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Andréa de Paiva


Fundação Getulio Vargas, FGV, Institute for Educational Development, São Paulo 01310-100, Brazil


The purpose of this paper is to discuss recent findings in neuroscience that can be useful to architecture. Knowing the working patterns of the brain and how space affects cerebral functions can help architects design buildings that improve the user’s behavior, performance and well-being. The built environment has a direct impact on the human brain. Social relations, focus, cognition, creativity, memory and well-being can be influenced by the surrounding physical space. Although it is not possible to create the perfect room, the space can be used in a strategic way, depending on the task that individuals are supposed to do there and depending on the people (age, gender, culture) who will make use of the space. Schools can be designed in a way to improve cognition, learning and memorization; hospital buildings can help improving recovery; workspaces can improve performance, creativity and collaboration. Above all, all spaces of long occupation should be designed in a way to improve well-being. How can architecture change automatic behaviors and nudge people to behave in a healthier way? Can architects create buildings and cities that improve socialization and happiness? Can criminality levels drop due to changes on the way the environments are designed? These are some of the questions that will be discussed in this paper.


Architecture, brain, neuroarchitecture, neuroscience, behavior, performance, well-being, design. 

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