Indoor climate and well-being
Industry trends
Interior design

Neuroarchitecture: When the Mind Meets the Built Form

July 17, 2023

From Ancient Greece to the modern present, designers continue to explore the potential effects of the built form on cognition and emotions.

Rockfon Contour in Meininger Hotel, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Although the term is relatively new, neuroarchitecture is by no means a new field. While the architects of places of worship like the Sagrada Família in Barcelona, Spain or the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France might not have referred to peer-reviewed journals for neuroscientific research, they were undeniably looking to trigger a certain cognitive response associated with a sense of divinity in their architecture. Such efforts can be referred to as neuroarchitecture. 

Science has continuously flourished over the past 50 years to offer so many empirical insights to other disciplines, including architecture and interior design. Today, architects and interior designers have access to a wealth of data, baseline performance measures, and case studies to refer to. And many practitioners have been making use of such resources as part of the ever-popular evidence-based approach, which, much like neuroarchitecture, aims to provoke responses with the senses. 

A burst of biophilia acts as a positive distraction and brings cheer to a clinical setting at the Päijät-Häme Central Station in Lahti, Finland.  

Treatment Room in Päijät-Hämeen keskussairaala in Lahti Finland with Rockfon Hygienic Plus A24-Edge

Inspired by how different colours affect us psychologically, Ramberg opted for different nature-inspired colour schemes across their offices in Sande, Norway.

Canteen in Ramberg Office in Sande i Vestfold Norway with Rockfon Color-all

Here are some examples of how neuroarchitecture principles can be applied to offices and workplace spaces:

  • Natural light: One study showed that employees with more natural light exposure in the office had longer sleep duration, better sleep quality, more physical activity, and a general better quality of life than employees with less light exposure.
  • Acoustics: Working spaces and meetings rooms with high noise levels can harm employee focus and productivity, especially in open-plan offices.[7] Office acoustics techniques like zoning and design products such as acoustic solutions help to reduce the noise and bring in comfort.
  • Meditative spaces: Many workplaces (especially startups and tech companies) are designing mediation spaces, largely due to links between mindfulness training and performance.[8]