By Andréa de Paiva
Imagine what the world would be like if architects designed even more efficient buildings, such as schools that stimulate learning, hospitals that boost the recovery of patients and make them feel less pain, workplaces that improve creativity and cooperation. Since the Vitruvian age, architects worry about the impacts that their buildings generate on their users. So what’s new about NeuroArchitecture???
Nowadays, with the advances of neuroscience, we are understanding better the functioning of this amazing machine that is the human brain. When Freud began to talk about the unconscious and it’s impacts on the individuals’ behavior, technology didn’t yet allow for a physiological understanding of all that. Today, however, with MRIs and EEGs, for example, that can analyze which triggers activate each of the various neuronal systems.
Today, we know that our consciousness is extremely slow, and that often our brain has to make us act before we have time to think about the situation . For example, when we slip and manage to regain our balance without falling. All the necessary reactions to avoid falling happen very quickly, in an automatic manner. This shows how our instincts are faster and how they are able to take control of the situation before we even realize it.
But what does all that have to do with architecture??? A better understanding of the brain, especially of the thoughts that remain below the level of consciousness, can help architects design buildings that impact their users in an even deeper manner. The comprehension of the survival instinct, emotions, brain plasticity, among others, will make architecture an even more efficient tool for behavior change . Buildings will be designed taking into consideration not only aesthetics and functionality, but focusing on the impacts generated on deeper levels in our organisms, which escape from conscious perception.
Of course all that is just the beginning! We still have a long way of discoveries ahead… Soon we will discuss more of the many characteristics of neuroarchitecture.
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 KAHNEMAN, D. (2011) Thinking, Fast and Slow. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
 PAIVA. A. (2018) Neuroscience for Architecture: How Building Design Can Influence Behaviors and Performance. Journal of Civil Engineering and Architecture, Volume 12, Number 2, February 2018 (Serial Number 123) Pages: 132-138.