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Course Description: In this course we explore the impact of interior environments on human performance and wellness. We explore the role natural daylight and perceived open space play in modulating cognitive function, and how we can engage our memories of natural environments to enhance occupant health and productivity in enclosed interiors. The course introduces a cognitive approach to design that underscores the value of perceived open space as a restorative attribute that engages our biophilic memory. Two spatial reference frames present in nature, the perceived zenith, the highest point above the observer, and the perceived horizon line, the farthest point before the observer, can be recreated in an enclosed interior space by staging an appropriate illusion to alter our perception of space. Recreating these fundamental spatial maps through an effective illusion enables a range of wellness benefits normally associated with interiors applying more traditional biophilic design principles.
Following this course you will be able to:
- Explain why reducing daylight to its elemental components, brightness (irradiance) and color temperature, in enclosed interiors can alter our perception of daylight’s inherent spatial nature.
- Discuss the role circadian photoreceptors and retinal cones play in regulating circadian entrainment and how the environmental context in which our physiology detects daylight is as important is the light itself.
- Describe the neural pathways that link our sensorimotor system (how we move through space) with executive function (how we think), thereby generating our sense of place.
- Summarize the malleable nature of human perception and how bi-sensory illusions in enclosed interiors can evoke spatial memories to alter our perception of those spaces.
- Discuss the implications of interior design on human health and productivity.