The emotional impact of architecture and space design is a topic that has been studied extensively during the last decades. Being able to understand exactly how buildings can have an impact on the way we feel is of the utmost importance. This will allow us to design spaces that enrichen people’s lives, improve their moods, and that makes them feel better. On the contrary, ugly architecture can negatively impact our mood and wellbeing. Therefore, professionals from the architecture and design area need to consider the effect that ugly architecture can have on the way people feel and avoid it at all costs.
What Research Has Found
During recent years, researches have been interested in studying the impact of plain and dull environments on people’s mood and wellbeing. Several studies have shown that people not only dislike living around this kind of environments, but that it also makes them feel depressed.
As a matter of fact, studies have found that our bodies respond negatively to boring, dull, and monotonous landscapes. According to a study conducted by Science of Us, people find commercial buildings bland and passionless. On the other hand, areas with small shops and restaurants make people feel excited and happy.
Why This Can Be a Problem
Despite what we might think, such studies do not mean that ugly architecture is a problem by itself. The problem is the long-lasting effect that dull and boring buildings have on people’s mood when this is all they see throughout the day. Our mind craves visual complexity, and when we do not get exposed to an optical diversity, it can turn into a real issue.
Boring streetscapes and a lack of visual variety can cause us to feel boredom and, at some point, psychological distress. It can also lead to higher mortality rates, which is a result of cortisol, the stress hormone, is produced more when we go through boring experiences.
Ugly Architecture Can Lead to ADHD, Too
Besides affecting our overall mood, ugly architecture and dull surroundings can be the reason why many people suffer from ADHD or Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. This condition makes people become distracted quite easily, feel restless, and show impulsive or hyperactive behavior. Living with mundane surroundings and experiencing intense boredom may result in people developing this disorder.
On the other hand, several studies have also found that being surrounded by interesting, colorful, and inspiring architecture can have a positive impact on people’s moods. This is why it is important for architecture firms to understand the impact that ugly architecture can have on how people feel. The more we understand this impact, the easier it will be to design and build spaces that inspire and motivate people, not get them depressed.