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Architectural Psychology Explained

By Maria Lorena Lehman — Get more articles like this sent to your email HERE.

Image Credit: © Royal Ontario Museum | wvs | Flickr
Architectural psychology can be described as a branch of environmental or ecological psychology. This deals with the psychological processes of the interaction between man and his environment, as for example spatial perception, spatial thinking, orientation behaviour, or spatial experience, territorial behaviour, living requirements and satisfaction, local identity. (1)

When an occupant experiences a building, they immediately become involved in an array of overlapping processes that all contribute to their experience — architectural psychology focuses on such connections and can be applied to all building types.

A GOOD PLACE TO START

After my last post entitled Environmental Psychology: What Every Architect Should Ask Themselves, I received various questions from readers wanting to learn more. So, I began to look in the “not-so-usual” places. And then I came across this site at http://leoncolor.com, belonging to a firm specializing in color and light, trend monitoring, product development and architectural design.

Within this site, you will find excellent brief explanations of design psychology and architectural psychology. (I do believe that if you explore the site you will find collections of actual papers — like this one on color and vision)

THE BIG PICTURE

Architectural psychology is an important field where findings reveal how we can design buildings better for occupants. By understanding more about how occupants experience built form, you will take on a more occupant-centered approach. It is this type of approach that will lead you to more truly innovative architectural designs.

Reference:

(1) Oberascher, Leonhard. http://leoncolor.com

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what members are saying...
Maria: I came across your website through a reference in today's Architect Weekly ezine and am delighted I did. I'll bookmark your site and check back often. I read the first article and then the second and thirty minutes later realized how much time had passed. I've been practicing for thirty years and have always missed the stimulation of academia. I find each of your brief dissertations sort of like a day in design studio. Thanks for the inspiration.

Ron Ward
AI Group Design
I am excited to see you touch a vein of values in architecture, I have been chasing myself for years. Your depth of involvement in these very deep subjects is really beautiful and passionately dealt with and well written. Sound, color and value, shape, texture, scale, smell.... all definitive measures of the spaces we should be alert to. [...] I will savor the rest of your investigation of sensuality in architecture. I'm Glad I found you.

Dennis McLaughlin
McLaughlin Architect
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Maria Lorena Lehman is an award-winning visionary author, designer, and educator from the United States. Maria holds a Bachelor of Architecture with Honors from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and a Master in Design with Distinction from Harvard University Graduate School of Design.

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