Nico Frijda copyright: www.maartenkools.com
Nico Frijda, copyright: Maarten Kools
Nico Frijda copyright: www.maartenkools.com
Nico Frijda, copyright: Maarten Kools

In several of our theory posts we cited Nico Frijda, which is not so strange because he is one of the most cited scientists in psychology. Nico Frijda is professor emeritus at the University of Amsterdam and is regarded as a founding father of contemporary emotion research. Frijda developed a theory of emotions with the concept of “action tendency” as the main focal point. Emotions are, in this view, tendencies to engage in behaviour influenced by the needs of the person. This theory was outlined in detail in The Emotions (1986), his magnum opus. This publication set a major benchmark for future research on both the substance and structure of human emotion. The Laws of Emotion (2006) further pushed the boundaries of this research by describing general rules of emotion that not only enhance understanding, but also establish a vocabulary with which to discuss one of the most consistently elusive topics in the history of psychology.

After attending a lecture by Nico Frijda at the Royal Academy of Art in the Hague on the 26th of January 2010 we had the privilege of asking him his opinion of contemporary architecture.

What do you think of the contemporary architecture?

Atrocious! Out of human scale.
It isn’t inviting for me anymore to take a walk and explore the built environment, because everything looks the same, there is no alternation. The ornament has disappeared. I miss these enjoyable elements in architecture, like a beautiful curl.

Can you tell us something about your experience of a modern building you visited?

I have recently been in Porto and visited the concert hall made by Rem Koolhaas. At first I was fascinated by its shape and its interesting perspectives…..but later I felt that the ideas of Rem Koolhaas were excessively forced on me in this building and it didn’t make me feel at home.

What advise would you give architects?

It is very important to make readable neighbourhoods and buildings. Architects should be aware that people differ from one another, inhabitants can have different emotions towards the same surroundings.

Casa di Musica
Casa di Musica, OMA. Source: z.z (on flickr)
Casa di Musica interior
Casa di Musica, OMA. Source: z.z (on flickr)

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