Neuroscience Applied to Architectural Design (NAAD)

The third Edition of the PostGraduate’s Program in Venice has been launched.

The Postgraduate’s Program ‘Neuroscience Applied to Architectural Design’ (NAAD), under the Directorship of Prof. Davide Ruzzon, is pleased to announce its third edition at the Università Iuav di Venezia (Iuav because it was formerly the Istituto Universitario di Architettura di Venezia) and at the POLI.design and the Politecnico di Milano.

The program is available to students with a background in Architecture, Engineering, Neuroscience or Psychology who wish to intertwine lessons from Architecture, Cognitive Science and Neuroscience into their practice.

The Program will run from November 2020 to July 2021and is organized around three module

Module 1 – From 09 November 2020 to 15 January 2021

Module 2 – From 08 February to 16 April 2021

Module 3 – From 17 May to 16 July 2021

Each month, during these modules, students will participate in one full week with 40 hours of lessons. During the third module, students will develop a design, using words, sketches and drawings, for a final thesis.

Students will choose whether to reside in Venice full-time or come in only one week per month, for the formal lessons. Those who stay full-time will have full access to the services of the University Iuav di Venezia, as all the Labs and the Iuav Library, one of the largest in Europe. During each stay, students will attend the lessons, participate in workshops and debates and will develop a thesis that defines new designs for buildings and public open areas.

For information about enrollment, fees, and accommodation please see www.iuav.it or www.naad-master.com or contact druzzon@iuav.it.

Enrollment for the coming edition of the Program is foreseen by: from late June to mid-September (you can find all the news on the NAAD website naad-master.com which is always up to date)

We have had more than 90 different teachers at our lessons last year, from all the fields involved: some of them were well known, others were younger. they include Renato Bocchi, Matteo Ingaramo, Juhani Pallasmaa, Sarah Robinson, Harry Mallgrave, Alberto Perez Gomez, Giovanni Vecchiato, Michael Arbib,  Alain Berthoz, Eve Edelstein, Agostino de Rosa, Colin Ellard, Melissa Farling, Vittorio Gallese,Sergei Gepshtein, Sarah Williams Goldhagen, Susan Magsamen, Andrea Jelic, Upali Nanda, Itai Palti, Isabella Pasqualini, and many many others.

THE PROGRAM OF INSTRUCTION

The Course is divided into three module, as described below.

The thesis will be composed of two parts. The first one comprises 260 hours of project work during which the participants will develop studies and writings about one building or public area belonging to one of the fifteen typologies analysed in the third module. This preliminary investigation will be also carried out through in situ studies, interviews with users, focus groups, and photos. The aim is to take control of the instruments given by the Postgraduate’s Program. The second part, of 100 hours, will be necessary to the design of the building, or of the open areas, that will complete the final dissertation.

FIRST MODULE

During the first three months, students will be given the fundamentals to understand how our body is provided with a uniquely evolved range of systems able to receive signals from the outside world. Next, we will analyze the interaction between each element involved in the architectural process and the human sensory system. Light, topology, organization and use of space, geometry, rhythm, texture and matters, sounds and smells: all these elements, prior individually and then through their integration, will be analyzed in relation to the physiology of the human sensory system. We will also introduced the concepts of affordances and the action-perception cycle to depict how design features integrate sensory responses with behavior.

Week 1.a

THE BODY-BRAIN SYSTEM AND THE PHYSIOLOGY OF THE RECEPTORS

During these classes, students will be shown how biological neural networks of multisensorial experiences of space are set: in particular, we will explain how multiple kinds of receptors interact with the stimulus coming from the external environment and play a role in ongoing behavior. The brain elaborates and memorises data from the hearing, visual, tactile, smell, proprioceptive and interoceptive systems.

Week 1.b

HOW ENVIRONMENT AFFECTS MIND AND BODY: GEOMETRY, LIGHT AND TOPOLOGY

Through five days work, students will deal with the paths whereby some of the leading architectural features, such as the geometry, the topology and the natural light, affect the human brain-body complex.

Week 1.c

HOW ENVIRONMENT AFFECTS MIND AND BODY: RHYTHM, PROXEMICS, MATERIALS, TEXTURES, COLOURS AND SOUND

Through five days work, students will deal with the paths whereby further architectural features, such as rhythm, proxemics, materials, textures, colours and sound affect the human brain-body complex.

SECOND MODULE

Students will deal with the development and nature of emotions and feelings up to up to level of consciousness. On these fundamentals, they will focus the link between the body and its movements and consequently, arising from these underpinnings, the development of language and thought. Finally, students will learn the connection running through empathy and architecture, integrating the design of architectural atmospheres with the use of space. In the third week, students will work on the nature of human pre-cognitive expectations, grounded in the neuro-biological systems of primary emotions, related to daily activities

At the beginning of this module, students will start their thesis, choosing a typology from the fifteen proposed, the city where they are going to work, and the areas and main features of their designs. This in order to focus progressively their attention on the thesis and preparing the revisions of the third module.

Week 2.a

EMOTIONS, FEELINGS, CONSCIOUSNESS: LANGUAGE COMES FROM THE BODY

This part will focus on the axis that starts from emotions and leads to the feelings and thence decisively to the consciousness. On this terrain, lessons will help students understand the emergence and development of language and thought correlated to the emotion feeling body.

Week 2.b

ARCHITECTURE AND EMPATHY: THE DESIGN OF ATMOSPHERES

During the second week of this module, invited professors will show students how architecture can trigger different responses in the senses. They will describe how different multisensorial combinations of signals, coming from architectural settings, can activate different atmospheres and feelings.

Week 2.c

TUNING PRE-COGNITIVE EXPECTATIONS WITH ARCHITECTURE

The part of the course will lead to the identification, generally speaking, of the role of pre-cognitive expectations of users, surging from decisions developed in each different architectonic context. In the same week, some lessons will explore the unfriendly outcomes produced by the conflict between an inadequately conceived architecture and the pre-cognitive expectations of users.

 THIRD MODULE

This module will give the students the instruments needed to transform and erect buildings in cities, taking care of the needs of users. This part will bridge from the physiology of the emotions to the architectural features able to attune people and settings. The three weeks will be organised around case studies: Airports, Factories, Hospitals, Hotels, Parks, Prisons, Retail Malls, Schools, Senior Residences, Social Housings, Stadium, Student Housings, Urban Spaces, Workplaces.This last module will also launch the phase of the design for the students’ theses.

Preparatory materials of the thesis will be arranged at the end of the third module, at the end of July 2021. During the summer, students will have the time to organize the final edition of the thesis and related posters for the exhibition in Venice Biennale, early October 2021.

Week 3.a

FROM PHYSIOLOGY OF EMOTION TO ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN

In this week, students will analyse the pre-cognitive expectations of users in five different study cases: Airports, Factories, Hospitals, Hotels, Parks. During five working days, students will learn how architecture can benefit users thanks to the human science as well as neuroscience. Architects, researchers, and workers in the fields will explain, during five afternoons’ workshops, how to improve the designs with proper features. Each afternoon will thus contribute to the collective revision of each thesis, involving all the students and the daily guest professors.

Week 3.b

TUNING PRE-COGNITIVE EXPECTATIONS: SENIORS’ HOUSES, HOSPITALS, PRISONS, SCHOOLS, OPEN SPACES

In this week, students will analyse the pre-cognitive expectations of users in five different study cases: Prisons, Retails Malls, Schools, Senior Residences, Social Housings. During five working days, students will learn how architecture can benefit users thanks to the human science as well as neuroscience. Architects, researchers, and workers in the fields will explain, during five afternoons’ workshops, how to improve the designs with proper features. Each afternoon will thus contribute to the collective revision of each thesis, involving all the students and the daily guest professors.

Week 3.c

TUNING PRE-COGNITIVE EXPECTATIONS: OFFICES, RETAIL, HOUSING, STATIONS, SPORT

In this week, students will analyse the pre-cognitive expectations of users in four different study cases: Stadium, Student Housing, Urban Spaces, Workplaces. Collective revision of each thesis will continue, involving all the students and the daily guest professors.