Architecture and the Environment

Topics: Natural environment, Architecture, Environment Pages: 5 (1865 words) Published: March 10, 2011
Architecture and the Environment Paper
Most often, the quality of life and one’s health is attributed to factors such a healthy diet, one’s activity level, lifestyle, and even genetic predisposition. Seldom mentioned is architecture as responsible for one’s well-being. However, herein lies a mistake because how and where one lives does affect the way one feels and behaves. Architecture is something surrounding the human population every day. Be it at home, at work, or anywhere else, architecture is always there. Affects of Physical Structure on Human Behavior

Architectural design always played a significant aspect in one’s comfort and health. It is a different form of art surrounding one every day. Unfortunately, for years, it has not been considered this way and its benefits have not been recognized. However with the increasing research and interest in environmental conditions, greater interest in healthier living and the involvement of environmental psychology, the importance of architecture is finally being acknowledged for what it is. Today research is aware of the benefits and downsides that can come from physical structures. A person’s well-being and health is associated with structural design. One’s mood and productivity are related to the kind of architecture by which one is surrounded. The amount and size of windows in a room, openness, shape/form and size of a room, the type and amount of light, specific colors, air quality, noise, and toxic materials implemented in buildings have been related to the specific outcome of behaviors and certain health-related issues (Architecture and health, 2007). For instance, dark and cramped rooms, small or no windows at all, and the wrong type or too much bright light have been associated with mood swings, a decrease in productivity, stress, boredom, anemia, and the slowing down of one’s healing process (Mroczek, Mikitarian, Vieira & Rotarius, 2005). Understanding the importance of structural design, the ultimate goal today is to construct buildings that will accommodate not only the needs of an individual but also suit the purpose of its intended use. The design and dimension of a space differs enormously between work and private living. Therefore, it is vital to meet these specific needs for each of the purposes and pay extra attention to variables such as the perception of density, privacy, and control, which can have an adverse effect on one’s mood and health. For example, space limitations may influence physical conditions by making one work more intensely for his or her right of privacy. Clearly, it is significant to construct buildings that are sensitive to the needs of a user and should also compensate for one’s inability to spend time outside. Certain human populations spend more time indoors than outdoors, which can have an unpropitious effect one’s well-being, health, and even comfort. This is why it is so important to create indoor environments that suit and meet one’s basic needs (Tiwari, Pandey, & Sharma, 2010). Human Behavior Directed by Architecture

Besides influencing human actions, architecture can also control and at times direct human behavior. Research concluded that one’s way of living could affect his or her social interactions with others. A study conducted on corridor residents found that those living under these conditions displayed reduced thresholds when it came to crowding, were less interested in social interaction with others outside dormitory surroundings, and possessed less control over his or her living space. Concurrently, he or she was less aware of others surrounding him or herself, nor did they like to share personal information with others (Evans, Lercher, & Kofler, 2002). How architecture directs human behavior also is seen in schools and work environment. Schools implement specific designs and the use of particular materials, furniture, programs, and equipment when building or...
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