Design psychology in action

Submitted by digital on Wed, 04/11/2012 - 22:49
{"version":"0.3.0","atoms":[],"cards":[["images-card",{"images":[{"url":"http:\/\/\/dpcbzfiye\/image\/upload\/v1458687253\/msorvh82rldlcxwjpv3c.jpg","id":"1636"}],"caption":"The T3 Parking Structure was designed to transcend the mundane, receiving a 2013 Design Award from the Texas Society of Architects."}],["images-card",{"images":[{"url":"http:\/\/\/dpcbzfiye\/image\/upload\/v1458687346\/taqrxcbjtm068ueipoqg.jpg","id":"1641"}],"caption":"On the steel screens attached to the garage\u0027s exterior, vines grow and soften the sometimes intense sunshine."}]],"markups":[["a",["href","https:\/\/\/","target","_new"]],["a",["href","http:\/\/\/","target","_new"]]],"sections":[[1,"h2",[[0,[],0,"An architect and doctor examine the psychological impact of design"]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"It\u2019s well-established that the built environment can affect a person\u2019s emotional state. On one end of the spectrum, fast-food restaurants exemplify this idea, with purposefully designed interiors where harsh colors and lighting subtly encourage a rapid turnaround of customers."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"At the opposite end of the spectrum are spaces intentionally imbued with a sense of calm, places in which occupants may feel removed from everyday distractions and involuntarily moved toward self-reflection. There is Louis Kahn\u2019s Salk Institute or Alvar Aalto\u2019s Paimio Sanatorium, both designed by AIA Gold Medalists and celebrated as architectural masterworks that help reinforce the connection between meditative space and superlative design. Indeed, architecture\u2019s psychological affect can be profound. Yet only within the last few years has its impact been the subject of detailed academic study."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"An ongoing collaboration between an architect and a psychoanalyst represents one important investigation into that impact. Elizabeth Danze, FAIA, and Stephen Sonnenberg, M.D., who both maintain active practices while teaching their respective disciplines at the University of Texas at Austin, began their professional partnership in 2005. Danze and Sonnenberg organized the Space+Mind Symposium that took place in 2007 at"],[0,[0],1," UT Austin\u2019s School of Architecture"],[0,[],0,". They co-edited the book Space \u0026 Psyche, published in 2013 by UT Austin\u2019s Center for American Architecture and Design, that evolved from the symposium."]]],[10,0],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"In their introduction to Space \u0026 Psyche, Danze and Sonnenberg set forth their premise: \u201cBuildings are inert objects, but our experience of them transcends the physical realm and extends into our deepest consciousness. Architecture, in particular, which moves beyond mere building, strives to enhance the human condition and promote emotional well-being through the manipulation of space, light, material, and form. Psychoanalysis is concerned with many things, among them, the means by which places enter our psyches and become a part of who we are. Both psychoanalysts and architects care about people\u2019s identities and memories, hopes, and dreams. These human constructs are replete with spatial, architectural images\u2014images of safety, danger, permanence, enclosure, and reflection\u2014as well as with a full range of emotions.\u201d"]]],[1,"h3",[[0,[],0,"Psychosocial development"]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Last November, Danze and Sonnenberg presented \u201cSpace Mind Architecture: The Impact of Design on Mind and Body\u201d during the annual convention of the Texas Society of Architects. Drawing upon concepts discussed in Space \u0026 Psyche, they examined several case studies that illustrate the connection between the design of the built environment and its occupants\u2019 sense of well-being. \u201cArchitects can be more deliberate and clear in putting into practice what they learn as designers and architects as to how the design of their buildings impact the consciousness of the users of their buildings in subtle and powerful ways,\u201d Danze says."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Among the projects they discussed were Peter Zumthor\u2019s Thermal Baths, Aalto\u2019s Piamio Sanitorium, and selected works by Billie Tsien Todd Williams Architects, Herzog \u0026 de Meuron, and others. Such exemplary architecture promotes \u201chealth, well-being, and self-reflection,\u201d explains Sonnenberg, whose medical specialty is psychiatry. People who encounter those types of structures, he adds, may experience a dream state whereby one\u2019s current desires and psychological conflicts come into sharper focus."]]],[1,"blockquote",[[0,[],0,"\u0022Buildings are inert objects, but our experience of them transcends the physical realm and extends into our deepest consciousness.\u0022 \u2014Elizabeth Danze, FAIA, and Stephen Sonnenberg, M.D."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Together, Danze and Sonnenberg also teach design studios at the UT School of Architecture with fellow faculty member John Blood, AIA. \u201cTheater of War: The Veterans Community Park and Pavilion Project\u201d is their latest collaboration, a design studio in which students explore possible architectural settings intended to foster meaningful interaction and dialogue between veterans of war and people who have never personally experienced wartime violence. Sonnenberg sees the studio as an early step toward realizing a building and adjacent outdoor space in Austin that is dedicated to bridging a gap between those two groups. \u201cIt\u2019s for the entire community,\u201d he says. Ultimately, the project will serve as a national model for similar places in other U.S. cities."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"To help their students understand the effects of wartime violence on veterans, Sonnenberg has assigned memoirs from three Americans who fought in the Vietnam War. Such insights, Danze suggests, may provide the students with ideas for their design projects in respect to veterans\u2019 experiences. Learning to understand the psychosocial development of an individual or group may also benefit the students after they enter the profession, she says, because \u201c[t]his understanding, in turn, has an effect on how we design more meaningfully and effectively.\u201d As for her expectations about the outcome of this semester\u2019s studio: \u201cThe designs produced will help stimulate a dialogue in the veteran and lay community about the [park and pavilion project], and will set the stage for the building that will eventually get built. The work of the studio will be both testing ground for this project and prototype for the building and site.\u201d"]]],[1,"h3",[[0,[],0,"Design psychology in action"]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Having spent many years researching the connection between architecture and psychology, Danze seeks opportunities to apply her research findings to her architectural work for "],[0,[1],1,"Danze Blood Architects"],[0,[],0,", the firm she leads with Blood, her husband. Their most recent project, a parking garage in Austin for T3, an advertising and integrated marketing firm, proved to be an ideal case."]]],[1,"p",[]],[10,1],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"The helical concrete structure organizes its four parking levels around a central elliptical light well. On the steel screens attached to its exterior, vines grow and soften the sometimes intense sunshine. The garage\u2019s open structure allows ample air to circulate within. The T3 Parking Structure received a 2013 Design Award from the Texas Society of Architects as well as an Honor Award last year from AIA Austin. Jurors in both competitions recognized the project as commendable for reimagining a building type that seldom transcends the mundane."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"\u201cThe garage is designed so that the users have a pleasurable and enriching experience as they arrive and leave the garage every day on their way to and from work,\u201d Danze says. \u201cUnlike most parking garages\u2014anonymous, utilitarian structures that are frequently dark and unpleasant places to be\u2014the hope here is that the regular routine of arriving at work is both visually and spatially engaging and inspiring. The open structure lets in ample light, which is filtered through plantings, casting dappled light patterns through the space. The multi-floor parking is configured in a continuous helical ramp\u2014the simple act of arrival evokes a positive and literally elevating phenomenological experience as the sense of movement is heightened.\u201d"]]],[1,"p",[]]]}
An ongoing collaboration between Elizabeth Danze, FAIA, and Dr. Stephen Sonnenberg is aimed at how design and the built environment affect the mind.


Members Only
Primary Image Caption
A parking garage in Austin for T3, an advertising and integrated marketing firm, designed by Danze Blood Architects
Tile Sizes
Use on Homepage
Temp Draft