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Did You Know That Architecture Can Affect Your Mood?

With many of us choosing urban living, it is no wonder that architects are reconsidering the ability of buildings to affect our mood.

In 1943, Winston Churchill claimed that we shape buildings, and that buildings also shape us. Over 70 years on, psychologists and neuroscientists have discovered a wide range of evidence to back this up. So how does architecture affect our mood?

Our Brain and Mood

Cities and buildings affect our mood. It is well known that the hippocampal area of our brains contains specialist cells which are attuned to the arrangement and geometry of the places in which we inhabit.

However, urban architects have paid little attention to the possible cognitive effects of architecture on the city’s inhabitants. The importance of designing something which is individual and unique overrides other considerations, such as how the creation might shape the behaviour of those living alongside it. This could, thankfully, be about to change.

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Conscious Cities

Due to psychological studies, we are more aware of which type of urban environments people enjoy and find stimulating. The Conscious Cities Conference, held in London last month, aimed to discuss how cognitive scientists could share their discoveries with architects, bringing together psychologists, neuroscientists, engineers, designers and architects, all of which rarely cross paths in practice. It is thought that science could help designers justify the value of craftsmanship and good design, creating a powerful partnership which would transform the standards of the built environment.

For example, double glazing, such as those by double glazing in Cheltenham provides an abundance of natural light, good energy efficiency and the best views of your surroundings.

Greater interaction across different disciplines would avoid the repetition of architectural disasters, where bad design can lead to social dysfunction, squalor and crime. Critics argue that wide-open spaces created between blocks of modern high-rises discourage a feeling of community, with a lack of behavioural insight being blamed.

Thanks to recent psychological studies, there is a much better understanding of urban environments and their effect on people. Studies have included the use of wearable devices which monitor physiological responses, as well as smartphone apps that question emotional state, and headsets that measure brain activity and mood.