Space Design Impact on Human Experience

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Freshman (College 1st year) ・Architecture ・APA ・7 Sources

Human beings always interact with the plan either consciously or unconsciously. The author notes that the diagram of space results into diverse experiences that manifest in different aspects. For instance, when an man or woman enters a room, it has been observed that there are notable behavioral modifications including changes in one’s temper as well as the feeling of comfort. Gander (2016) advances the argument that architecture makes use of space, light, and material to affect one’s mood. Comparatively, GenslerOn (2017) argues that the human experiences in the future are pegged on architectural designs that take people’s issues into account. Such concerns comprise the shifts in demographics, alternate in climate, and the rapidly evolving technological change. Thus, as the world keeps on evolving, it creates an opportunity to use people centered design to create a better world.

This paper seeks to ascertain the effect design of space has on the human experience. As such, it looks at design’s effect on the five human factors: social, cognitive, emotional, physical and cultural. To achieve this, it explores the design of space in three main areas – where people live, where they work and where they play. The paper elaborates on these key areas by identifying architectural developments that uniquely shape these areas. It elaborates on the rationale employed in the development of architectural forms for each of these areas. Select architectural case studies elaborating on the three areas are used in demonstrating the various differences in design as well as the disparate impact they have on the human experience.

The Human Experience

Naftal, 2013 postulates that, because we are visual creatures capable of assessing our surroundings, we are influenced by architecture in various ways. He notes that as individuals, we develop different moods that are associated with the nature of the architectural forms. For instance, while a well lit room has the impact of brightening your mood as is common with most libraries, a dark room may lead to the dampening of one’s mood. The human experience would be argued to be the overall level of satisfaction that is associated with a particular product or service. Based on this satisfaction, individuals develop an affinity to the product or a level of dislike to the same.

When focusing on the comprehension of the human experience, it is important to understand human factors in order to understand how the design of space influences them. These factors in collectively describe the human experience. They include: social, cognitive, emotional, physical and cultural factors. They are elaborated further below:

Social Factors

Social factors are related to the lifestyle of people – issues pertaining to family, religion, and socialization. They seek to address issues such as how do people socialize? How do they perceive social activity?

Cognitive Factors

Cognitive factors are related to the characteristics of people that have an influence on how they learn and perform. They describe issues pertaining to cognitive functions such as memory, reasoning and attention. They seek to address issues such as how do people learn? How do they perform?

Emotional Factors

Emotional factors are related to the state of mind. As such, they can range from happiness, sadness, anger, to trust, and fear etc. These factors are important in that they directly influence performance and the actions taken by individuals. For instance, happy people are seen to be self confident and resilient while sad people display low self-confidence levels and are more pessimistic. They seek to address issues such as how is the state of mind affected? And what action results from the developed state of mind?

Physical Factors

Physical factors are physically identifiable factors that affect the survival and growth of individuals, organizations or organisms. They are concerned with addressing issues pertaining to what is physically identifiable?

Cultural Factors

Cultural factors relate to the beliefs, traditions, values and ideologies associated with a particular group of individuals. They address issues such as what are the beliefs of individuals? What are their values?

With an outlining of the five aspects that will be used in defining the human experience, the following section delves into the design of three key areas that impact on the experience.

Design of Residential Space

When concerned with the design of residential and living spaces, this section makes use of various case studies on residential architectural spaces to discuss the impact of their design on the human experience as stipulated by the identified human factors.

Verticalarts.com, 2017 highlight four key factors that influence the design of residential spaces. These include:

Sunlight– It is important to pay close attention to the sun’s path on a residential site as it influences the nature of outdoor activity.

Views– Views determine how well grounded residential areas are to their locations.

Wind– the direction of wind breezes is particularly important since they influence outdoor activity. Based on the climatic orientation, some residential areas are designed to have their windows and doors facing in the opposite direction of wind to ward off its effects.

Sound– the noise influences in an area is determine the placement of windows, and quiet rooms such as bedrooms within a site.

Case study: Features being adopted in designing residential houses

Baker & Riskus, 2016 identify various residential design features that are related to the human experience. These include:

Growth in outdoor living

The current feature being witnessed in residential design involves the replacement of dining rooms with outdoor kitchens as well as furnished outdoor rooms. To both the resident and visitors of such a residential building, the human experience developed by being in the outdoor space is that of openness and the notion of social cohesion.

Growth of home offices

Most houses are currently featuring the inclusion of home offices within their residential homes. To the resident of the particular house, the design of the house to include an office setup creates a perception of working and engagement in serious work. Physically identifiable features such as computers, books and office toolkits fuel the development of such a perception.

The adoption of technology in the kitchen and bathrooms

Technological advancements are being implemented in residential homes to include energy efficient infrastructure in a bid to simplify life. Hot showers, electric toothbrushes etc. and their placement within the rooms have an impact on the human experience when individuals occupy such rooms.

In regards to the design of residential spaces, the argument advanced is that the arrangement of furniture, the positioning of lighting and the inclusion or elimination of other household artifacts creates a perception to an individual entering the space for the first time. This perception as a result influences his human experience whilst in the same space. For instance, an individual who visits a wealthy family’s residence that is embellished with chandeliers and exotic furniture develops a perception regarding the particular family even without meeting them. This perception influences his human experience in that he may develop self confidence or fear while he is in the living space. On the other hand, if the same individual visits a residential house that displays basic furniture, warm photos on its walls and a dining table within its corridors gets a completely different perception regarding the family that lives there. It would be argued that he would feel more comfortable if he is of a similar disposition to the family occupying the residence. As such, his experience would be more calm and relaxed compared to the wealthy family.

Design of Working Space

The working environment has a significant influence on the perception of new workers to the company and thus their human experience in these particular offices. Most organizations are aware of this fact and as such, they design their work spaces to include various features that highlight their organizational culture and thus influence the human experience of their employees through design. Some features include:

Open plans

Large offices are currently being organized in open plan office arrangements where all employees are organized in one large open space with each employee being able to interact with his peers as no compartments separate workstations.

A new employee who get introduced to such a work environment perceives that the organization culture promotes interaction between employees. In addition, he perceives that collaboration and socialization is advocated for in the organization.

This perception informs his human experience such that his actions will tend towards socialization and interaction with employees as soon as work commences. This would be entirely different in a situation where the organization designs its workspace to be closed and compartmentalized with workers rarely being able to communicate to each other. In this case, a new employee visiting such an office will be of the perception that the organization advocates for independent work and downplays collaboration. As such, the employee will tend to embrace behaviour that is related to his perception.

Common spaces

Most organizations are developing common spaces where individuals can have ad-hoc meetings and collaborate on various issues. Such spaces are easily identifiable within the office workspace such that new employees easily spot them. The perception towards common spaces is that they influence collaboration among employees. As a result, the human experience is towards working together.

Functional buildings

Organizations such as large corporates e.g. Google are developing full functional buildings that are equipped with facilities such as a gym, restaurant, and coffee house all within the work environment. The notion that this creates for a new employee being introduced into the company is that the company values the well being of the employee and their contribution in the work place. As a result, the human experience developed from simply being within the premises promotes the work ethic of the employee.

Design of Entertainment Space

The design of the entertainment space has a significant influence on how individuals behave when they visit such spaces.

Playgrounds

Playgrounds are adorned with brightly colored play elements such as swings, slides and bouncing castles. The use of warm and fuzzy colors and the design of such play areas is such that kids immediately are influenced by the design to engage in playful activities. Fun parks are as well themed in such a manner to cultivate a human experience that is relaxed and full of cheer.

Football stadiums

Football stadiums are designed to in a manner that makes it easy for fans to view football matches with ease while at the same time, join together with their fellow fans in enjoying matches. No compartments separate fans but rather, they are all made to seat in similar rows that encircle the stadium. The aspect of social cohesion is advocated by the close knit design leading to a change of behaviour immediately one visits the stadium.

Conclusion

The paper has undertaken an analysis of the various effects the design of space has on the human experience. It considered three main design areas – residential architecture, office architecture and entertainment architecture. With residential architecture, embracing of outdoor living spaces, the inclusion of office spaces within the living space as well as the adoption of technology in the living space was seen to have an effect on the human experience. On the other hand, with the office architecture, the adoption of open office plans, common spaces and functional buildings is as well influencing the human behavior in the offices. Lastly, with the entertainment spaces, the careful design of playgrounds and soccer stadiums was highlighted as having an influence on the manner in which the human experience was perceived whilst in the various spaces.

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References

Baker, K., & Riskus, J. (2016).The Coming Decade for Residential Design.Architect. Retrieved 5 July 2017, from http://www.architectmagazine.com/aia-architect/aiafeature/the-coming-decade-for-residential-design_o

Gander, K. (2016).Terrible architecture is making you depressed.The Independent. Retrieved 5 July 2017, from http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/design/how-architecture-uses-space-light-and-material-to-affect-your-mood-american-institute-architects-a6985986.html

GenslerOn. (2017).Human Experience Is the Future ofDesign - Design Forecast - architecture and design. Gensleron.com. Retrieved 5 July 2017, from http://www.gensleron.com/design-forecast-2016/human-experience-is-the-future-of-design.html

Kim, J. (2015).Design for Experience. Cham: Springer International Publishing.

Lynn, R. (2017).The Impact of Design on Human Experience - MSR Architecture, Interiors, and Urban Design.MSR Architecture, Interiors, and Urban Design. Retrieved 5 July 2017, from https://msrdesign.com/the-impact-of-design-on-the-human-experience/

Naftal, D. (2017).The impact of architecture on our lives - DN Architecture - Darren Naftal.DN Architecture - Darren Naftal. Retrieved 5 July 2017, from http://dnarchitecture.com/impact-of-architecture/

Verticalarts.com (2017).4 Environmental Factors to Consider Before Designing Your Home.Vertical Arts. Retrieved 5 July 2017, from http://vertical-arts.com/4-environmental-factors-consider-designing-home/

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