Emotional Impact of Architecture

With the majority of everyone’s time is spent indoors, in buildings such as offices, schools, and home, the environment we spend our time in starts to matter greatly. There is a definite relationship between psychology and architecture. proper architectural implementation becomes important as individual differences between perceptions are bound to exist. Architecture has the power to trigger emotions.

It is said that “architecture is the third skin” of the human body since the first skin is the real skin, which acts as the outer envelope and the filter of the body, then the clothes that act as the second skin, which is also considered as insulation and filter. “So people’s third skin would be the next layer out -usually the building they are in,”( Elyacoubi, 1999. ) which performs as the surrounded man-made environment.


“A house can have integrity, just like a person,’ said Roark, ‘and just as seldom.”

Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead

The design elements, illumination, materials, and furnishing or the familiarity of the place helps one decide if we feel comfortable in the space or not. One does not feel at ease if space does not sit well with the environment it is in. A prison, for example, cannot have bright and vibrant colours simply because it is not meant to be enticing. Similarly, an old age home should be soothing and peaceful thus the architect works on a design with soft colours, a softer material palette, and patient-friendly features; a healing garden, community space, private rooms, taking in the consideration of temperature for their healthy well being.

Architecture as Art

Architectural areas to focus on for positive human interactions are:
Environmental aspect: A design sensitive to the availability and incorporation of natural light, ventilation and easy outdoor access gives one’s mind a healthy boost. Including natural fabrics or green indoors can also make a difference and reduce stress.
Sensory Surroundings: Lighting, tactile touch, sound, smell, or the look of the surroundings can affect the way one can feel when entering a property.
Open Spaces: the amount of physical interaction a building allows also impact the way one interacts with their architecture around it.
Social Interactions: The freedom in social connections among people also has an impact on emotions.

Kiev Apt MARTIN architects 1

Personality and Perception

In a positive sense, spaces can contribute to strengthening our perception of self-esteem and satisfaction. Housing and social policy researcher Danny Friedman sees the interconnection between poor housing conditions/neighbourhoods and individuals’ health, well-being, the likelihood of criminality, and educational attainment. Spacial structures have a way to promote certain patterns of behaviour. If architecture promotes a positive and emotional attachment to places and strengthens a sense of responsibility, such consequences can be intercepted. There are some ways a building can impact positively.

Ceiling Height: Higher ceiling height allow free flow of thought process and give a perception of an easy flow of movement and lower ceilings help in more focused tasks as your attention stays in one zone. Thus, for entertaining, houses or restaurants or commercial spaces prefer higher ceilings for a more welcoming feel.

Colour and LIghting: It is no secret that colour can affect one’s perception. Warmer colours in soft lighting evoke leisure whereas brighter colours feel more energetic in the room and whites and blues tend to bring calmness to the room. Natural lighting aids in bringing more refreshing vibes while artificial bright light can have a negative effect too. Lighting above the eye sets a more formal environment and lighting below the eye shows individual importance. Ceiling light accentuates the height of space and mood lighting or lower luminous imparts a sense of privacy.

Space and Building views: The views outside has a major impact on one’s mood. Balconies and verandahs are a big contributor to the way a building can affect one’s emotions. Being closer to greens and nature can evoke positive feelings and bring about a good impact on one’s day. The spaces in the interiors also can be made ina way that can be used to an advantage. The allowance of flexibility dictates to the individual how to feel and experience the surroundings.

201308 ny n40 publication

To balance out the form and function of a building, an architect should be mindful of the range of tasks one performs in the building that it is meant for. A more positive environment can be revoked if the human psychological impact is taken into account and consideration.

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Nishita Chopra
Nishita Chopra
Nishita Chopra, an avid writer and an architect. Been born and brought up in a defense environment, she has learnt well to be disciplined and find motivation everywhere. Her positivity and extrovertness has helped her tell and listen to a lot stories the world tells around us. Having been worked as an architect before, it has helped her fulfil her passion to write and make use of that experience to put into words for the architectural world.

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