Architecture/Query ......


Good day
I am interested in learning more about how different aspects of architecture affects feelings, psychological states and emotional responses particularly. My background is in marketing / merchandizing and I want to apply it this these aspects. Something that is practical and covers principles.
Can you refer me about 3 practical, quick and easy to read books or other resources  on this topic.

S. Mahabir,

Ten years ago, I just happened to be in the right place at the right time so that I could answer your question today.  

Since then, there has been an ongoing study group composed of neuroscientists and architects co-located in San Diego (from where and whom I received my Masters degree).  There have not been many books written that focus on how the built environment increases spending money on your merchandise.  That information is out there in the form of paragraphs within thick architectural text books, and a scattering of magazine articles that feature successful designs for retail spaces.

My best recommendation is to look at the examples provided in the basement of the Louvre Museum located in Paris France.  I was so impressed with the various retail spaces and lighting that I spent more time taking pictures down there than I did while looking at the world's greatest collection of art.

Most of the books related to this subject are focused on healthcare and schools.  The Salk Institute and Neuroscience for Architecture are collecting evidence that a well designed health care facility speeds up recovery times.  Environments can be therapeutic.  And a well designed school facilitates learning.  There is also practical application towards a more productive work environment.

Overall, I would suggest that you try to create environments that stimulate the same mood or emotions typically associated with being on vacation.  Retailers start playing Christmas music before its Thanksgiving knowing that happy holiday sounds stimulate spending.  Starbucks coffee has created the family-living-room atmosphere that gives us a sense of community.  There is not a single prescribed design that works for everything.  Whatever it is that you are selling should be evident by someone who walks into the retail space who is completely blind.  What clues of sound and smell suggest the thing being sold?

You should be able to find three useful sources of information among this list:

1.  How the Brain Perceives Architecture.
2.  Interior architects have designs on neuroscience.  Washington Business Journal.
3.  Brain Landscape: The Coexistence of Neuroscience and Architecture. Oxford University Press.
4.  AIArchitect This Week | Brain Research Helps Correlate Design with Value.
5.  Science studies how architecture affects the brain.

Richard Burton, AIA
Registered Architect
ICC Certified Plan Reviewer


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Richard Burton AIA


A combined total of 25 years experience with construction, architecture, and building code enforcement. Ask me about residential and commercial design. Ask me about design aesthetics, structural methods, and building something that will withstand severe weather conditions. Ask me my opinion about YOUR design ideas and I will tell you the merits of good design and challenge your thinking about practical issues. Ask me how to best find and work with your local architect and approach general contractors to get the most value for the least amount of headaches. You can ask me about improving your energy efficiency and things that are both green and practical. But don't ask me about solar panels and wind turbines unless you are currently paying your utility company 35 cents per Kilowatt. Otherwise the math does not justify the initial cost and return on investment. Ask me any building code question and how to get a building permit from the most difficult enforcement agencies.


Here in the midwest, we design and build "green" in ways that make sense. My construction methods prioritize weather resistance, ease of maintenance and durability. While a graduate student in San Diego, I taught drafting and history of architecture. After working ten years for other architecture firms, I have started my firm Arrow Architecture in 2008. More than half of my work involves commercial office buildings. But my portfolio of work also includes custom homes, residential additions, home remodels, and second story additions.

President-Elect of American Institute of Architects - Lincoln, NE

B.S. Architecture - (Interior Design) University of Nebraska Lincoln 1997 Master of Architecture - (Urban Design and Professional Practice) NewSchool of Architecture - San Diego 2004 Graduated Summa Cum Laude ICC Certified Building Plans Examiner

Awards and Honors
AIA Henry Adams Medal and Certificate

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