The architecture of buildings influences a person’s mood. It can do this through the manifestation of its elements—the space it takes or offers, the light it allows or withholds, its geometry as an expression and its material interactivity.
Architecture and Attitude
Take a library, for example; as a building, it engages its visitors in spaces conducive for reading. Through the use of natural light, dividers and wide spaces, a library visitor feels connected on a social level, while distant at the same time, left to bury himself in a book. This is the function of design.
Materials, on the other hand, dwell on interaction. In deriving meaning, lightweight aluminium casings from Contour feature a 3mm metal skin, and as a material for wrapping columns of retail environments, commercial offices, or universities, they indicate endurance. Interacting with materials such as stainless steel is empowering; it exhibits a refined finish and boosts a person’s stride.
An Academic Discussion
Dr. Sergio Altomonte, an associate professor at Nottingham University, talks about how buildings and urban spaces should be designed around the people occupying them. There are a number of studies focusing on the impact a building has on a person’s health.
In relation to occupying a space, Scott Frank, the spokesman for the American Institute of Architecture (AIA), explains six areas for architects to focus on when it comes to design. This includes safety, social connectedness, ease of movement and sensory stimulation. These are key elements relating to the influence a building has on a person’s mood.
Dr. Alan Lewis, a lecturer at Manchester University, gives concrete examples of this by noting how light bears a physiological impact on people. Natural light, as an example, gives hospital patients a positive outlook on life, while students perform better in school during the morning. Research shows how visible light regulates the body’s hormones—melatonin affects sleep patterns and digestive function while serotonin boosts our mood and reduces depression.
Incorporating these into architecture is crucial, as a given space is only as good as its occupants.