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Can Building Design Help Mood?

DISCOVER DESIGN CONNECTIONS

Some buildings are a pleasure to be in, while others feel terrible. So, why do some spaces feel better than others?

Down to the neuro level, building design affects occupants. Research in the neuroscience field is uncovering not just how building design works, but also why, when and where it works. This helps architects to better understand how certain features, like light for instance, might impact occupant physiology, thought, behavior — and mood.

Such findings can help you form connections to improve your designs for your occupants.

EXAMINE OCCUPANT RESPONSE

“Because of advances in neuroscience, we can begin measuring the effects of the environment at a finer level of detail than we have before,” U.C.S.D.’s Edelstein says. “We can understand the environment better, we can understand our responses better, and we can correlate them to the outcomes. I just get chills when I think about it.” (1)

Characteristics like nature, light, carpeting and ceiling height all have qualities that can be fine tuned within a design — to arouse certain occupant responses. (1) For example, different spectrums of light can be strategically used in a building to help with occupant mood and behavior.

Blue light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and full-specturm fluorescent lights are best to use in buildings when you want your occupants’ mood to be alert and awake. Since such lights are sensed by an occupant’s circadian rhythm, they can help mood by arousing occupant attention. On the other hand, at night it would be best to integrate lighting with longer wavelengths. This would conflict less with occupant circadian rhythm; thus, allowing for better sleep and rest. (1)

Perhaps an architecture “feels” best when it is able to meet an occupant’s needs (physiological, intellectual, emotional and otherwise) on many levels. Neuroscience holds within it many gems that you, as an architect, can use — both to understand previous architectural master-works and to create your own inspiring constructions.

In the end, your architecture can not only help mood — it can often set mood.

Reference:

(1) Carliner, Saul. How Rooms and Architecture Affect Mood and Creativity. OUNO Design.

Image Credit: © jleworks | Flickr

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