KBB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Mar 10 2010

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Should you apply neuroarchitecture to your next remodeling project?

Neuroarchitecture is a term you might have seen in the news. Once a hot topic in 2005, neuroarchitecture is again becoming popular as people try to find ways to escape the frustrations of a down economy.

Neuroarchitecture is a method of design research that focuses on how certain factors like space, light and room layout can impact the psychological and physical well-being of a person. It is based on the premise that artificial elements added by humanity have a significant impact on the function of the brain and nervous system.

Is this a new renaissance in interior design or is this neurobabble? I think it depends on how you look at it.

Older Methodologies
If you start in the beginning—10th century A.D.—ancient Indians were practicing Vaastu. Vaastu is an ancient Indian science of architecture and buildings that helps in making a congenial setting or a place to live and work by taking advantage of the benefits of nature, its elements and energy fields for enhanced wealth, health, prosperity and happiness. The Vasstu Shastra, a book of architecture written in Sanskrit, helps define building layouts, so positive and negative forces are in balance to naturally ensure general prosperity of the owners.

It is believed the tenets of Vasstu traveled to China on the same route as Buddhism and evolved into feng shui. Feng shui is an Asian art and science that reveals how to balance the energies of any given space to assure the health and good fortune for people inhabiting it.

Remodeling Your Kitchen
You are not happy with your small, cramped kitchen and you want to remodel it. The Vaastu response would be that an open plan with good ambiance will promote the health of the woman working there. The feng shui practitioner would tell you an island with the cooking center would be ideal for creating a “commanding position” and would promote group interaction.

Neuroarchitecture will tell you that you are stressed and unhappy in your current kitchen. It also suggests an island plan because you may feel vulnerable (to attack) if you can’t work with your back to the wall. My new friend, designer Johnny Grey, calls this protected placement behind the island the “sweet spot.”

Johnny Grey has been collaborating for years with renowned sociologist and design methodologist John Zeisel about our “hard-wired” needs. Grey states, “As the kitchen becomes more hard-wired to our instincts, it not only makes its occupants happier, but also becomes a living space in which one cooks and has all the attributes of sociability.” So it may make sense that the popular request for holistic design in a down economy incorporates the ideas of neuroarchitecture.

As a designer, the best thing I can do for clients is to listen to their needs, find out what makes them happy, what causes stress and create an environment that best enhances the human experience. My design process could incorporate some or all of the methodologies. While each modality has a unique set of rules, my overall goal is to create a harmonious space that people will love to use.—Ann Porter


Designer: Adam Kieliszek—NYLoft, New York; Photography: Jacob Babchuk/Cobico Productions

This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 10th, 2010 at 7:00 AM and is filed under Kitchen Design, Trends. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


  1.  Five Elements |

    More storage space, worn out appliances, worn flooring and cabinet damage are all common reasons for kitchen remodeling. Five Elements