Kennesaw State University Magazine Spring 2017 : Page 8

AROUND CAMPUS ARCHITECTURE ANSWERS Alumnus: Matthew A. Finn W ith a passion for the intersection between architecture and health, Matt Finn (Architecture, ’07) is working to understand how design affects people. “As an architect, I need to understand how the spaces I design affect people who use them,” said Finn, who gained his start studying how the built environment could facilitate psychotherapy for U.S. combat veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). “When we look at the military’s observational techniques for how to enter a dangerous area and assess it for threats, it serves as a great template for understanding how human beings use their whole body to gather information about their surroundings,” he said. “There are lessons in this that we can apply to any number of situations.” Partnering with a Veteran Affairs psychologist and a Marine Corps veteran, Finn first began the PTSD research while at Perkins+Will, the design firm he joined after completing his bachelor’s degree in 2007. “Architecture’s role is to facilitate the activities within,” Finn said. Finn is currently collaborating with the National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to understand how design can influence childhood obesity in America, and with the Green Health Partnership on ways the built environment can influence issues of public health. Healthcare Design recently named Finn the 2016 HCD 10 Researcher, making him one of the first practicing architects to receive this distinction. One of the projects noted by the magazine was Finn’s consultation on the design of ICU patient rooms for the University of Virginia Health System. Finn and his transdisciplinary research team’s findings were featured at the 2014 Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture Conference and the 2015 American Institute of Architects Convention. “Matt’s work has provided important insight on the correlation between human health and environment design, specifically how design can facilitate healing and progress for individuals suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and childhood obesity,” said Tony Rizzuto, chair of the department of Architecture at Kennesaw State. “His research has had a transformative impact on the field of healthcare design, one that we can all benefit from.” In 2014, Finn founded his own consulting and design firm, Cognitive Design, LLC. In 2016, he left Perkins+Will to pursue his own practice full time. 8 KENNESAW STATE UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE

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