How Does Architecture Affect Human Behavior?
January 27, 2021
January 27, 2021
As an art student and aspiring architect, I was curious as to how architecture affects human behavior.
Architecture is all around us whether you are sitting in your living room or visiting the Eiffel Tower. Here I will be explaining how certain things in an architectural design can manipulate how we as humans think, feel and act, under certain conditions.
First, how different colors in the interior of a building can spark up certain emotions and actions within us. An example of this is how harsh, brighter colors will tend to make us feel alert and more excited, versus softer darker colors will make us more calm, relaxed, and comfortable.
Secondly how lighting in the room can affect different behaviors. Then I will mention how the space around a person inside of a building can affect the way we think and the way we work and act.
An example of this, which is scientifically proven that humans work best and more efficiently in clean and organized spaces. Finally, I will talk about how the environment around the building is just as important or more important than the interior design of a building, because not only it affects people mentally, but it can also affect people physically.
Architectures literal meaning from the dictionary means, the art or practice of designing buildings. Most people when they think of the word Architecture, they will immediately associate it with one of the most famous buildings or structures in the world. Such as the Eiffel Tower, Empire State Building, Taj Mahal, Egyptian Pyramids, and so on.
On the other hand, some people will think of architecture as a glorified art form. Not only can people view and appreciate a building’s beauty and history. But in most cases the audience can engage with the architectural structure.
With, it is crucial for architects to design the building with the awareness of how people might react and how people will move within the building. Certain designs of architecture and interior design can spark up different moods in different situations.
So, architects need to be careful with what colors, materials, lighting they will be using, as well as how big or how small rooms are.
Overall, architecture is a huge factor into manipulating how a person is going to feel for the rest of the day because people are constantly inside of buildings and everything a person is feeling about the building, theyare inside of, is completely subconscious; in addition, it can affect how a person might react to their surroundings for the rest of their life.
One of the most thought-out details that interior designers pay attention to, is color and lighting.
Not only can color and the lighting of an ambient make a room look aesthetically pleasing but it can impact on what moods and behaviors spark up in each person. When choosing a color palette for a room or a building you need to first understand what colors are associated with what emotions.
In recent studies, psychologists use color therapy to find what emotions are associated with each color. They have found that the emotions have been exaggerated and that color has different emotions and meaning depending on the culture. For example, in the western culture, the color white is associated with purity, cleanliness, and youth. But overall, no matter the culture, subconsciously colors affect our moods.
In (“Color Psychology: How to Pick Paint Colors | True Value Paint”) I found several examples of what colors make people feel. Colors that have any blue tones will give off a feeling of calmness, because often blue is associated with heaven and the sky.
Orange will stimulate enthusiasm, warmth, and balance. In addition, orange is a great color for fast food, or eateries because it also stimulates appetite. Green is associated with nature, so then it gives a sense of relaxing and joyful mood.
Some other popular colors that people will find in buildings are browns, whites, and blacks. Brown tones are associated with earth and will give a sense of security and comfort.
While white tones are associated with the feeling of cleanliness as well as a refreshing, formal feel. And lastly black represents mystery and elegance, therefore the mood that tends to spark up is sophisticated.
But if there is too much black in a room in a building, it might switch up the mood, and start feeling a lot more depressing.
Same thing goes with lighting. Lighting can come in different colors, saturations, and intensities. With all the variations of different types of lighting, there are certain lights that will better benefit people in different situations. An example of this would be in an elder care center.
People who are there are elders who are in their last stages of life. Typically, they are reflecting on their past and thinking about the people they are currently missing. So to overcome the depressive mood and replace it will have a more positive feel.
It is a fact having a positive mood helps improve someone’s general wellbeing and health, through intelligent lighting solutions.
These intelligent lighting solutions help make the room a more pleasant place to be in. LED is a great source of lighting because you can change the color as well as the intensity of the light. Light and color not only affects people psychologically but also biological.
If light has a shorter wavelength it will affect people biologically by influencing their circadian rhythms.
From a psychological viewpoint, colored lighting or different hues is what influences people’s moods. An example of this would be that if there’s a blue hue, people will feel calmer versus those in a redder hue will experience more energy.
In addition, if the lighting in a room is very saturated in places like schools and offices it will stimulate depression, confusion and even anger. But if office and school’s lighting are less saturated and more of a white colored light or if the light has a blue hue, it has been shown that people work more productively with a more positive mood.
Now moving away from details in design and moving towards the building’s skeleton and the reasoning as to why some rooms in a building are designed the way they are.
There are several things that can be explained by an architect as to why they decided to make something the way it currently is. The same way lighting and color can affect people’s moods, health, behaviors, so can the layout of a room in a building.
An easy example of this, is that everyone knows that people work more productively and efficiently in clean and in organized spaces.
This is because it allows people to be more focused and less distracted, it also allows people to be more collaborative and open minded.
In addition, if people are in a space where they feel comfortable and relaxed, they will have a positive and happy mood.
But if people are in a space where they do not feel comfortable with their surroundings, then the ultimate result will lead to that person feeling restless, discomfort, and in some cases anxiety.
Another factor that can have a huge impact on how we think and work, is the distance between people and the ceiling. This is an unconscious impact, but high and low ceilings can benefit people greatly when they are trying to do specific tasks.
High ceilings are great for when people are trying to have abstract thinking and to have more free thoughts to flow in, this is very good for when designing art studios.
On the other hand, low ceilings are very beneficial for when people need to be concentrated and more focused on specific tasks. Some examples that work great for low ceilings would be offices, classrooms, and especially in operation rooms.
These work great with low ceilings because people working in these rooms need the advantage of being able to stay on task.
Not only is the layout and the design of the building important, but another crucial factor that affects people’s behaviors is the environment around the building. The lack of nature and of green spaces make people mentally sick and even cause them to be physically sick. In addition, research has been done in schools, hospitals, and offices that even a single plant in a room can have a major impact on people, such as relieving
It is very important that people have interactions with nature or even just being able to view the scenery of nature, it can decrease levels of stress, fear and
It makes people’s emotional state better, and since mental health and human Behavior is linked to physical health, it ends up benefiting their physical health as well. It helps reduce blood pressure, production of stress hormones, heart rate, and muscle tension, and because of all this research architects have been finding ways on how they can incorporate nature into their designs.
In a study done in 2008 from the English health department, it showed that people who are lower in the socioeconomic scale tend to have high risks for circulatory diseases because they are exposed to nature a lot less than those out in the countryside.
Big cities such as New York City and Los Angeles as well as many other cities around the world, architects have been adding a lot more parks to these cities. Lately architects have also started being more creative as to how they are adding these green spaces.
Some have been adding bigger balconies to apartments to all from for more plants to grow, others have been adding rooftop gardens and roof top parks, covering walls with leaves, and so on. But not only is this true for big cities but also true in hospitals, because people are constantly in these square rooms with no life to it. In a Ted Talk I watched (Murphy), the architect explained that one of his projects was to go
to Rwanda and redesign a hospital, because doctors were saying that the old building was making their patients sick and making the recovery process a lot longer, because of its unventilated rooms and hallways, etc.
So, he went there and redesigned the hospital. In his design he made sure to make the hallways outdoors, so when patients are going room to room, they would be able to have some fresh air to breath.
He also included local volcanic rock to the interior of the building, he added the rock so that the sense of ambient would have a little bit of a nature feel.
In conclusion, there are many ways as to how architecture can affect human behavior. Whether it is the color of the living room, or the brightness of someone’s office or even if someone is taking a stroll down central park. Everything that we interact with, we have a reaction to it and depending if it’s a positive reaction or a negative one it can affect us physically and mentally.
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Murphy, Michael. “Michael Murphy: Architecture That’s Built to Heal | TED Talk.” TED: Ideas Worth Spreading,
“Color Psychology: Does It Affect How You Feel?” Verywell Mind, https://www.verywellmind.com/
“Lighting to Make You Feel Better: Improving the Mood of Elderly People with Affective Ambiences.” PubMed Central (PMC),
“How Does Nature Impact Our Wellbeing? | Taking Charge of Your Health & Wellbeing.” Taking Charge of Your Health & Wellbeing, https://www.takingcharge.csh.