David DeQuattro RGB Architects

How Architecture Influences Human Behavior

Architects need to place a lot of thought into how they design buildings and spaces for the people that will inhabit them for many reasons: safety, function, efficiency, etc. However, building design can also influence human behavior as well.

David DeQuattro explains that architects can use tenets of environmental psychology to help them to create spaces that positively affect those living in them.

Keep reading to understand more about the influencing factors behind architecture on human behaviors.

Environmental Psychology

Environmental psychology involves studying the link between people and their environment. It helps us to understand why people feel a certain way in certain spaces and also helps to inform environmental and architectural planning.

A perfect space is based on three important elements:

  • Unity – which means that people feel connected to the environment and the purpose of the space.
  • Legibility – which makes the building easy to navigate.
  • Mystery – sparks curiosity and makes people want to learn more about the environment.

How can Architecture Positively Influence Human Behavior

• Improve Wellbeing

Well-designed architecture can promote physical and mental well-being. Incorporating elements such as natural light, good ventilation, and access to green spaces can improve mood, reduce stress, and increase productivity.

• Increase Connectivity and Purpose

Architecture can be designed to foster social connections and create inclusive spaces. Well-planned public spaces, community centers, and parks can serve as gathering places, encouraging social interaction, and promoting a sense of connection to the environment.

Open floor plans, shared spaces, and common areas in buildings can facilitate collaboration and communication among residents or employees, helping to build a sense of inclusion and community.

Efficient and well-designed architectural spaces can enhance productivity and functionality. Optimized layouts, ergonomic workstations, and efficient circulation paths can facilitate smooth workflows, reduce stress, and improve performance in various settings, such as offices, schools, and hospitals.

• Foster Creativity and Culture

Architectural designs that incorporate elements of beauty, uniqueness, and aesthetic appeal can inspire and stimulate creativity. Thoughtful use of materials, colors, textures, and spatial arrangements can evoke emotions, spark imagination, and enhance the overall experience of the built environment.

Architecture can celebrate and preserve cultural heritage by incorporating design elements that reflect local traditions, history, and values. This can create a sense of pride, identity, and connection to one’s cultural roots, fostering a positive sense of belonging and appreciation for diversity.

David DeQuattro

The Negative Influence

• Lack of Inspiration

Bland and monotonous architectural environments can impact people’s moods and overall well-being. Dull spaces lacking visual interest or natural elements may lead to boredom, disengagement, and decreased creativity.

Extensive research has demonstrated that individuals possess an innate inclination to evade or disregard vacant voids. This profound insight substantiates the remarkable potential for structures aspiring to elude detection to harness the power of blank exteriors. Likewise, those aspiring to engender unwavering compliance among inhabitants and pedestrians can deftly employ blank facades as a powerful instrument of influence.

• Not Meeting Needs

Poorly designed architecture that fails to meet the needs of its users can lead to frustration and inconvenience. For example, a lack of proper ventilation or limited natural light.
This is especially true when architecture is designed without accommodating people with disabilities. It can lead to an increased sense of marginalization and show a lack of inclusivity leading to frustration.

• Lack of Personal Space and Belonging

Dense and overcrowded urban environments with inadequate living spaces can create a sense of discomfort, stress, and lack of privacy. These conditions can impact mental health and lead to increased aggression, anxiety, and social isolation.

David DeQuattro RGB Architects

The Benefits of Green Architecture in Design

For modern architects, it’s easier than ever to be green.

Motivated by worsening climate change and increased consumer demand, David DeQuattro reports that green building is now a $104 billion market. The sale of smart green buildings in the U.S. has risen from $1.3 billion in 2016 to $4.3 billion in 2020. The global green building market? It was $341.8 billion in 2020.

Green architecture is everywhere — community centers, high schools, colleges, apartments, and single-family homes. In the push toward a zero net energy future and prioritizing the protection of natural resources, green architecture is increasingly seen as essential.

Green Architecture Benefits

In Melbourne, Australia, the power of green architecture is on full display. The Pixel Building is the country’s first carbon-neutral office structure. It produces all its own water and power on site. It has a rainwater-catching roof, sports numerous wind turbines, and is capable of processing wastewater.

The Pixel Building shows the overall potential of green architecture and sustainable design. The clear benefits include:

Improved Efficiency

Supplies of energy and water continue to dwindle and green architecture has found innovative ways to not just protect such vital resources but preserve them.

This is particularly important for large urban city centers where such shared resources are particularly strained.

Energy efficiency is key. Using alternative sources, including wind, sun, and water power, helps eliminate pollution from the ecosystem associated with costly nonrenewable energy sources. All told, green buildings reduce emissions of carbon dioxide by an average of 34 percent.


The sustainable materials prevalent in green architecture are built to last. This includes roof and deck materials that are typically upcycled even under harsh natural elements. They also eliminate the use of chemicals that have been shown to be detrimental to humans and the environment.

Operating Costs Reduced

Since green architecture optimizes energy output it also reduces the consumption of energy, cutting down energy costs considerably for corporations and individuals who live and work in green buildings.

Buildings that are certified through Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) have been shown to lower everyday costs year after year.

One study found that LEED buildings cost maintenance costs by nearly 20 percent when compared to traditional buildings. Many governments also offer tax benefits for new green buildings or green retrofits.

David DeQuattro

Better Quality of Life

In addition to eschewing harmful chemicals, green architecture has been widely shown to improve air quality for those who live and work in such buildings or in the surrounding areas.

A clean environment also may lead to increased productivity at work, and employees have shown improved focus and concentration. Green architecture achieves this in ways both big and small.

For example, interior design that integrates plants effectively maintains air circulation and quality which often lowers the risk of a range of pulmonary diseases.

Job Creation

The push toward green building has reportedly created millions of new jobs and bolstered the U.S. economy. In just three years, from 2011 to 2014, the national gross domestic product rose by nearly $170 billion.

David DeQuattro RGB Architects

Promenade Apartments: One of Rhode Island’s Biggest Historic Renovation Projects

The luxury apartment complex, aptly named the Promenade Apartments, was completed in 2005. Boasting 220 loft apartments totaling 278,000 square feet, it was one of Rhode Island’s biggest historic renovation projects — and the result is simply sublime.

The high-end apartment building was constructed as part of the wider Foundry Complex by RGB, a diversified project management, architecture, and interior design firm, managed by David DeQuattro. By the end of the project, the company had completed $80 million in work throughout numerous phases and buildings, equating to over a whopping 25 acres.

A History of the Building

Those who reside in the Promenade Apartments of today may be unaware of the building’s rich history. Paying homage to the property’s utilization over the many years, the living areas retain the exposed red brick walls that hold many stories within them.

Between 1865 and 1957, the Brown and Sharpe Manufacturing Company crafted machine tools on the site of the now Promenade Apartments. But since 1967, the Guerra family has toiled to renovate the buildings.

As mentioned above, the wider project is the Foundry Complex, which boasts everything from residential suites to office blocks to entertainment quarters. And, perhaps without realizing it at the time, it set the national bar for adaptive mixed-use properties in a historical setting.

The Promenade is The Foundry’s Biggest Project to Date

Promenade Apartments is monumental for the Foundry Complex, marking its largest project. The 220 luxury apartments include studio, one-, and two-bedroom apartments with beautiful exposed red brick walls, eight-foot-high thermally glazed windows, ceilings as tall as 17 feet, granite countertops in the kitchens, and panoramic views of Providence.

And if the architectural spectacle wasn’t enough for potential residents, the building boasts a range of amenities for its inhabitants to utilize. Perhaps the most notable include the following:

  • A huge fitness center complete with exercise bikes, ellipticals, treadmills, TVs, and resistance machines (to name a few)
  • An indoor swimming pool featuring a retractable roof and a hot tub
  • An event room exclusively for residents
  • A business center with high-speed internet connectivity, copiers, and faxes
  • A freight elevator for easy lifting
  • Two covered loading docks
  • A media area with a large projection screen
David DeQuattro

A Historic Project with a Modern Feel

The National Park Service certified the Promenade Apartments as a Historic Renovation, with the sale of the historic tax credits allowing its development to become a rental project rather than a complex of condominiums.

According to the architectural and interior design service providers for the project, RGB, more than one million square feet of major renovation and window replacements were acquired through the Historic Commission.

But despite the historic renovation status, the apartments manage to elicit a modern feel in the best way. The expert architects on this project were able to retain the essence of the age-old building while affording residents exuberantly updated touches.

And the luxuriously high ceilings, state-of-the-art appliances, and color schemes only add to the open-plan nature of the apartments.

David DeQuattro RGB Architects

National Guard Training Facility – The Counter Drug Administration and Training Establishment

The Rhode Island Army National Guard has commissioned David DeQuattro and RGB Architects team to design its brand-new Counter Drug Administrative and Training Facility. Located in Coventry, Rhode Island, the project is estimated to cost around $4.35 million to serve federal, state, and municipal markets.

The firm is a highly diverse architecture, interior design, and project management company that serves a formidable range of clients in New England and throughout Rhode Island. The firm keeps ecological and innovation at its core, so it’s no wonder the RI Army National Guard chose this enterprise to design their structure.

The Counter Drug Training Facility

The National Guard Counter Drug program bridges the gap between non-DoD and DoD institutions in the battle against illegal substances and countrywide threats.

The highly qualified team supports detecting, preventing, disrupting, and curtailing drug trafficking activities using interagency efforts to minimize the threats and negative impacts of transnational criminal organizations.

And this new training facility will help the Rhode Island Army National Guard better deliver the program, keeping the state (and nation) a safer place for the population.

According to the facility design, the establishment will include training areas, dormitories, and administrative areas. Specifically, the rooms will include:

  • showers
  • barracks
  • latrines
  • lockers
  • offices
  • arms vaults
  • storage vaults
  • classrooms
  • parking spaces;
  • and much more. 

The building will accommodate as many as ten full-time staff and a minimum capacity of 50 trainees.

The National Guard Training Facility Location

According to the site boundary map posted by the project’s architects, the Counter Drug Training Facility will sit behind structures already on the Camp Fogarty Training Site, covering an expansive area.

The design team has already conducted the site selection study and drawn the conceptual design for the new facility. However, it is currently waiting for the Rhode Island Army National Guard to direct them, so construction documents and bidding can commence.

David DeQuattro

The Project Adds to The Already-Extensive Offerings at the Camp Fogarty Training Grounds

The new Counter Drug Training Facility will add to the Rhode Island Army National Guard’s huge operations at Camp Fogarty. Once construction is complete, it will join the Readiness/Reserve Center (formally known as the Joint Force Headquarters) as the second exciting recent addition.

The Readiness/Reserve Center is an 80,766-square-foot, two-story building containing administrative, logistics, and training offices for the Rhode Island Air National Guard and the Rhode Island Army National Guard.

Consolidating personnel once housed in the Schofield Armory and Command Readiness Center, the building stands on a federally owned 22-acre site.

It boasts a Joint Operations Center (JOC), Collaboration Area, integrated Army Guard and Air Guard command room, and a NIPRNET. All the classrooms and training areas are technologically enhanced, allowing trainees to satisfy their capabilities and meet their goals.

The National Guard employed Pond for this development and RGB Architects for the soon-to-be-built Counter Drug Training Facility. However, both maintain the exterior aesthetic utilized in other areas of Camp Fogarty for flawless cohesion.

David DeQuattro RGB Architects

Rhode Island Fire Training Academy

One of the most recent projects undertaken by David DeQuattro and RGB Architects was to create a new fire training academy in Exeter, RI.

The design was completed in two phases. The first was to create a “burn” building measuring 3,550 square feet, a training tower, a storage building, parking spaces for emergency vehicles, and a 15,000 square feet training area. The second and final phase incorporated the fire department headquarters and classroom/office space.

Below, more on what the project entailed:

About the Rhode Island Fire Training Academy

Rhode Island has over 6000 firefighters enlisted within the state, so it is important that they all have access to the best training facility possible.

Holding the training facility in one place means that a coordinated effort can be made to ensure everyone is on the same page, and that every fire department has access to the same state-of-the-art technologies and facilities to enhance their practice.

These requirements included a top-of-the-range “burn” building for firefighting simulations, as well as space to carry out ground operations training. Classroom space was also required for theoretical learning.

Phase 1

The first phase of design and construction for the Rhode Island Fire Training Academy was to create the practical training space needed for the state’s fire service.

This included a “burn” building, which is used by firefighters to set controlled fires to allow them to carry out a range of tests, training exercises, and simulations. This needed to be created and designed to strict specifications to not only ensure operability, but also the safety of firefighters training in the space.

The large, 15,000 square feet training ground was also completed in phase 1. This large area allows firefighters to carry out larger maneuvers, including learning how to operate larger fire trucks and equipment.

Construction of the structures and spaces for phase 1 concluded in 2011.

Phase 2

Phase 2 revolved around creating the other buildings needed at the site. A large, 8,100 square feet complex was designed as a place for fire department administration. This building also houses the classrooms used by firefighters for non-practical training and learning while at the academy.

This final phase of design and construction was completed in 2017, with the official opening ceremony for the training academy taking place on June 4th of that year.

David DeQuattro

Future Impact of the Rhode Island Fire Training Academy

The $5.5 million project has helped to train hundreds of new firefighters across the state, including a program allowing high schoolers in Providence to complete a 150-hour training course to help to train the firefighters of the future.

This state-of-the-art training hub also reduces costs for local fire departments by allowing for collective training of trainees and firefighters from across the state, meaning that costly training programs don’t need to be run for only one or two applicants at a time.

About RGB Architects

This is not the first municipal project for RGB Architects, who have designed many other plans for government buildings across Rhode Island and beyond.

Other projects have included health centers, schools, police stations, and libraries.