We spend between 80% and 90% of our time indoors. However, we hardly question how the design of these spaces influences our physical and mental health. That is why, in recent years we have seen neuroarchitecture assert itself, a new branch of architecture that merges with neuroscience.
What does it consist of?
This discipline was born in 1998 by Fred H. Gage and Peter Eriksson, two neuroscientists who discovered how the human brain can produce new neurons in adulthood with an environment that stimulates it.
But it is nowadays when this science has reached its maximum popularity, thanks to the growing trend of designing spaces that include elements capable of positively influencing people's mood, feelings, energy, well-being, concentration and even productivity.
In short, neuroarchitecture seeks to understand how the environment we see influences our emotions, what we feel, our mood and/ or how we behave.
Neuroarchitecture is based on some key principles when designing spaces:
- Lighting: Contrary to artificial light, natural light creates a pleasant atmosphere that promotes concentration and reduces stress.
- Green areas: plants, gardens help reduce daily stress. In fact, contact with nature generates an automatic reaction of relaxation in the brain.
- Ceiling height: influences the concentration and activities of people. Thus, high ceilings are suitable for the most creative tasks, while low ones favor more routine work.
- Colors: they condition people´s mood. For example, shades close to nature such as green, blue and yellow reduce stress, increase the feeling of comfort and affect the perception of space as a healthy building. On the other hand, warm tones, such as red capture the receiver's attention, so they are recommended for tasks that require greater concentration.
- Architectural elements: Angles or architectural shapes influence the human brain. The marked angles of buildings favor the appearance of stress or anxiety as opposed to curves or smooth contours, which generate a sense of security and comfort.
Today, companies are concerned about creating environments that generate well-being and comfort for workers. For example, in coworking spaces where elements such as chromaticism or phone booth are introduced, concentration is encouraged, the mind is calm, and distractions are avoided.
Also, the presence of nature indoors with plants or natural materials such as wood, stone, water or just being able to see them through a window, lowers anxiety and stress levels.
It is clear that space has great power over the brain and that people's well-being is closely related to the environment where they carry out their day-to-day activities. For this reason, applying the principles of neuroarchitecture helps us to have spaces that are more focused on people and their emotions.