Neuroscience for Architecture: A General Assessment of the Relationship Between Neuroscience and Architectural │History│

Mimarlık İçin Nörobilim




Neuroscience,, Cognitive Neuroscience, Architecture,, Architectural History


How can understanding the complex structure of the human brain and the course of thought contribute to architectural
practice, architectural history, and architectural education? Is it possible to talk about the ways of thinking that have been
definitely and clearly summarized for architects throughout architectural history? How do environment, society, culture, and
genes affect brain development? How architecture can shape the brain and, neuroscience can shape structures? Since the
20th century, the “one” explanatory science of the past has been replaced by the science of pluralistic explanations in social
sciences. (Tanrıdağ,2015). Accordingly, the research methods have been restructured. Thus, the exchange of information
between disciplines, which seem independent, has become widespread. Architecture is a hybrid and impure discipline.
(Pallasmaa 2013). Therefore, obtaining more detailed information about the brain affects architecture as it affects other
disciplines. The question of how studies in neuroscience, which hold a prominent place today with its studies on the brain,
affect the field of architecture and architectural history is a very current issue. Neuroscience and architecture can be seen as
two different fields at first. However, architects have intuitively designed based on neuroscience principles for centuries.
Neuroscience, which is developing as an interdisciplinary field today, focuses on the effects of the brain/mind on cognitive
functions but focuses scientific research on the nervous system. The Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture (ANFA),
established in 2003 by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) in San Diego, is a powerful platform for architecture and
neuroscience. ANFA, established by neuroscientists and architects, aims to bring the two disciplines together to understand
better the built environment’s effects on the human brain and to observe, inspire and share emerging research to evaluate
architects and their roles and influences in the design process. (Whitelaw, 2020). Developments in neuroscience are also
actively affecting the discussions on the architectural platform. If architecture is concerned with the human (and therefore all
aspects of the human brain and body), it cannot be considered outside the evolving neuroscience studies. The increasing
interest in neuroscience can also be observed in the literature through the increase in studies at this intersection. In addition,
with the platforms created on neuroscience for architecture, many universities open the way for development by adding
neuroscience-architecture courses to their architecture faculties. The use of developments in neuroscience in architecture may
lead to a change in the definition of architecture. Despite the developments in the world for the last two decades, studies in our country are few. Such a gap in the literature requires research on neuroscience and architecture. Accordingly, this study aims to evaluate the roots of the relationship between neuroscience and architecture, how neuroscience contributes to architecture, and how the possibilities offered by neuroscience will help reframe architectural history through existing literature studies.
These developments can provide different evolutions for architecture and architectural history. In this context, a literature
review, including studies on “architecture” and “architecture history,” was conducted based on subfield knowledge of
neuroscience and its branches (cognitive neuroscience, neurogenesis, etc.). English and Turkish keywords such as “nörobilim,”
“nörobilim ve mimarlık,” “mimarlık için nörobilim,” “sinirbilim,” “sinirbilim ve mimarlık,” “neuroscience,” “neuroscience
and architecture,” “neuroscience for architecture,” “bilişsel nörobilim ve mimarlık,” “cognitive neuroscience and
architecture,” “nörobilim ve mimarlık tarihi,” “neuroscience and architectural history,” “nörotarih,” “neuro history” were
used in the research in Yök Thesis, Google/Academic, and Web of Science databases. Additionally, my notes, and observations
from the course titled “Cognitive Neuroscience” of the Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Doctoral Program established within
Ankara University Health Sciences Institute are also included in the study. This current study, which aims to make a general
evaluation in order to understand the place, effect and state of architecture in new epistemological fields opened by the data
provided by neuroscience and the methods it can offer, to understand the relationship between neuroscience and architecture,
and to open the door to revealing possible new openings for the history of architecture, has been prepared as a qualitative
review. The study invites researchers to look at architecture and architects from a different point of view, from an evidencebased perspective, to understand and question the relationship between neuroscience, architecture, and architectural history, through the possibilities and data offered through neuroscience.