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Design for Well-being: Architecture that Enhances Lives

Oct 2, 2023
Davis Barracks at United States Military Academy

In a recent conversation on Bloomberg Businessweek, I was asked to identify the prevailing trend shaping our approach to architecture. My response was unequivocal: At STV, our focus revolves around fostering holistic experiences, weaving humanity into our designs, and nurturing environments that resonate with physical and mental well-being. This concept resonates deeply with our overarching ethos—making communities better through innovative solutions that connect people, places, and the present to the future.

Today, on World Architecture Day, we celebrate the transformative power of architecture, recognizing that it is not just about buildings and projects but incorporates every aspect of human life. We acknowledge our dedicated staff, visionary clients, and invaluable partners who are collectively shaping a better path forward.

At STV, our Buildings group provides comprehensive architectural and engineering services across six crucial markets. We design some of the very buildings that power peoples’ lives. Whether it’s a school, hospital, or any other social infrastructure, we craft spaces that promote well-being and progress. Our approach is holistic, embedding the core of human experience into every structure we bring to life.

Adult Behavioral Health Center at the Bronx Psychiatric Center

In the realm of justice, we put our steadfast commitment to human well-being into practice. The humane correctional environments we create are based on rehabilitation and treatment. Ranked fifth in ENR’s Top 500 Sourcebook Rankings for Correctional Facilities, we’ve infused pioneering design concepts into more than 400 projects, both domestically and internationally. Our ongoing design for the Baltimore Therapeutic Treatment Center stands as a testament to our dedication to redirecting lives and creating positive outcomes.

In the healthcare sphere, our work stimulates healing and transformation. At the Mid-Hudson Forensic Psychiatric Hospital, we are providing a modernized facility that will elevate the care experience, meeting the evolving needs of patients through human-centric design.


Our dedication to nurturing well-being is equally strong in our educational facilities. At P.S. 95Q, we are designing specialty classrooms that enable interactive learning and early career development. Our philosophy is to enrich the learning experience and to maximize student health and achievement.

Meanwhile, our transportation projects prioritize safety, comfort, and efficiency, encapsulating the essence of well-being in transit. The new Terminal A at Newark Liberty International Airport is a harmonious blend of functionality and aesthetics that positively impacts travelers for years to come.

Newark International Airport Terminal A

Our science and tech ventures encompass innovation hubs that inspire collaboration. From laboratories to secure facilities, our designs foster adaptability and groundbreaking discoveries. Our modernization of the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center Building 307 is just one example that underscores our commitment to enabling scientific breakthroughs.

Finally, in the realm of cities, our vision extends beyond structures—we craft communities. Working on large-scale projects like the Baltimore Peninsula, we foster spaces that thrive on accessibility, sustainability, and a sense of belonging.

Rye Street Market

Across these diverse landscapes, our philosophy remains unwavering: we design for the well-being of people. The work we deliver is imbued with empathy and passion, creating spaces that empower and inspire. With a focus on normative environments, infused with daylight and connections to nature, we provide spaces that help people thrive.

As we celebrate World Architecture Day, we reflect not only on our accomplishments but also on the path ahead. We are proud of our growth story within the Buildings group at STV, and as we keep expanding our architecture practice, we welcome those who share our passion for designing spaces that promote well-being to join us on our journey.

With that, we extend warm wishes on World Architecture Day to all our colleagues, peers, and collaborators. Let’s continue to envision and innovate spaces that shape a brighter tomorrow.

Kim Vierheilig

Kim Vierheilig, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP, is the president of STV’s national buildings practice. With over two decades of experience, her expertise spans student-centric educational design, reform-focused justice design, and community development at large. She has served clients across the country to help re-envision the public realm, address inadequacies in mobility and housing, and develop community-centric equitable solutions.


For information about how STV’s Buildings team designs for resilient communities, please read the following articles:

Going Beyond the Code for Resilience at Major Wastewater Treatment Facility

Adaptive Resilience and Rethinking Disaster Management Post-Pandemic

10 Years After Superstorm Sandy: STV’s Thought Leadership on Resilient Design Continues to Guide Infrastructure Improvements

Finding Ways to Measure Equity and Climate Resilience for Clients