lorna Walker
Jeremy Till
Odile Decq
Martha Schwartz
Deyan Sudjic
Richard Wentworth
David Lan
Tamsie Thomson- BF Manager

Building Happiness is out now and available from RIBA Building Futures.


Project Aims

Led by Building Futures researcher Ed Blake, “Building Happiness” was a project that aimed to use the best research and anecdoctal evidence from across a wide range of disciplines to identify and analyse the most important drivers in the field. How do we construct happiness? What components make for a happy building or space? How do we measure and quantify this response? is it possible? Who is responsible for it? can it be built in?

  • To ascertain the how current authors and academics view the relationship between happiness and the built environment, now and in the future.
  • To ensure knowledge and understanding of ‘Happiness Science’ is higher on the agenda of Architects and Designers (etc). To help identify the future challenges and needs that face Happiness in The Built Environment.
  • To inform Architects and Designers of their abilities to affect the happiness of the end users.
  • To produce a long-term vision for maximizing Happiness in The Built Environment – for the benefit of society, community and for the individual.

The publication follows on from numerous consultative initiatives including This House Believes You Can’t Build me Happiness- a public facing debate hosted in May 2007 with the aim of harvesting public opinion on the issues and creating discussion around the project.



For more information on this project or to order a copy of the book contact