Objectives of the Assignment:

  • To develop understanding of how the human body informs the design of various architectural and industrial elements/products
  • To develop design data for use in future projects Introduction Architects and designers spent most of their time designing spaces and objects for use by human beings. Some of the keys considerations that they take into account as they design are; comfort, convenience, easy of use and safety. This has evolved into the all encompassing concept of “work and life style” in deign. To do so then it is important that we (architects/designers) are equipped with full information of the sizes of the users. This is where the knowledge of anthropometrics and ergonomics come to be useful.

Studio Staff: M. Mweru (YM) , E. Liku (YM), V. Mahinda, D. Too, F. Nyole



Anthropometrics is the study of sizes and proportions of human body and its movement. It is a comparative study of the measurements and capabilities of the human body. Anthropometrics measurements include sizes (height, reach, waist, hip circumference etc), strength and physical capacity. Anthropometry influences a wide range of industries, processes, services and products and has a considerable importance in optimizing the design of buildings. Human dimensions and capabilities are paramount in determining building's dimensions and overall design. The

underlying principle in application of anthropometrics is that building designs should adapt to suit the human body, rather than people having to adapt to suit the buildings. 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 of building elements must be appropriate: ceilings high enough, doorways and hallways wide enough, staircase treads long enough and so on. It has particular significance for workplace design; for instance the relationship between the user, desk, chair, keyboard and computer display. Different groups of people such as Older people, children, people with movement disability, the blind, etc, have special requirements to achieving desired comforts. There are two basic areas of anthropometry:

  •  Static anthropometry: the measurement of body sizes at rest and when using devices such as chairs, tables, beds, mobility devices, and so on.
  • Functional anthropometry: the measurement of abilities related to the completion of tasks, such as reaching, maneuvering and motion, and other aspects of space and equipment use.

Ergonomics is the application of anthropometric data into designing of objects. Such as the measurement of hand used to design the shape and size of a handle. In the recent past there has been shift of application of Ergonomics design of object to human health. Work place has been known to be associated with physical stress and injuries, such as overuse injuries, poor posture and more serious musculoskeletal disorders. Ergonomics aims to reduce such injuries by designing work spaces, tools, tasks and equipment that help maintain the physical health of workers. The aim of ergonomics ranges from providing a safe work environment to increasing productivity (creativity, efficiency, competency) and comfort of the employee
Inclusive Design
The British Standards Institute (2005) defines inclusive design as "the design of mainstream products and/or services that are accessible to, and usable by, as many people as reasonably possible, without the need for special adaptation or specialized design."
The principles of inclusive design as it relates to the built environment:
• Inclusive – so everyone can use it safely, easily and with dignity.
• Responsive – taking account of what people say they need and want.
• Flexible – so different people can use it in different ways.

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