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How Does Architecture Affect Behavior?


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Architecture as a Means of Controlling Human BehaviorColors need careful selection to cater to the i...

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How Does Architecture Affect Behavior?

  1. 1. How Does Architecture Affect Behavior? Architecture as a Means of Controlling Human Behavior Colors need careful selection to cater to the inhabitants of a building, according to the purpose for which the building is constructed. In a school or daycare setting, it is important to color the walls, ceiling, and the floors of play areas so that children feel safe and secure, and so learning and discovery activities are stimulating. According to an article by Reid and Upington (2009), textures as well as colors are important to young children, although ironically, adults usually make these selections during the design process. This apparent blunder, although obvious in hindsight, can mean the difference between children feeling adventurous, safe, and motivated to play and learn, or becoming withdrawn and upset during their stay at a childcare facility or development center (Read & Upington, 2009). Similarly, that same secure and homely feeling was accounted for in an aged- care facility in England, and according to nursing staff, happy residents reaped the benefits of having been allowed the opportunity to participate in the design and color of their own spaces ("A Homely Approach", 2012). Regardless of the purpose of a building, informed architects have become successful in designing both residential and commercial buildings with psychology in mind. Environmental and Psychological Implications of Commercial and Residential Design - Purpose and Considerations Asian inspired designs often incorporate the use of plant life within buildings, and in addition to an appropriate color selection, the inclusion of natural elements is conducive to lower stress levels. Of course, the popularity of indoor plants is also evident in western inspired designs, and occasionally, artificial plants replace real foliage. According to the article, Architectural Lessons From Environmental Psychology:The Case of Biophilic Architecture, the preference for natural elements within the design of a building can be explained by evolution. Water features, trees, flowers and other plant life are popular features in many buildings, for both commercial and private use, and according to Joye (2007) "Different empirical studies show that individuals consistently prefer natural, vegetated landscapes over urban settings without vegetation" (p. 307). The Importance of Architectural Development Supporting Sustainable Development Whereas the inclusion of natural elements promote or enhance one's mood, lower blood pressure, or stimulate one to feel relaxed, or make an additional purchase after lingering, care should also be taken in the selection of material derived from nature if sustainable development is to be successful. The use of various types of wood or wood substitutes for flooring and other interior and exterior features is an example of how carefully chosen natural elements of construction can be chosen without the fear of depleting supplies of building materials in the future. Bamboo, for instance, is a natural element, which grows rapidly, is durable, and cost effective. The use of bamboo in place of traditional hardwood types is becoming increasingly more popular. In a 2010 issue of Builder, the author of Product Pros and Cons: Hardwood Flooring vs. Bamboo, the authorspecifically points out "Bamboo is very much like wood, but it's not wood. Technically speaking, it's a tree-like grass that grows extremely fast, making it among the fastest-growing plants in the world. This rapid growth has made it one of the darlings of the green building world" (Maynard, para. 3). Whether a structure is custom-built for a specific purpose, or purchased and redesigned for further use, careful thought regarding the origin of building materials is vital for sustainable development. Interior decorators utilize green resources such as bamboo for flooring, various grasses for mats to
  2. 2. incorporate nature into their design strategies, and the use of color to promote good health, relaxation, and an overall sense of wellbeing. The exterior design is the first aspect of a structure to be noticed, and aesthetically pleasing structures foster feelings of security, comfort, and privacy. Color is no exception, and the use of color on the exterior surfaces of commercial buildings as well as residences help to create great curb appeal, and encourage individuals to enter a building, enjoy the surroundings, and take advantage of either its merchandise or a warm welcome and a friendly visit. References A Homely Approach is Paying Dividends for Patients and Staff. (2012). Nursing Standard, 27(2), 20-21. Rydeen, J., Erickson, P., & Lange, J (2008). Built for Brains. Industrial Engineer: IE, 40(3), 32. Joye, Y. (2007). Architectural Lessons from Environmental Psychology: The Case of Biophilic Architecture. Review of General Psychology, 11(4), 305-328. doi:10.1037/1089-2680.11.4.305 Maynard, N. F. (2010, September). Product Pros and Cons: Hardwood Flooring vs. Bamboo. Retrieved October 2012, from Builder: Read, M., & Upington, D. (2009). Young Children's Color Preferences in the Interior Environment. Early Childhood Education Journal, 36(6), 491-496. doi:10.1007/s10643-009-0311-6