The visceral experience of architecture: object affordance and our need to grasp our surroundings. By Nikos A. Salingaros

Nikos A. Salingaros

Nikos A. Salingaros

Nikos Salingaros is a mathematician but also a  strong supporter of biophilic design and  new architectural theories that he has developed through his collaboration with the architect Christofer Alexander, author of "A Pattern Language"",  ( still a seller after over four decades from publication). His critical analysis of conventional modern architecture is very harsh especially when he tries to combine  theories from physics  with architectural discipline .The following excerp form his recent chapter introduces you to a another approach to neuroarchitecture, without getting too deep into the neuro-physiological analysis, but using its assumptions to conceive a different approach to design. This time Salingaros does it without any regard for ancient architectural language, or does he ???

The visceral experience of architecture: object affordance and our need to grasp our surroundings.”
By Nikos A. Salingaros

A quiet revolution is underway, in which architects are beginning to prioritize human neurological responses in what they build (Robinson & Pallasmaa, 2015; Sussman & Hollander, 2015). How does the human organism react and relate to a building, space, surface, or structural detail? A collaborative effort between architects and scientists, with cross-fertilization among disciplines, is revealing important new findings. This represents a paradigm shift after decades during which design focused almost exclusively on form, materials, and abstract geometries.
At the same time, we are discovering that traditional wisdom embedded in the built environment contains many of the design answers we now seek. Our ancestors who built towns and cities had an intuitive idea of which environments were more accommodating emotionally, and more healing (Alexander, 1979; Alexander et al., 1977). The tools they used to evaluate them were their own direct senses. Those older methods of choosing one design over another are now verified by our present-day laboratory techniques.
The sensory impact that our environment has on our nervous system and our body as a whole is the result of a complex mixture of distinct sources, all of which affect us viscerally. Our state of wellbeing is due in part to the effect that environmental information triggers in our body, coming from how our neurological system is designed for organismic survival during our evolution. Instinctive responses to form, pattern, and surface play a fundamental role in how we experience architecture.
Following the lead of Christopher Alexander (2001-2005), I have been investigating the organization of complexity (Mehaffy & Salingaros, 2015; Salingaros, 2006; 2011; 2014; 2015a). The central assumption is that our neurophysiological mechanism is developed for precisely this purpose — to analyze information automatically — hence theoretical results will help to explain how our body reacts to different environments.
Our neurophysiology picks up specific useful pieces of complex information from our surroundings. It does this subconsciously. Other, separate layers of our cognitive apparatus synthesize all this information to compute an integrated result. Our body then acts and reacts according to this internal cue. Building form adapts to our neurophysiology whenever all the individual internal elements, spaces, and surfaces — which should hopefully have followed criteria that guarantee an emotional connection — cooperate cognitively. Increasing the system’s interdependent relationships towards geometrical coherence consequently enhances its value in accommodating human life.

you can keep on reading here (link)