Skip to main content

Neuroscience and Society Series: Buildings and the Brain

1200 New York Ave, NW, Washington, DC
“We shape our buildings and afterwards our buildings shape us”
- Winston Churchill

When he made this remark, the great orator was actually speaking about the reconstruction of the House of Commons, but the sentiment is equally true for the more modest buildings we see around us every day and the spaces we inhabit regularly. Using scientific methodology, architects and neuroscientists are increasingly collaborating to explore the variety of human experiences that can change with the design of buildings. Does it matter to our brains if a building has lots of curves or lots of sharp angles? As we walk the streets of our cities, what are the effects on our brains of façade design, greenspaces, and street geometry? Sophisticated neuroimaging technologies have made it possible to answer questions like these. Finally, the program will address the special challenges when designing buildings and rooms for individuals suffering from the extreme neurological deficits that are present in dementia, in general, and Alzheimer’s, in particular.

Margaret Calkins
Board Chair
IDEAS Institute

Eve Edelstein
Research Director, Human Experience and Gadget Labs

Justin Hollander
Associate Professor, Urban and Environmental Policy
Tufts University

Frederick Marks
Visiting Scholar and Research Collaborator
Salk Institute for Biological Studies

For more information on the Neuroscience and Society Series, please click here.