Don's Home Health Mental Architecture Mood Creativity

Formal investigations into how humans interact with the built environment began in the 1950s, when several research groups analyzed how the design of hospitals, particularly psychiatric facilities, influenced patient behaviors and outcomes. In the 1960s and 1970s the field that became known as environmental psychology blossomed.

Jonas Salk claimed that it wasn't until he left his basement lab in Pittsburgh and went to clear his head in a monastery in Assisi that he was able to solve the puzzle of polio.
  He came to believe so strongly in architecture's ability to influence the mind that he teamed up with renowned architect Louis Kahn to build the Salk Institute in La Jolla, Calif., as a scientific facility that would stimulate breakthroughs and encourage creativity.

There is no substitute for centuries of trial and error. Thinking of the carefully worked-out design of monasteries and churches as places that generate inspiration and contemplation for example, or the genius of Japanese house design.

In 2007 Joan Meyers-Levy, a professor of marketing at the University of Minnesota, reported that the height of a room's ceiling affects how people think. She randomly assigned 100 people to a room with either an eight- or 10-foot ceiling and asked participants to group sports from a 10-item list into categories of their own choice. The people who completed the task in the room with taller ceilings came up with more abstract categories, such as "challenging" sports or sports they would like to play, than did those in rooms with shorter ceilings, who offered more concrete groupings, such as the number of participants on a team.

Source: Selgas Cano architecture office, by Iwan Baan | Ouno Design " Blog Archive " How rooms and architecture affect mood and creativity

Although gazing out a window suggests distraction, it turns out that views of natural settings, such as a garden, field or forest, actually improve focus. A study published in 2000 by environmental psychologist Nancy Wells, now at Cornell University, and her colleagues followed seven- to 12-year-old children before and after a family move. Wells and her team evaluated the panoramas from windows in each old and new home. They found that kids who experienced the greatest increase in greenness as a result of the move also made the most gains on a standard test of attention.

Sunlight is also important.
Studies of school children snowed improved learning with more light.
Similar studies showed less cognitive decline for people in retirement homes with more light.
On the other hand dimly lighted spaces are more relaxing.

The shape of furnature also has an effect. People prefer rounded edges on furnature according to a study by Neuroscientist Moshe Bar of Harvard Medical School. Bar speculates that this preference exists because we associate sharp angles with danger. Source: How Room Designs Affect Your Work and Mood (Building around the Mind) - Scientific American, 2009 (Subscription required)

Scientists have recently started researching how our built environments affect cognition -- as it turns out, they affect our well-being and decisions more than we thought!

It is suggested that having more unrestricted spaces and open concepts would be more beneficial to our mental health because it would allow our minds to create multiple paths and perspective about the world around us, potentially strengthening cognitive abilities.
Source: How Your Room Affects Your Mental Health - Science of People

Japan's Creative, Ephemeral Homes - WSJ

last updated 28 May 2016