- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
- Specialist wikis
Last edited 18 Sep 2021
Anthropometrics in architectural design
Human dimensions and capabilities are paramount in determining a building's dimensions and overall design. The underlying principle of anthropometrics is that building designs should adapt to suit the human body, rather than people having to adapt to suit the buildings.
There are two basic areas of anthropometry:
- Static anthropometry is the measurement of body sizes at rest and when using devices such as chairs, tables, beds, mobility devices, and so on.
- Functional anthropometry is the measurement of abilities related to the completion of tasks, such as reaching, manoeuvring and motion, and other aspects of space and equipment use.
The use of anthropometrics in building design aims to ensure that every person is as comfortable as possible. In practical terms, this means that the dimensions must be appropriate, ceilings high enough, doorways and hallways wide enough, and so on. In recent times, it has come to have particular significance for workplace design, and the relationship between desk, chair, keyboard and computer display.
The building regulations provide a range of standard requirements and approved solutions for designers to help develop suitable designs. However, it is important to consider the specific purpose and requirements of end users. Attempts to apply standardised dimensions may not reflect the true need of the space requirements.
Older people, children, people with mobility issues, wheelchair users and so on may have specific requirements. In particular, good accessibility and easy manoeuvrability around the building must be considered when designing stairs, lifts, ramps and other features. See Accessibility in the built environment for more information.
Anthropometry may also impact on space requirements for furniture and fittings. For example, a bathroom must have enough space to comfortably fit a bath and sink; a bedroom must have enough space to comfortably fit an average-sized bed; an office building must have enough space to fit desks, air-conditioning units, communal areas, meeting rooms, and so on.
Anthropometric data is regularly updated to reflect changes in the population.
See also: Ergonomics.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Accessibility in the built environment.
- Building spaces definition.
- Changing lifestyles.
- Concept architectural design checklist.
- Design intent.
- Design management for construction projects.
- Design responsibility matrix.
- Ergonomics in construction.
- Facilities management.
- Inclusive design.
- People with disabilities.
Featured articles and news
Shedding some light on the new Building Regulations.
Interview with historic built environment surveyor.
Upgraded membership category now requires assessment.
Temperature in buildings, explained on DB
Main barrier to entering the profession, new study reveals.
On Levelling-Up and Regeneration Bill.
Over 70 managers and organisations shortlisted for the 14 awards.
From biometric to electrical current, chemical and more.
Changes are due to come into force on 1st October 2022.
Heed advice and insight of this report IPA tells the government.
From the Commonwealth Association of Architects.