top of page
Featured Posts
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Instagram Social Icon
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • YouTube Social  Icon


Architecture as a form of art, evoques our senses translating our experiences into emotions. But, how can we learn to create spaces that generate the emotions that we want? Well, first we have to be clear on what we desire, and where each emotion or mood is the appropriate one. Some residential or office environments, for example, require social, provoking spaces and also contemplative, quiet ones to accommodate the different activities occurring in the building.

Creating the “perfect” space is an impossible, and subjective, balancing act between form and function. This is made harder by the fact that architects are restricted by laws and often tight budgets.

“The impact architecture has on a person’s mood is huge. Arguably these are the fundamentals of architecture: not how it looks, but how we feel it, through the way it allows us to act, behave, think and reflect,” - Dr Melanie Dodd

SCALE is one of the factors conditioning how we feel in a particular space. It can foster intimacy (i.e. conversation, romance, etc.) or intimidation (i.e. symbolic or hierarchical spaces like political or religious institutions). Thus some of your activities might require larger than utilitarian or functional sizes to accommodate the symbolic requirement. The concept of scale, applies to architecture, landscape architecture and urban design, and have direct implications in our conduct.

“When a person is in a space with a 10-foot ceiling, they will tend to think more freely, more abstractly. They might process more abstract connections between objects in a room, whereas a person in a room with an 8-foot ceiling will be more likely to focus on specifics.”

… there are good reasons for a low-ceiling height; like in an operating room where you want the surgeon to “focus on specifics.”- Joan Meyers-Levy

FORM is important in representing the importance of a building or space in relation to others. Having a form that integrates to the natural or built context reinforces the qualities of the place, of the collective. A form that differs from the context calls for attention, for a special place in the hierarchical order of the spatial organization. Form is also used to communicate special symbols or architectural semantic resources to represent the contained activity and its symbolic importance. Usually the use of integrated art to the building or space, is used to reinforce the symbolic representation of the idea being promoted.

PROPORTION is another resource the helps architecture communicate and promote balance, harmony and beauty. During the classical and renaissance times designers developed multiple treaties on ideal proportions for architecture. A well proportioned architectural composition has a psycological effect on the people experiencing the space.

ORDER increases our ability to understand the environment we are navigating, providing a sense of security. Order can also organize spaces to achieve particular experiences (see spatial sequence, bellow), create interest, focus, hierarchy, surprises, transitions, events, and adventure. Absence of order communicates caos, adventure into the unknown and probably danger (a resource widely used on halloween spatial sequences or amusement parks).

LIGHT as Le Corbusier, pointed out, …Architecture is the masterly, correct and magnificent play of volumes brought together in light…” We “perceive” architecture and all spaces, primarily thought our sight and by light. It is commonly accepted that natural light is the best lighting for most human activities. But it has to be controlled or filtered to be of best use. Light also is a mayor resource to create special effects and promoting spirituality in a space. The way light enters a space, from above, side or below convey different “meanings” to us.

"In Tadao Ando’s Church of Light in Japan, the space of the chapel is defined by light and contrast between light and solid. The movement of the shaft of light evokes a spiritual bond between the occupant and majestic light.

Some findings:

Lighter, brighter spaces with full-spectrum lighting increase alertness and help guard against depression and cognitive decline. Rooms intended mainly for relaxation should feature darker colors, dimmer lighting, fewer sharp edges on furniture and bookshelves, and more carpeting." -Emily Anthes

• Adequate sunlight improves student’s grades

• Having lighting in your home that can change from day to night will help you not only to stay awake, but also to sleep at night.

COLOR is also perceived through light and sight. It can greatly affect mood. Restaurant owners choose colors and designs that either encourage customers to stay and enjoy the evening (soft cushions, low light), or to eat quickly and move on so that they can seat more customers (bright colors, hard seats).

Color can make you excited or calmed, festive or spiritual. For example, while blue brings a calming feeling of serenity, dark blue can evoke feelings of sadness. Yellow is a “happy” color that lightens your mood and can help you feel more carefree. Red is the color of passion, and can evoke intense feelings like love or anger. Orange encourages an enthusiastic mood, while green evokes a feeling of the outdoors and can help alleviate stress. Purple can also bring out a passionate mood while the darker the shade, the more passionate you feel. It is also associated with luxury and royalty. Black is a very powerful color and should be used in moderation, gray colors can add a subtle elegance to a room and white conveys a very calming and clean space.

SOUND Although architecture has been defined as “frozen music”… here, we are considering its sonic qualities. Sound is constantly propagating and resonating in spaces depending on the characteristics of the architecture, either specific buildings or natural environments which cause different actions of reflection or refraction, by molding (from resonance) sound objects on its essence.

The way a space absorbs or reflects the sounds, or how you steps are heard as you walk over the different material surfaces, or an echo that can be heard due to the reverberations of certain forms and materials, all help create particular experiences in the perception of a space.

Aeolus Pavilion by Luke Jerram is a Gigantic Acoustic Sculpture that Sings With the Wind in London

“Sound is a spatial event, a material phenomenon and an auditive experience rolled into one. It can be described using the vectors of distance, direction and location. Within architecture, every built space can modify, position, reflect or reverberate the sounds that occur there. Sound embraces and transcends the spaces in which it occurs, opening up a consummate context for the listener: the acoustic source and its surroundings unite into a unique auditory experience.”– OASE

MATERIALS convey permanence and the capacity to transcend. They also convey meaning and feeling. Materials can be warm, cold, soft, hard, industrial, earthy or natural, both to touch and sight. Material selection is not only an economical or technological decision, but an important conductor to sensorial and spiritual qualities of the spaces.

The famous Salk Institute by Louis Kahn, was based on the experience in Asisi’s basilica, with simple, harmonious colonnades, the long vistas, the pale buttery colour of the stone were used to create that environmenmt.

The SPATIAL SEQUENCE sums it up, when it creates the flow of storytelling, emotional illusionism, metaphoric design or poetic forms of giving sense to certain content, the story, of the “musical” feeling of the space, of the experience. How scale, form, scale, order, proportions, light, sound, tectonics (the use of materials) and color are organized and integrated into a hole, is key to creating this unique spatial experience, from introduction unto climax. It is the most critical composition resource in creating a mood setting spatial experience.

What are your desires and expectations?

Recent Posts
Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square
bottom of page