Djebbara, Z. and Gramann, K. (2022) ‘Architectural affordances: linking action, perception, and cognition’, in Brain, Beauty, and Art: Essays Bringing Neuroaesthetics into Focus. Oxford University Press.
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Imagine not being in space – impossible! The environment is experienced effortlessly, simply through our being in a place. It requires no more than simple perceptions to assemble a stable world. Yet, architecture – the art of designing the built environment – can tell awe-inspiring stories beyond describing stable buildings. It shapes and molds the spaces, which in turn function as the fundamental settings on which the stories and events of our lives unfold. Architects quite literally shape our world. In doing so, they change the appearance of the future world and reinvent our relationship to the surrounding space. This appreciation calls for a renewed understanding of how architects affect the human being. Paraphrasing the poet Rumi, it would be clever to change the world but wise to change ourselves. Emphasizing the human as the center of architectural design requires a change of attitude. The effort to reinvent and renew architecture must be informed by our attitude towards the built environment.