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Environmental Psychology: What Every Architect Should Ask Themselves

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

Image Credit: © Ratoca | Dreamstime

Understanding principles about environmental psychology will help architects to design with greater awareness. The following are ten important questions inspired by some of the major themes that make up the study of environmental psychology.

Although some may look simple at first glance, the questions are really quite complex as you delve into the inner-workings of human perception, cognition and behavior. The more you understand about how occupants interact with their environments, the better your designs will be.

You should keep these questions in your “mental toolbox” as you design:

  1. How do you get your occupants attention?
  2. What will occupants remember most about this design?
  3. How will this architecture impact their real-time experiences?
  4. Is this architectural environment coherent?
  5. Can this architectural environment be explored?
  6. Will occupants enjoy the variety and complexity of this design?
  7. Does my design promote opportunities for occupant discovery?
  8. Can occupants manage and escape from stress in this environment?
  9. Does my design promote healthy social interactions?
  10. Is there a sense of community fostered in this architecture?

For more information about the words in italics (within the questions) read the following article about environmental psychology. Here is the link: Environmental Psychology

Reference:

(1) Young, R. Environmental Psychology.Encyclopedia of Environmental Psychology. 1998.

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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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