Our buildings, our selves

In lieu of my report on last night’s lecture in Boston by Ann Sussman, hosted by the New England chapter of the ICAA, I am reposting my “Our buildings, ourselves” from last year, which concerns Sussman’s research. Look for a post on last night’s lecture tomorrow.

Architecture Here and There

Screen Shot 2016-06-06 at 2.15.56 PM.png Details of Trinity Church, Copley Square, Boston. (Photo by David Brussat)

Ann Sussman, author with Justin Hollander of Cognitive Architecture, has an article in Planning magazine, “Planning for the Subconscious,” that suggests that the millennia-long evolution of how we shape buildings and places placates the inner urges of our minds and bodies (and hearts).

Or at least it used to. Modern architecture ended that. But now, she writes, advances in our understanding of biology through biometrics “means we can record how people see and feel about their surroundings, not as machines, but as animals keen on connection and ruled by anxieties.” She adds:

Imagine being able to collect real-world, real-time data about emotional habits in the built environment and to definitively answer perennial questions such as why people enjoy walking through miles of a dense urban settings like Manhattan but consistently shun barren landscapes like Boston’s infamously…

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About David Brussat

For a living, I edit the writing of some of the nation's leading architects, urbanists and design theorists. This blog was begun in 2009 as a feature of the Providence Journal, where I was on the editorial board and wrote a weekly column of architecture criticism for three decades. Architecture Here and There fights the style wars for classical architecture and against modern architecture, no holds barred. My freelance writing and editing on that topic and others addresses issues of design and culture locally and globally. I am a fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts, and a member of the board of the New England chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, which bestowed an Arthur Ross Award on me in 2002. I work from Providence, R.I., where I live with my wife Victoria, my son Billy and our cat Gato. If you would like to invest your prose with even more style and clarity, please email me at my consultancy, dbrussat@gmail.com, or call 401.351.0457. Testimonial: "Your work is so wonderful - you now enter my mind and write what I would have written." - Nikos Salingaros, mathematician at the University of Texas, architectural theorist and author of many books.
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