While not entirely dependent on one another, the relationship between architecture and mental well-being is an important topic, as designers and architects can contribute to creating a more enjoyable environment for everyone. From strategies to enhance mental health in shared workspaces to the ways in which architecture can contribute to preventing cognitive decline, understanding the potential impact of environmental neurosciences and the ways they apply to architecture is an essential skill for our profession.
psychology: The Latest Architecture and News
What would it mean to design buildings that exceed the economic accountings of liberal biopolitics, that instead offer an entirely different rationale for supporting health? In the years that Michel Foucault conceptualized the term biopolitics, he was part of a constellation of researchers and architects who developed care praxes that defined the value of life and its maintenance through a desire-based calculus. The welfare state institutions of architect Nicole Sonolet in particular—mental hospitals, public housing complexes, and new village typologies built mainly in postwar France and postcolonial Algeria from the 1950s to the 1980s—were designed not only to support but to center the needs of people often excluded from design processes. Sonolet’s mental health centers for residents of Paris’s 13th arrondissement, in particular, were key projects for discovering a design practice tied to the provision of care for its own sake.
Within an increasingly specialized environment, architecture is becoming a collective endeavour at every stage of the design process, and social sciences have acquired an important role. As architecture has become more aware of its social outcome, decisions formerly resulted from the speculative thinking of the architect are now backed up by professional expertise. The following discusses the increasing role of humanist professions such as anthropology, psychology, or futurology within architecture.
How many changes have you done to your interior space during this past year? Whether it was a change of furniture layout, repainting the walls, adding more light fixtures or perhaps even removing them, after spending so much time in one place, the space you were once used to didn’t make sense anymore. We could blame the overall situation for how we’ve been feeling lately, but as a matter of fact, the interior environment plays a huge role in how we feel or behave as well. However, if you were wondering why some neighbors seem much more undisturbed and serene even in the midst of a pandemic, it could be because the interior is greener on the other side.
People often find themselves physically and emotionally comfortable in specific public places. Whether one's reading a book on the terrace of a coffee shop, sitting on a cozy sofa at a hair salon, or waiting for the train at train station, some spaces tend to initiate a feeling identical to being in the comfort of one's home.
The field of environmental psychology has helped find the factors that achieve "human comfort", and now, architects and designers are working alongside the field's specialists to develop comfortable spaces.
The built atmosphere in which we live has a profound impact on our mood and well-being. For those with mental health issues, this fact is particularly important to understand. This raises the question: can architects successfully design a space that has an overall positive influence on the healing process? What integrated elements of the building, in particular, aid in the process while fighting the prejudice and stigma of mental health issues?
Open Call: Conscious Cities Anthology 2018: Official Publication of the 2018 Conscious Cities Festival
In anticipation of the 2018 Conscious Cities Festival this October, we are delighted to announce an open call for submissions to its official publication - showcasing the diverse and impactful thinking by Conscious Cities practitioners.
For this issue, we are soliciting submissions related to the Conscious Cities manifesto from both festival participants and the general public. Festival participants have the freedom to submit any piece of work, regardless of what they plan to present. Casting this wide net will not only further demonstrate the vital and diverse work being done within the Conscious Cities movement, but also serve as a way
Architecture can give you a headache. That sentence probably doesn't sound surprising for anyone who has dealt with the stress of practicing or studying architecture but, increasingly, psychologists are beginning to understand that you don't need to work on architectural designs for buildings to cause you pain. In an interesting article published by The Conversation, Arnold J Wilkins, a Professor of Psychology at the University of Essex, discusses how discomfort, headaches, and even migraines can be caused or exacerbated by simply looking at certain visual stimuli—with the straight lines and repetitive patterns of urban environments singled out as the main culprit.
In order to be successful in any field, professionals must stay ahead of the curve—though in architecture nowadays, technology progresses so quickly that it’s difficult to be on the front lines. Virtual Reality can transport architects and their clients into unbuilt designs and foreign lands. Smart Cities implement a network of information and communication technologies to conserve resources and simplify everyday life. Responsive Design will give buildings the ability to be an extension of the human body by sensing occupants' needs and responding to them.
With the technology boom, if architects want to stay in the game they will inevitably have to work alongside not only techies but scientists too. Neuroscientist Colin Ellard works “at the intersection of psychology and architectural and urban design.” In his book, Places of the Heart: The Psychogeography of Everyday Life, Ellard examines how our technology-based world impacts our emotions and behavior to try to figure out what kind of world we should strive to create.
This article was originally published by Common Edge as "Sarah Williams Goldhagen on How the Brain Works and What It Means for Architecture."
Sarah Williams Goldhagen has taken a big swing. Her new book, Welcome to Your World: How the Built Environment Shapes Our Lives, is nothing less than a meticulously constructed argument for completely rethinking our way of looking at architecture. A longtime critic for The New Republic and a former lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Goldhagen has taken a deep dive into the rapidly advancing field of cognitive science, in an attempt to link it to a new human-centered approach to the built world. The book is both an examination of the science behind cognition (and its relevance to architecture), and a polemic against the stultifying status quo. Recently I talked to the author, who was busy preparing for a year-long trip around the world, about the book, the science, and the state of architectural education.
This 3D model is as close as you can get to the real thing, as Omega House is one of the few Case Study Houses that was never built. Presented early in the case study program of Arts & Architecture magazine in 1945, it presents one of the most innovative design concepts in the series, one you can now explore in your browser.
The architect, Richard Neutra, was a celebrity in his own lifetime, and among the most esteemed of the high modernists. Neutra was born in Vienna and already over 30 when he arrived in America in 1923. He worked for Erich Mendelsohn, for Frank Lloyd Wright, and briefly with Rudolph Schindler. Many of his commissions were domestic houses, structures that he managed to make wonderfully photogenic. Neutra carried himself with some of the aristocratic manner of a Mies van der Rohe, but tempered by the lively west coast egalitarianism of Charles and Ray Eames (link to previous project). He made the cover of Time Magazine in the forties, and might be one of the only prominent architects ever to build a drive-in church. Perhaps most remarkably, Ayn Rand wrote the screenplay to The Fountainhead whilst living in a house designed by Neutra.
Nothing is more iconic of progress than the skyscraper - but as developers continue to build up, it begs the question: what effect does higher living have on our mental health? Taking opinions from authors, architects, engineers and residences of high-rise apartments, Fast Company reports on the pros and cons of the vertical obsession of the 21st century. Comparing the liberation offered by the Hancock building and the failure of the Pruitt-Igoe project, the article looks at how living at high altitudes may change the way that we socialize and perceive space. Read the full article, “The Psychology of Skyscrapers,” and decide for yourself whether this trend of growing buildings is a good or bad thing.