A↔N #16: Applied Neuroscience for Architects Essential Reader

Applied Neuroscience for Architects Essential Reader

Bob Condia, FAIA \ APDesign \ Kansas State University

I grew my essentials list for architect (AIA) and student (KSU) audiences who had asked for more information, particularly accessible texts. Applied Neuroscience for Architects Essential Reader is my current, best attempt to bridge, or focus on, the intersection of architecture and the biology of perception that is within the research of neuroscientists.

My inspiration is the belief that the architecture profession will earn enormous benefit from expertise in human perception understood as behavior within built environments. I teach a graduate seminar in Architecture and Neuroscience over more material than this highly condensed outline below, but I hope it is an invitation to the party. The videos listed below are an especially accessible means to introduce yourself to the important language about our relationship to space where architecture is the verb. In terms that designers should understand, biological science today suggests a new theory for architectural practice where one’s aesthetic experience of space is – at least in good sensory measure – founded in the human body\brain. My focus (herewith) narrows to a model of human acuity where architecture is implicit as kinesthetic, immediate, emotive and meaningful. The body measures architecture.

A Note from the A«N Blog Editor:

Readers will find in Bob Condia’s list a variety of essential readings for devotees and neophytes of neuroscience for architecture. But many of you will have further suggestions. If so, please send them in the form of Citation+Abstract+Reasons-for-your-recommendation to Bob Condia <condia@ksu.edu> and Michael Arbib <arbib@usc.edu> for consideration for inclusion in future editions of this reading guide.

The essentials for a contemporary theory about mirror mechanisms, embodiment and affordances:

  • From Object to Experience, Mallgrave, Harry.
  • Architecture and Embodiment: The Implications of the New Sciences and Humanities for Design, Mallgrave, Harry.
  • The Architect’s Brain, Mallgrave, Harry.
  • Mind in Architecture, Robinson, Sarah, and Pallasmaa, Juhani, editors.
  • Inner Vision, Zeki, Semir.
  • Atmospheres, Zumthor, Peter.
  • The Questions of Perception, Steven Holl, et. al.
  • Architecture And Neuroscience. Edited by Philip Tidwell. A Tapio Wirkkala – Rut Bryk Design Reader published by the Tapio Wirkkala-Rut Bryk Foundation with contributions from Mallgrave, Pallasmaa and, Arbib;
  • Architecture and Atmosphere. Edited by Philip Tidwell. A Tapio Wirkkala – Rut Bryk Design Reader published by the Tapio Wirkkala-Rut Bryk Foundation with contributions from Gernot Böhme, Tonino Griffero, Jean-Paul Thibaud, and Juhani Pallasmaa.
  • Atmospheres: Aesthetics of Emotional Space, Griffero, Tonino
  • The ecological approach to visual perception: classic edition, Gibson, James J. Psychology Press, 2014.
  • The Enactive Approach to Architectural Experience …,” Jelić, Andrea, et. al., Front. Psychol., 31 March 2016 |
  • Architecture and the Brain: A New Knowledge Base from Neuroscience, Eberhard, John. (This is the origin of the species and still a fine introduction to the cause of architects learning from scientists, and scientists learning from architects.

Essential viewing — selected TED Talks:

  • Bobby McFerrin, “Watch me play . . . the audience;”
  • V.R. Ramachandran, “The neurons that shaped civilization;”
  • Antonio Damasio, “The quest to understand consciousness;”
  • Iain McGilchrist, “The divided brain.”
  • Denis Dutton, “A Darwinian theory of beauty.”

YouTube videos

For many more videos, readers can visit Andrew Huss’s all-video site for architects and students of architecture at TRIPTYCHapn.org.

About Bob Condia, FAIA

Bob Condia, FAIA, is an architect and design partner with Condia+Ornelas Architects, Manhattan, KS. The 2017-20 Regnier Chair of Architecture at Kansas State, he teaches architecture as an art form with due considerations to: neuroscience and architecture, real circumstances, and the sensible poetics of an architectural enterprise. Bob is a 2017 DesignIntelligence Most Admired Educator; won APDesign’s The College of Architecture Planning & Design, Wayne McElwee Faculty Teaching Award, 2017; and in 2015 AIAKansas’ Schirmer Award.   Prof. Condia’s place in a neuroscience for architecture debate is as an architect and studio critic seeking the consequences of this applied biology for architects.  In an effort to learn our shared glossary of spatial perception – scientists and architects – are continuing experiments on vision and perception of urban environments with Dr. Colin Ellard (University of Waterloo).”

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