What is Neuroscience in Architecture or NeuroArchitecture?

1. Overview of the Topic – Summary:

Neuroscience in Architecture or NeuroArchitecture, is a relatively new development in the field of neuroscience and architecture that studies the physiological responses to spaces and places.

From the book, Mind in Architecture: Leading neuroscientists and architects explore how the built environment affects our behavior, thoughts, emotions, and well-being. Although we spend more than ninety percent of our lives inside buildings, we understand very little about how the built environment affects our behavior, thoughts, emotions, and well-being. We are biological beings whose senses and neural systems have developed over millions of years; it stands to reason that research in the life sciences, particularly neuroscience, can offer compelling insights into the ways our buildings shape our interactions with the world.

2. What is the focus of this Topic?:

Neuroscience in Architecture or NeuroArchitecture studies the physiological responses to spaces, places and the Built Environment.

In her book Welcome to Your World: How the Built Environment Shapes Our Lives, Sarah Williams Goldhagen draws from recent research in cognitive neuroscience and psychology to demonstrate how people’s experiences of the places they build are central to their well-being, their physical health, their communal and social lives, and even their very sense of themselves. From this foundation, Goldhagen presents a powerful case that societies must use this knowledge to rethink what and how they build: the world needs better-designed, healthier environments that address the complex range of human individual and social needs.

3. Why it’s listed here – What is the relevance to Architectural Medicine?

With Architectural Medicine’s focus on health – mentally, physically and emotionally – the insights that NeuroArchitecture can provide to understand and create better health in the built environment is an important development. By providing information about the physiological responses and reactions to forms and shapes, this information can help architects and designers create more relaxing and less stressful places to live and work within.

New research into how built environments and different interiors impact the human experience has already provided insights into understanding how architecture can impact health and well-being. The increase of these studies will continue to provide a better understanding in designing structures and spaces that can reduce stress and improve wellness.

4. Common groups and individuals involved with this topic:

The field of Neuroscience in Architecture or NeuroArchitecture has been in existence for less than two decades, and as such the timeline of this field is very recent. However, research related to Evidence-Based Design and Environmental Psychology have provided a strong infrastructure to embrace these new studies in beginning steps to implement their findings.

In the US, the Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture founded in 2003, has made its mission to “promote and advance knowledge that links neuroscience research to a growing understanding of human responses to the built environment.” [2]

There are many professionals and universities around the world that are providing more research into this topic, and providing a more cohesive view of how the built environment impacts, shapes and influences human health.

5. Resources: