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Message - Re: Architecture + Psychology

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Posted by  neill on March 21, 2004 at 20:18:34:

In Reply to:  Architecture + Psychology posted by neill on March 21, 2004 at 16:11:43:

this is an article related to this:
its kinda long but is interesting

-"This paper shall examine how architecture is inseparable from its social purpose and from its environmental setting. This shall be proven through first examining the function of architecture and how the impact of a specific function directly impacts those who come in contact with a given building, and then describe how the building impacts the local environment. This discussion shall then incorporate how architects can use their profession to alter the local community found near a building in order to affect the environment in a positive manner. Here, the term “environment” applies to the setting of a specific location, and not the actual natural environment found near a given building.
The structure of a building dictates a great deal about the actual purpose of that building. A casual viewer can determine simply through observing a building’s design as to whether that building is used as housing, for business, or for recreational purposes. It can therefore be seen that the structure of a building has a direct impact on the social consciousness of the viewer, where the appearance and the function of a specific building create a sense of purpose within those who live and work within and around it. This means that, regardless of what the overall physical appearance of a given building might be, the architecture of that building does have an impact on the society that comes in contact with it.
This concept is supported in the research conducted by social theorists such as Robert Gifford, who finds that the architectural design of a building creates a series of sympathetic reactions in the viewer. His theory of “supportive design” encourages architects to consider that buildings can generate specific emotions within those who come in contact with a specific building: Gifford emphasizes a condition called “mental fatigue”, or a state of exhaustion that can occur when an individual is forced to spend prolonged periods of time in an environment that distracts them. Here, Gifford notes that buildings that are intentionally distracting in their overall design – such as buildings with design aspects that do not fluidly integrate into each other – cause the individual to undergo subconscious stress. Over time, this stress is cumulative and can cause mental fatigue.
If Gifford’s theories are applied to a larger social setting, it can be seen that the architect therefore has a moral obligation to provide buildings that diminish this mental fatigue. Places, state other architects, do not exist independent of the human consciousness but are rather a distinctive part of one’s environment. One environmental sociologist notes that: "… understanding the essential aspect of human existence in place; the difference between bonding and detachment, being and perceiving, experiences and meaning ordinary people associate with common places." (Sancar: 318) This indicates that the experiences that individuals have are as dependent on the place as on the people.
This correlation between people and place means that architecture is thus inseparable from the social purpose of the building, nor its environmental setting. These sociologists find that all human interaction with a given building creates varying degrees of influence within these people: While no architect or sociologist suggests that the mood of an individual comes directly from a building or an environment, they do hint heavily at the belief that such buildings do create fairly predictable emotions. As a result of this invocation of mood, it can then be strongly suggested that any professional architect can affect the moods of those around his or her building through the design and the setting of the building itself.
If this concept if indeed true, then the profession of architecture can actually be used to better the society in which their buildings are located. The psychology of a building that evokes a positive mood within the observer can also be translated into the local community. For example, if one introduces a building that has the dimensions of a conventional apartment building, the viewer will have the same type of emotions that he or she typically has when viewing a conventional apartment design. However, if the building is constructed in a manner that incorporates factors that enhance a positive mood, such as open walkways and accessible gardens, than that building is no longer “conventional” but is instead a combination of form and function that pleases the observer. Whether or not the individual lives or works within that specific building is almost irrelevant, for as long as they have some sort of visual contact with the building the same type of positive mood is created.

 
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