Guiding behaviour through design

We are aware of how the behaviour of building users is to some extent shaped by their surroundings. Our interior designs for public buildings make full use of this.


We were asked by Wakefield and District Housing (WDH) to carry out a programme of interior refurbishment to their Area Housing Offices. These facilities had been designed in the 1970s and their interior design featured small rooms and many physical barriers. This produced an uncomfortable atmosphere for staff, as the perception for their customers was one of avoidance of interaction. Incidents of customers becoming confrontational could go un-noticed by colleagues.


Our structural engineers and specialist interior designers produced a new open-plan internal layout. Removing the physical barriers between staff and customers allows all interactions to be seen by everyone. Private conversations can still take place, as our design incorporates interview rooms with full-height glass walls.


This has created a calmer and less stressful atmosphere. Feedback from staff has been positive, because the behaviour of their customers is being modified and guided by the design. The transparency of the environment has made staff feel more secure, not less.


The success of these projects led to the senior management of WDH personally requesting that the same team should design the public areas of the new WDH headquarters building. This has now been built next to the NPS Group office in Castleford, further cementing our relationship.