19 March 2019 | Story Leonie Bolleurs | Photo Leonie Bolleurs
Martie Bitzer, senior lecturer at the UFS Department of Architecture, says an architect envisions how the user will live in a space and designs accordingly.

“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” – Steve Jobs

Whether at work or at home, scientists have found a way to “comfortably” carry out tasks. According to Martie Bitzer, senior lecturer at the University of the Free State’s Department of Architecture, we all experience discomfort due to the effects of repetitive actions in a day – whether in daily tasks of necessity like washing the dishes or hours spent at work behind a desk or a countertop. “The word ‘ergonomics’ is the key to ease this discomfort!,” she said.

Martie believes that a space needs not only to look beautiful but that it must be practical as well. 

“The specific dimensions of the human body should serve as the designer’s ‘measure’ for the height of your kitchen counter or the angle of your computer screen,” says Martie.

She continues: “In architecture, ergonomics is always the starting point for design. The architect envisions how the user will live in a space and designs accordingly. Ergonomics touches all aspects of a person’s life in a building – from the distance you walk in your kitchen while cooking to the impact of the height of a specific space. It is working at best when you live fluently in a space, unaware of obstacles and challenges. The human body’s capabilities and limitations are at the heart of the responsible designer’s task to improve the quality of life in a building.”

In a world where we are daily more aware of how we engage with our surroundings, good design matters!

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