Architecture affects how you feel – Neuroarchitecture – ARK Architects

Neuroarchitecture in ARK Architects

We now know that buildings and cities can affect our mood and well-being, and that specialised cells in the hippocampal region of our brains are attuned to the geometry and arrangement of the spaces we inhabit.


Emotions that generate a certain behavior and well-being. Nowadays this emotional activity can be measured thanks to the tools of neurotechnology. In this way we achieve to combine architecture and neuroscience in order to bring off spaces and projects that make our clients exited and captivated.

In today’s world, integration of and synergy between disciplines is common, since many fields of study, especially those that involve human beings, are connected. Using this notion as a basis, we must clarify what the prefix neuro- means, before explaining the relationship between neuroscience and architecture design.

Is a discipline that brings together other fields of study that focus on how humans behave in different environments and in response to different stimuli. Its focus is strongly scientific in nature and it serves as a basis for other fields such as programming, robotics, marketing, and others. It is close to yet far from the more theoretical psychology, feng shui, and other areas that are just as interesting, but do not apply the objective protocols of the scientific community and are based on more subjective notions. Its origins trace back to around 2002, when an article in Forbes magazine presented studies that investigated how different areas of the brain were activated upon using different consumer products.
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“There are some really good [evidence-based] guidelines out there” on how to design user-friendly buildings, says Ruth Dalton, who studies both architecture and cognitive science at Northumbria University in Newcastle. “A lot of architects choose to ignore them. Why is that?”

Today, thanks to psychological studies, we have a much better idea of the kind of urban environments that people like or find stimulating

Architects Marbella

It’s about time we turned our attention to architecture – a ubiquitous phenomenon that influences our lives on a daily basis. Whereas this concept comprises both exterior and interior design we will mainly focus on the latter in this post.

Embodied Account of Architecture

If you still think that people are detached observers who perceive architectural spaces as just a set of physical properties, I am sorry to disappoint you, but this view is out of fashion. The current approach emphasizes the connection between a building and a person who experiences it. According to the embodied account, our perception, thoughts, and emotions are dependent on and shaped by the interaction with the environment. In other words, we are not merely passive recipients of sensory information, but we actively construct our experience of the architectural space through interacting with it. To paraphrase architect Juhani Pallasmaa, we experience ourselves in the environment, and the environment exists through our embodied experience. 


Perceiving Space through Action: Embodied Simulation

Let’s take a look at the mechanisms that are likely to underlie our embodied experiences.

Embodied simulation is an important concept for understanding the perception of space. Seeing a manipulable object leads to the simulation of a grasping action. Seeing someone else performing an action or experiencing a sensation (e.g. touch) or a certain emotion, activates our brain as if we were doing or experiencing the same. Embodied simulation can be thought of as our means of connecting to the world around us. And perception of space and objects around us can be conceptualized as mapping these spaces and objects on potential action schemata.

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Experiencing Architecture

Though better controlled experiments are needed, some neuroimaging studies have already looked at how people experience specific aspects of space. Rooms with curved lines, high ceilings, and open rooms were perceived as more beautiful. Since curvilinear spaces were also judged more pleasant and activated the area implicated in emotional processing, it is possible that the preference for curved contours is grounded in affect.[6], [7]

So far, research has mostly concentrated on the visual domain. But this is not to say that we can disregard other modalities. In fact, acoustic, olfactory, and tactile sensations are an integral part of how we experience space.[3] Exotic scents in a spa help to create relaxing atmosphere. A frieze carpet produces the sense of coziness and shelter, while a sleek stone floor lets you know you’re in an official and solemn place. Sound is a very efficient instrument for creating a shared group experience, so no wonder that acoustics has been particularly important in temple architecture. A curious example is El Castillo pyramid of Chichen Itza, whose stairs were designed to make footsteps resemble the sound of raindrops, thus physically incorporating the rain theme – very important in Mayan culture – into the worshiping experience.

Antonio Ruiz - neuroscience and architecture

Smart Design: Neuromorphic Architecture

Though most of our homes are probably still not very tech savvy – the greatest achievement being air conditioning – the era of smart design has already begun. Smart design emphasizes the ability of the space to recognize the needs of its inhabitants and make the environment better suited to those needs, as well as meet the sustainable criteria. As an example, consider buildings that monitor and automatically adjust light or temperature depending on the time of day or temperature outside. These processes are based on the use of sensors, actuators and computational algorithms.

Thanks to this marriage between architecture and neuroscience born neuroarchitecture


Neuroarchitecture is a discipline that seeks to explore the relationship between neuroscience and the modern architecture design of buildings and other man-made structures that make up the artificially created environment that most human beings live within.

Neuroarchitecture addresses the level of human response to the components that make up this sort of built environment. Is based on the premise that artificial element added by human have a significant impact on the function of the brain and nervous system. Considering this we elaborate all of our modern house plans.

Humanly constructed elements influence the function of the nervous system and brain activity as a result of the stimulation of the senses. In some cases, the impact may be beneficial, while in other situations the form and structure of some luxury houses may create a negative reaction on some level.


An exciting world to discover and that we integrate in ARK Architects

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