Architecture and Neuroscience

23:30 § 1 Comment

A question still explored by modern neuroscience, is to understand what particular tangible factors have a notable impact on our perception within space. Armed with our previous knowledge on the parameters that affect our biochemical make up, how can we design spaces that have a more constant appeal to the neural patterns throughout a cross section of society?

This is where our connection with architecture provides fascinating potential; in architecture we can control these tangible factors in an environment. Preconceived ideas, previous exposure to medium and cultural background inevitably shape our feelings towards design, however neuroscience offers the potential to understand more about the rhythm of feelings created; excitement, comfort or awe in correlation to the placement in architectural space.

Architects are often seen as a profession solely concerned with the aesthetic of their designs. However, a well-designed building should primarily enhance the behavioural qualities of the inhabitant and promote wellbeing. As such they provide the occupants with appropriate lighting, heating and cooling, acoustics and a well designed ‘shell’ in which to perform the task at hand. Further investigation into neuroscience in architecture could help inform architects how to design offices that promote productivity, classrooms that help concentration and adaptable homes depending on the mood or activity being undertaken.

The field of environmental psychology and neuroscience is so vast that the task of understanding the multiple interactions of the brain in responding to memories and senses seems daunting. However, our current medical knowledge reveals that careful science can lead to successful generalizations and hypotheses about how and why our bodies respond as they do. The scientific method, that prescribes careful experiments and controlled testing, has been a successful model for understanding new discoveries in science for years. In a similar way, controlled experimental design could increase our understanding of our responses to the elements of architectural settings.

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