Why do some people choose oppressive environments?


Why do some people choose oppressive environments?
A tall concave ceiling enhances activities taking place in this grand room, but few people consciously attribute the positive ambience to the geometry / © Nikos A. Salingaros

​The act of building, a man-made transformation of the natural environment is an imposition on nature, necessary for human habitation. The process of assembling architectural and urban form, along with its underlying geometry, can differ radically: either it is inspired by and sympathetic to natural processes, or it is deliberately opposed to them. The difference between natural and artificial is fundamental. Architecture and planning that use unnatural geometric methodologies will inevitably conflict with nature. Often, forms that rely upon visual innovation as their sole inspiration reap acclaim for their architects. Unfortunately, structures that conflict with the processes of nature are ultimately unsustainable.

Traditional design approaches are utilitarian. Their processes and forms arose over generations by selection among natural alternatives, hence they are more sustainable. The most effective designs use evolved energy-saving solutions for building — factoring in local climate, local materials, and knowledge of local customs. Taking this more scientific approach, we can solve, dependably, problems of sustainability and human health.

Some environments soothe and heal; others induce anxiety and illness.

When people complain that our built environment makes them feel uncomfortable, they are dismissed as “old-fashioned” or “unappreciative of contemporary design”. But ordinary people’s reactions are in fact correct. Only architects and other design professionals, after years of conditioning in architecture school and practice, are able to override deeper biological instincts telling them that a structure is hostile (Salingaros, 2014). Architects have long used formal criteria to design and build structures that do not accommodate human sensibilities. They treat criticism by the public as proof that their designs succeed in provocation, which they equate with originality.

The root cause of profound disagreement on architecture between trained architects and the public boils down to whether or not a design embodies living structure (Mehaffy & Salingaros, 2011). Reconciliation on this point is impossible. Living structure is the antithesis of provocative. Like it or not, the search for innovation through provocation renounces life-enhancing environments. And those architects who insist that better education will teach the public to love the same buildings they love, do not understand human nature. […]

Aline Chahine
Aline is an international licensed architect currently practicing in Canada, she is the reason you are reading this right now, Aline founded the platform back in 2008 shaping the very foundation of Architecture Lab, her exemplary content curation process that defines the online magazine today.
Aline Chahine
Aline Chahine
Aline is an international licensed architect currently practicing in Canada, she is the reason you are reading this right now, Aline founded the platform back in 2008 shaping the very foundation of Architecture Lab, her exemplary content curation process that defines the online magazine today. Highlights Aline founded Architecture Lab in 2008 Lead editor of dan | dailyarchnews since 2019 Founded and Creative Director of DesignRaid Licensed architect with creative sales and marketing experience Experience As full-fledged architect, Aline's background involved a great deal of research that lead to the creation of Architecture Lab as an online database of exemplary design. Her experience snowballed into founding two architecture platforms, Architecture Lab and DesignRaid. Education Aline received USEK’s Master of Architecture in 2004 and BA in English from the University of Toronto
TITLE | Founder of Architecture Lab
About Architecture Lab Architecture Lab is a MKR.S Media brand, a website devoted to extraordinary design and aesthetics aiming to promote exceptional aesthetic values and sustainable design in all it's shapes and sizes. Learn more about us and our editorial process and feel free to contact us if you would like to see something in particular on the website, our certified experts will get back to you with the most trustworthy advice as soon as possible. Read all articles by Aline | Follow her on LinkedIn

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