In many Asian countries people have no qualms about spending big bucks for a Feng Shui consultant to evaluate their offices or houses with flow of energy to make sure this will increase or affect their fortune. But modern day architects do not believe in Feng Shui or Vastu Shastra (In India).
Now, with the rise of Neuroscience for Architecture, biophilic design, environmental psychology, and evidence-based design,particularly among the medicine or healthcare field and more scientific understandings of mind, body, spirit designs are coming up.
“Architecture is now disconnected from other disciplines and the rest of humanity,” said Barbara Stewart, a San Francisco based architect and a trained Feng Shui practitioner who has consulted for big-name firms like Kaiser Permanente and NBBJ Architects. Quoting one environmental psychologist, she said “architects see form, light, and colour” whereas the rest of us see “walls, floors, doors.” Architects can’t help it; they’ve been trained this way. “Our approach is intellectual.” From day-one of architecture school, architects are trained to “worship novelty and originality” given the goal is to “move architecture in new directions.” However, she said “emotions are pulling our clients and end users in another direction.” She said that “people look at buildings with emotions, not intellect.” The disconnect between architects and the public is further demonstrated through architecture magazines that promote the latest bold, sharp forms that do not make people healthy or happy.
We share 98 percent of our DNA with chimpanzees. If zoologists, who design habitat for chimps, were to design habitat for us, what would it look like? “A zoologist would design a place that reinforces our natural patterns and reduces stressors.” “Stress is directly linked to all the diseases we face” so all buildings and landscapes must work to reduce this for everyone’s well-being and to control healthcare costs.
Almost all civilizations have ancient forms of environmental psychology. They all designed structures according to nature and in tune with the natural environment.
Interiors should be designed with humans in mind, who understand space at an instrinsic level as a savannah. The ground should be darkest, like a path, whereas the mid-range, eye-level colors should be neutral, and the ceiling should be light, like the sky. Humans feel most comfortable in spaces that follow nature, instead of monochromatic bubbles. There’s a reason everyone wants hardwood floors because it replicates the forest floor.
All humans want a window view. Studies state that views of landscapes out of hospital windows significantly reduced the amount of pain medication needed and sped up recovery times. Then, studies also showed that even images of real or simulated nature can improve recovery times, although photos of real nature scenes work better. Spring, summer, early autumn photos with lots of green are effective, while winter scenes won’t have much effect.
Incorporating biophilic design elements into interiors also soothes. Roofs can become green, or where that’s not feasible, simply painting pleasing natural color. In windowless offices, imitation windows and clerestories can be painted with fake views. Woods can be used throughout, and where that isn’t possible, like in a hospital setting, wood-laminates.
When it comes to corporate world, companies need to think through the effect of colours. If someone has a dull conference room it actually affects the creative discussion. But simply painting a wall orange lifts the energy levels. That is why McDonalds paint all their restaurants in “high-energy colours like red, yellow, and orange so you eat more, faster. Casinos and retailers are also excellent at designing energising spaces on purpose. Similarly Gyms should be painted in energising colours so people are motivated to exercise more.
Beyond colors, forms can also induce stress or relax. Angled walls and ceilings or visually unsupported forms increase energy and tension. But is not recommended in schools or offices whereas a conference center or stadium, perhaps these bolder forms are worthwhile because they increase excitement.
The population of the world is growing rapidly, forcing many to live in over-crowded urban environments this leads to urban stress.So all we need is stress free spaces.
IRIANS- The Neuroscience Institute