Evidence Based Design Consultant

Why spend months of YOUR time researching when I have already developed a System prioritizing design strategies that you and your project team can use on every project? As an evidence based design consultant, I help clients with all project types, sizes and budgets incorporate psychological and behavioral research within the design process to promote their goals by participating during in-house design meetings or conducting workshops (either in-person or virtually), review drawings or prepare reports.

Consulting Clients include:

Evidence Based Design Consultation clients include American Institute of Architects, San Francisco Chapter Evidence Based Design Consultation clients include ABC 7 News Evidence Based Design Consultation clients include EHWA Women's University Hospital Barbara has been an evidence based design consultant for Dannis Woliver Kelley Barbara has been an evidence based design consultant for Johnson's Barbara has been an evidence based design consultant for KTVU Channel 2 Barbara has been an evidence based design consultant for The New York Times Barbara has been an evidence based design consultant for Kaiser PermanenteBarbara has been an evidence based design consultant for Wild Planet


The 3-Part Architectural Design Psychology System

Part 1:
Switch from a Creative Innovation-Based Design Perspective to an Experiential Instinct-Based Design Perspective

Why is this step so important? Because studies show that design professionals view buildings and space differently than the rest of humanity.

“Hard evidence exists that architecture isn’t just what architects make of it: or perhaps more accurately, that architecture isn’t just what the tastemakers make of it. The average person looks at architecture more with emotion than with intellect…”
Architect Magazine May 2007

“…building preferences are perceived differently by architects and lay critics, even when the architects are asked to think like non-architects.”
Journal of Environmental Psychology, 2001

I use engaging and creative exercises to help Architects and Interior Designers change their perspective so they can more easily anticipate and understand how end-users will feel and behave outside and inside the buildings and spaces they design. These are some of my evidence based design consulting clients:

Barbara's evidence based design consultant clients include AECOM Barbara's evidence based design consultant clients include Anshen+AllenBarbara's evidence based design consultant clients include Ellerbe BecketBarbara's evidence based design consultant clients include Hawley Peterson SnyderBarbara's evidence based design consultant clients include SCBBarbara's evidence based design consultant clients include nbbjBarbara's evidence based design consultant clients include RMWBarbara's evidence based design consultant clients include Gensler


Part 2:
Select Design Strategies that Reduce End-user Stress

Studies confirm that specific design features can increase chronic low-level stress (flooding our bodies with cortisol and adrenaline which impacts our immune systems and leaves us open to disease and depression). Reducing end-user stress is a major goal in Evidence and Research-Based Design. In Part 2 you will learn to identify stress-causing features as you compare design alternates during every phase from Site Planning to Interior Design.

Reducing or eliminating unconsciously stressful design features helps:

  • Increase Staff Retention.
  • Decrease Tripping and Falling (a huge problem in Healthcare facilities that also results in 85% of Workers’ Compensation Claims nationally).
  • Avoid the building features and furniture layouts that negatively impact staff productivity, creativity and concentration.

These issues will affect your clients’ bottom line. But most design firms aren’t talking about how design can help their client financially during the interview process and later during design presentations.

In the past, as an evidence based design architect interviewing for new work, when I asked a potential client to describe their main employee-related concern, they were generally very surprised and then questioned,

“You mean that YOUR design will help me solve THAT problem????”

(And then I generally won the project. Your firm will also benefit when you know the right questions to ask – and can confidently translate client goals into behavior-changing design features.)

Part 3:
Incorporate Design Features that Promote your Clients’ Specific Performance Objectives

After identifying the performance objective of each building, department, space and room, you can design to create the most positive outcomes and desired behavior.

KTVU interior design from Barbara Lyons Stewart - Environmental Design Consultant KPSL exterior - client of Barbara Lyons Stewart - Environmental Design Consultant Evidence Based Design example from Barbara Lyons Stewart - Environmental Design Consultant

Some Interior Design examples:

  • Is the performance objective of the Pediatric Waiting Room providing a calming place for children to read or color quietly around a table? Or do you want children exploring and playing?
  • Is the performance objective of the Law Firm’s Conference Room creating an energetic exchange of ideas among attorneys? Or trying to keep litigating parties calm and controlled?
  • Do you need to increase Creativity in the Open Office Area? Or is Discipline and Focus the goal?

As a Facilitator, I will help your design team identify the strategies that will help them achieve your objectives. This approach can apply to any or all design phases including:

  • building orientation and massing
  • site work and landscaping
  • exterior elevations, details and graphics
  • interior architecture shapes, materials and textures
  • color and patterns
  • interior features like flooring, walls, fabrics, finishes, furniture and lighting

By using Research-Based Design Strategies to add “Psychology” to “Design + Function,” you can maximize the positive benefits and long-term investment potential of every building and space (both qualities that your clients will appreciate).

You will also feel more confident and fulfilled professionally and personally knowing that your designs will improve the health and lives of the people who will occupy the places you design.

“The new facility looks great and the staff are very happy with it. Thank you for your help in being part of what made this project a success.”
Glen Bruser, Project Manager Daly City Adult Psychiatry,
Kaiser Permanente National Facilities Services/Capital Projects Group

Project Delivery:
Meetings, Workshops, Conference Calls, Drawing Reviews, Analysis Report… whatever works best for your schedule, location, budget and process.

To discuss your project, please contact Barbara @ LyonsArch.com, your evidence based design consultant.


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Barbara Lyons Stewart ~ Architectural Design Psychology consultant
Barbara Lyons Stewart, AIA EDAC

As a consultant, I help Building Owners, their Architects and Interior Designers incorporate research into their design process to help promote client and end-user goals including:

- Reducing Stress
- Increasing Productivity
- Fostering Creativity
- Promoting Focus & Concentration
- Improving Staff-Retention, Health & Satisfaction

The Research is out there. Why not let it enrich your practice by informing your design decision-making?
Please e-mail: Barbara@LyonsArch.com

“AECOM has consulted with Barbara on three major medical centers. She worked with our design teams to apply her nature-based environmental psychology research into wonderfully successful outcomes with each project. We have effectively applied the concepts described in her new book, Flooring Psychology, and feel that the time spent with Barbara has enhanced how we think as architects, or more importantly, how we can stop thinking like architects for a period and take on the viewpoint of the real end users and people who will occupy these spaces. Collaborating with Barbara has been a pleasure and I look forward to our next endeavor.”
Thomas Thompson, Associate Principal, Healthcare Studio Leader, AECOM

"Quantifiable Data: Firms able to demonstrate to their clients that the impact of what they design can be objectively measured will have a leg up on the competition."
AIArchitect Magazine, January 2012

barbara flooringpsych

Click the cover to hear Barbara's Interview with Floor Focus Magazine or Click the Flooring Psych cover to purchase Barbara's book from Amazon FLOORING PSYCH: How to Avoid (Literally) Slipping and Tripping through Life