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Supervisor: Professor Koen Steemers

Filomena Russo


Research overview:

Restorativeness is the quality of an environment that renews a person’s physical, psychological and social resources that are depleted through life’s demands. Currently, theories of stress recovery and attention restoration inform restorative environments (RE) research. The restorative benefits of exposure to external natural and green landscaped settings dominate RE research, with fewer studies on internal spaces. With people spending a significant proportion of time indoors, and predominantly in cities, the opportunity of RE within buildings to provide relief of stress and attention fatigue warrants investigation. The restorativeness potential of Intermediate Architectural Environments (IAE) is the focus of this research. These thresholds, or in-between spaces, create conditions for both prospect and refuge. Architecturally, they range from courtyards, arcades, lobbies, balconies to window-seats. IAE offer contact with the exterior and retreat to the interior, with shelter, safety and diverse environmental conditions, adaptable sociability and relaxation opportunities. In this research, IAE are morphologically described by their degree of enclosure related to view access, for which view-proportions, view-angle, view-contents, view-depth together with daylight variability are considered, based upon research precedents. Drawing on insights from a pilot study, a mixed-method case-study approach is adopted. Data is collected through participant surveys, semi-structured qualitative interviews, self-reporting and wearable biosensors. 



Filomena gained an MPhil in Environmental Design in Architecture from the University of Cambridge (2005): ‘Climatic Responsive Design in Modern Brazilian Architecture: from the 1920s to the 1960s’, with funding by the EPSRC. She is a registered qualified architect in Brazil and the UK, and has practiced architecture in Brazil, Portugal, France, and the UK. Filomena has lectured internationally about sustainable architecture and tutored at universities in architectural design and environmental design. Her PhD research is funded by the ESRC.