Neuro architecture.. How do you design your interior space to increase your creativity?

In the mid-1950s, virologist Jonas Salk was in a basement laboratory at the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania, conducting his experiments to develop a polio vaccine, in dim light, but he had not made significant progress. After a long time, he decided to travel to Italy in vacation.

Salk resided in a monastery in the midst of nature, its construction dates back to the thirteenth century, and there in front of the picturesque landscapes and historical architecture, and as he tells himself, his psychological state changed for the better, and he was able to imagine a different way to produce the vaccine, and thus Salk returned to the United States with the method of producing the first safe vaccine It is effective against polio.

neural architecture

The virologist did not forget what his stay in the monastery had caused him. He was one of the first to realize the impact of the fusion between architecture and neuroscience, which is what has become known today as the field of neuroarchitecture. Salk thought about building a research institute to implement this concept, so he invited the architect Louis Kahn to develop And the construction of the Salk Institute in California in 1960, which became a leading research center and a model in neural architecture. (1)

This was the beginning of the story of the fusion between the disciplines of architecture and neuroscience, which has made a great paradigm shift in our interior environments in recent decades, taking advantage of the great diversity of feelings that interior environments influence, and employing architecture techniques to meet our psychological and mental needs.

Fortunately, this creative influence is not limited to architecture, but also to nature. Green spaces in cities make us feel safe and enjoyable, and they are a haven for the elderly, especially, as they find an opportunity for social contact and improve their mood. As studies indicate, stress levels are reduced by 20% in areas close to green spaces, which can be reached by only 250-300 metres. (2)

The positive effects of nature don’t stop there. Through an eight-year investigation in the 1980s, Swedish architect Roger Ulrich revealed that the effect of a beautiful view in a hospital room can speed up a patient’s recovery after surgery. This is about the impact of urban and street planning, so what about the impact of the interior design of our homes? (3)

In small spaces

With the industrial revolution, huge numbers of people moved to cities, and it became necessary for people to accumulate in small spaces to accommodate this large influx, but the cities were not prepared for this large number of residents, and thus homes were planned to accommodate the largest possible number of newcomers, but problems Others began to appear to enter the psychological dimension in the matter. (4)

This is what neuroarchitecture studies as well. The influence of factors such as light, space, and room layout on physical and psychological health, how each feature of the surrounding architectural environment affects brain processes related to stress, emotion and memory, and how architecture and buildings influence various forms of human response. (5)

Well, to tell you clearly, it is much more than that innate feeling of comfort that surrounds us in beautiful places, the colors, sounds and smells that surround you at home and in all the closed places in which you spend most of your time affect your mind and behavior sometimes, they can make you feel safe, protected and relaxed, or stimulate your mind and unleash your creative and intellectual potential, and some can do the opposite. Interestingly, most of these influences on our behavior or mood are intangible, but we are always trapped in those small spaces in which we live. (6) (7)

How does the design of interior environments affect us?

Great Interior Design book.

In her book, The Great Indoors, Emily Anthes explores how the design and distribution of interior spaces affects so many aspects of our lives, telling us about those biological and neural responses to our surroundings, and how what you see through your window affects your stress level. And in your ability to focus, to the extent that the way you organize your office affects your interaction with work and colleagues in its internal environment. (8)

We are influenced by the type of lighting and the presence of plants, both of which affect sleep quality. The smell of citrus and other natural fragrances in the air helps reduce stress, and curves in corners make us feel relaxed. These patterns of influence have motivated neuroscientists to track it down and discover common patterns of Behavior in the face of certain stimuli. (9)

The overall results of these studies were exciting. We knew that light helps the body regulate the production of the hormone melatonin, which regulates the circadian clock, which affects digestion and sleep patterns, and stimulates the body’s production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that reduces symptoms of depression. (10) (11) Lighting, colors, sound, materials and the ratio between their sizes interact with our senses, generating a variety of feelings and experiences for us, evoking feelings of warmth, safety and well-being, and creating positive and effective work environments, which is reflected on our behavior in general.

Breadth, on the other hand, is associated with calm and comfort, and each color can be associated with a type of emotion, black for example, pessimism and aggression, while white is associated with purity, yellow with happiness, and green with harmony, hope and peace.

Perhaps we should tell you here that this field is not based on hard scientific facts. In fact, environmental psychology, the field that studies human relationships and behaviors in built environments and investigates the direct influence of surrounding space on the subconscious, health and mood, is not always evidence-based, as some environmental stimuli cannot be seen or touched, but their direct impact on our behavior Or our state of mind remains in control. While some places can make you feel anxious, others can give you a feeling of relief for no apparent reason that you can identify. (12) (13)

Surround yourself with these items

When the environment around you is rich in stimuli, new neural connections are generated, if you are surrounded by inspirational images or phrases, you are providing your brain with something to keep it graceful and active, and when you add a piece of furniture or perhaps a pillow to your home every season, you provide an important stimulus to your brain.

If you don’t have a landscape from your window, trying to “bring” nature into the house, by placing more plants or even pictures of them, offers several benefits.

Surrounding ourselves with images reminds us of good times and gives us a sense of well-being. Likewise, other elements of the environment influence the production of hormones and neurotransmitters and, in turn, thoughts. A dialogue between the brain and the elements of your home seems to make you better – or worse – in many ways.

Sharp edges and corners in columns, walls, or furniture also activate the brain’s work, thus representing an aggressive element. The amygdala area is activated and the brain remains awake in the face of this danger. Curved and rounded shapes, in turn, give us calm and reassurance.

If you do not have a landscape from your window, trying to “bring” nature into the house, by placing more plants or even pictures of them, provides you with several benefits, the same applies to natural light and fresh air, which helps reduce stress, and enhances our cognitive and educational abilities. It positively affects our performance. Being close to nature or just being able to meditate on it can help us rejuvenate our mental capacity and attention, and allow the brain some relaxation, so we feel more rested and refreshed when we resume our activity. (14)

Environmental psychology may help us create spaces that increase productivity, and perhaps design markets that achieve higher sales, hospitals that achieve better healthcare, but embodying the theoretical results of neuroarchitecture still depends, to a large extent, on the sensitivity, creativity, and understanding of the designer. Subject matter is psychological or behavioral work that cannot easily be translated into specific design recommendations.


  1. What is neuroarchitecture and how can it help us combat stress and be more creative?
  2. or why urban design and mental health should go hand in hand
  3. What is neuroarchitecture and how can it help us combat stress and be more creative?
  4. Psychology of space: How do interiors impact our behavior?
  5. Integrating interior design and neuroscience: Towards a methodology for applying neuroscience to interior spaces36
  7. Environmental psychology: Building with feeling
  8. Psychology of space: how interior architecture alters our health and influences our behaviors
  9. ‘Neuroarchitecture’: constructions designed measuring emotions
  10. (Psychology of space: how interior architecture alters our health and influences our behaviors
  11. (How architecture uses space, light and material to affect your mood
  12. (Psychology of space: How do interiors impact our behavior?

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