It is undisputed that built environments have an impact on people. While we feel comfortable in some, we are repelled by others. While we remember some for a lifetime, we forget others immediately after leaving them. Feeling comfortable in certain buildings or thinking they are beautiful does not mean that we can use them successfully in the fight against disease and use them effectively as a cure. Or does it?

From 28 to 30 November 2012, the first International Conference on ‘Optimal Healing Environments’ (OHE) at Alvaro Siza’s Building, Lantaren Venster in Rotterdam will try to answer this question. The three-day conference is organized by Kopvol architecture & psychology in cooperation with the Dutch architecture promoter SFA and the American Samueli Institute. Experts from six nations from various disciplines ranging from ophthalmology and echolocation to architecture and architectural history will speak at the conference. Each expert will represent an important perspective: that of the user, the researcher, the designer, the care giver. The conference kicks off with a symposium opened by Anneloes van der Leun (Dutch Fund Creative Industries). Van der Leun concretizes the question of the day: “Do we need more research or more design, or do both need to gain more creativity to achieve the goal of healing through architecture? You can find her and other expert contributions as full-time videos at the link provided.