Environmental neuroscience is an emerging field devoted to studying the impact of social and physical environments on brain processes and behaviour. From the various opportunities for social interaction to noise levels and access to green spaces, the characteristics of the urban environment have important implications for neural mechanisms and brain functioning, thus influencing our physical state. The field paints a different image of how cities impact our health and well-being, thus providing a new, scientific layer of understanding that could help architects, urban planners, and decision-makers create more equitable urban environments.
Well Being: The Latest Architecture and News
Cooking shows have never been more popular around the world than they are now. Whether from recipes, reality shows, or documentaries, writer Michael Pollan points out that it is not uncommon to spend more time watching than preparing our own food. This is a very curious phenomenon, as we can only imagine the tastes and smells on the other side of the screen, which the presenters often like to remind us. At the same time, when we watch something about the Middle Ages, polluted rivers, or nuclear disasters, we are relieved that there is no technology to transmit smells across the screen. In fact, when dealing with odors (more specifically the bad ones), we know how unpleasant it is to be in a space that doesn't smell good. When dealing with buildings, what are the main sources of bad smells and how can this affect our health and well-being?
Architects are mobilizing their efforts, to help schools around the world reconsider their design in order to guarantee sustainability, emotional wellness, and physical health. CetraRuddy, Cooper Robertson, and WXY are amongst those proposing an increase in outdoor programming and a rearrangement of classrooms, for post-pandemic school design.
The architectural scene has been witnessing lately a growing focus on indoor/outdoor functions. Discover 3 different interventions from 3 different practices, tackling one common issue, and focusing on outdoor space as a major programming element.
As hospitals around the world are reaching their capacity, the architecture and design community is developing new alternatives to fight COVID-19. In order to build 60 Emergency Quarantine Facilities (EQF), WTA was inspired by their pavilion developed last year, part of the Anthology Festival. A viable quarantine structure, the Boysen Pavilion “embodied speed, scalability and simplicity in its structure”.
Although The Architecture of Happiness did not gain momentum after its publication in the mid-2000s, the ideology of architecture and well-being has remained a topic of intrigue until today. To further explore this ideology, the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA), with the curation of Francesco Garutti, have put together an exhibition that explores how the “happiness industry” has controlled every aspect of contemporary life after the 2008 financial crash.
Our Happy Life, Architecture and Well-being in the Age of Emotional Capitalism is a non-archival show that exhibits work from architects, artists, and photographers. Metropolis’ Samuel Medina spoke to Garutti to discuss the notion behind the exhibition, social media, and architecture’s new spaces of meaning.
Designed by Henning Larsen and MSR Design, the New Public Service Building for the city of Minneapolis aims to consolidate several departments, currently found across multiple different sites, into one unified building. The scheme promotes the health and well-being of its 1,300 employees through maximizing daylight and green space throughout, integrating a significantly sustainable remit within the 385,000 square foot, 11 story proposal. Located diagonally across from the existing city hall, Henning Larsen brings a “knowledge-based Scandinavian design approach” to the high-performance office space, hoping to set a “new architectural agenda in North America."