Design-Research Collaborations

The Buckingham K-5 project is founded on an intensively collaborative planning process, involving a design-research partnership between VMDO Architects and public health researchers Dr. Terry Huang and Dr. Matthew Trowbridge from the University of Nebraska and University of Virginia, respectively. The design-research team’s broad mission, supported by Buckingham County Public Schools’ administrative leadership, begged the question: how can the design of the built environment influence the health of a community?

Insights: Healthy By Design Publication

Insights: Healthy By Design Publication

Project Overview

To start answering this central question, the design-research team developed a set of guidelines –“Healthy Eating Design Guidelines for School Architecture” (2012, CDC) – to investigate how school environments can promote healthy eating and behavior. The design team then integrated these healthy eating design strategies into the comprehensive re-design of Buckingham County Primary and Elementary Schools.

The Healthy Eating Design Guidelines suggest five major strategies in the design of school environments:

1) DESIGN spaces that facilitate the incorporation of fresh and healthy food choices into the school.

2) DESIGN facilities that engage the school community in food production and preparation.

3) APPLY evidence- and theory-based behavioral science principles to “nudge” the school community towards healthy-eating behaviors and attitudes.

4) USE building and landscape features to promote awareness of health