This report articulates, discourses why and how to use evidence from empirical studies to close the loop of design practices. An early effort by RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) aiming to bring the stage of “feedback” into the design process was not successful due to the nature of the building practice that is unidirectional and irreversible. However, this endeavor aroused interests and attentions in academia where post-occupancy evaluations (POE)/empirical studies are continuously conducted to look at the impacts of built environments on occupants’ use behavior, satisfaction, health and productivity. Arguably, a more sensible way to “closing the loop” is using the lessons from these POEs/empirical studies to inform design brief in the early stage rather than adding a new stage “feedback” in the late stage. The question is: how to draw on these POEs/empirical studies? Learning from Evidence-based Medicine (EBM) that emphasizes the use of evidence from well designed and conducted research for healthcare decision-making, evidence-based design (EBD) is emerging in the built environment area aiming to use evidence from POEs and empirical studies to inform healthcare facilities/workplace design. The EBD research projects conducted by WGBC (World Green Building Council), CMU (Carnegie Mellon University), CABE (Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment) and so on provide useful frameworks to align and present evidence for healthy and productive design. Pros and cons of these frameworks are discussed to imply for the CRCLCL RP 1009.
This report also includes theories and methodologies about Systematic Review from social sciences to complement the EBD for better standardization and transparency. To make up for the gap left by previous EBD research, it is expected that the CRCLCL RP 1009 can collage fragmented evidence to identify a larger picture showing what’s the role of physical environments in modern workplaces. Last but not least, this report aims to help the coming PhD students better understand this project and conduct the evidence collection work.