On the road to user-centered architecture

Post written by Simon Droog. Follow him on Twitter.

Best of wishes for 2011!

After almost a year of Experiencing Architecture, I thought a post on the Best Of 2010 would be appropriate and a great way to conclude the year. I’ve been looking through the stats and according to them the following 5 posts we’re the most visited in 2010:

1. How to design atmospheres attuned to the concerns of the user?
Architecture can move us, it elicits different emotions. It can bring back memories, but it can also elicit direct emotions, like letting you feel small or big, or giving a safe feeling or an unsafe one. Architecture is sometimes even able to bring us in a spiritual mood. But the same space can make someone feel calm while another person might feel uncomfortable or even unsafe there. Yet most of us feel small in a big Gothic church and unsafe in a dark alley at night. Architectural spaces have certain atmospheres that influence the emotional state of a person: the interaction between the environment and its occupant.

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2. How do emotions work? – Basic model of Emotions
People differ in their emotional responses towards a given building. Nevertheless, in spite of these interpersonal differences, the process of emotion, i.e. the way in which emotions are elicited, is universal. There is a basic process model of emotions. This model describes the eliciting conditions of emotions with the use of three underlying key variables: appraisal, concern and stimulus.

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3. Workshop: How to experience space through the senses?
During our graduation in
Explorelab at Delft University of Technology we organized a workshop at the Netherlands Architecture Institute (NAi) in Rotterdam. The workshop was about the experience of space through the senses – the experience of architecture by participation, not just observation.

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4. 5 Basic Human Concerns in Architecture
How do emotions work? – Basic model of emotions we explained how emotions work according to the basic model of emotion. Knowing this now, we think 2 questions are important for the application of the basic model in architecture:

  1. Are there concerns that apply for all humans? (Primal concerns)
  2. And how about concerns that relate specifically to architecture? (Architectural concerns)

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5. What is emotion? (part 1) – 4 Affective states
The word ‘emotion’ is often applied to a wide variety of phenomena, such as passions, sentiments, temperament, and moods. Although these words are regularly used interchangeably, they do in fact refer to specific and different experiential phenomena, called affective states. Below we will describe 4 different affective states: emotions, moods, emotional traits and sentiments.

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Best post of 2010

What post did you find most interesting or helpful in 2010?
We’re always interested in your feedback. If you have any other questions, remarks or ideas for Experiencing Architecture, please let us know by posting a comment below or send us an email through our
Contacts page.

Finally, we from Experiencing Architecture would like to wish a great New Year’s Eve and hope to welcome you back to Experiencing Architecture in 2011! Enjoy!

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