ARC 4530 – Culture and Behavior in Architecture


COURSE DESCRIPTION                         

Advanced course in architectural theory that explores the built environment’s effect on culture and behavior. Examines the aesthetic experience of architecture from a cognitive, behavioral, and emotional viewpoint. Surveys interdisciplinary concepts from neuroscience, psychology, anthropology, and sociology to understand how the built environment can impact human health and well-being.


Click on the links below to download specific course documents.


Required Books and Reading (*=available in library)

  • Sternberg, Esther M. Healing Spaces: The Science of Place and Well-Being. Cambridge: Belknap Press, 2009.*
  • Sussman, Ann, and Justin B. Hollander. Cognitive Architecture: Designing for How We Respond to the Built Environment. New York: Routledge, 2015.

NOTE: Selected journal articles and excerpts from larger works will be required reading for students and are outlined in more detail in the “Course Reader Packet.” Copies of these readings will be made available on Canvas or can be accessed via the university library’s databases.  Students may desire to purchase their own copy of the larger reference texts below for future reference.

  • Buras, Nir. The Art of Classic Planning: Building Beautiful and Enduring Communities. Boston: Harvard University Press, 2020. pp.148-165. (PDF)
  • Geertz, Clifford. The Interpretation of Cultures: Selected Essays, New York: Basic Books, 1973.
  • Hamilton, D. Kirk, and David H. Watkins. Evidence-Based Design for Multiple Building Types. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2009.
  • Holl, Steven, Juhani Pallasmaa, and Alberto Pérez Gómez. Questions of Perception: Phenomenology of Architecture. New ed. San Francisco, CA: William Stout, 2006.
  • Jones, Lindsay. The Hermeneutics of Sacred Architecture: Experience, Interpretation, Comparison. 2 vols, Religions of the World. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000.
  • Lang, Jon T. Creating Architectural Theory: The Role of the Behavioral Sciences in Environmental Design. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1987.
  • Salingaros, Nikos A. Biophilia & Healing Environments: Healthy Principles for Designing the Built World. New York: Terrapin Bright Green, 2015.
  • Salingaros, Nikos A. A Theory of Architecture. n.p.: Levellers Press, 2014.
  • Seasoltz, Kevin. A Sense of the Sacred: Theological Foundations of Christian Architecture and Art. New York: Continuum, 2005.
  • Tuan, Yi-fu. Space and Place: The Perspective of Experience. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1977.
  • Tuan, Yi-fu. Topophilia: A Study of Environmental Perception, Attitudes, and Values. Morningside ed. New York: Columbia University Press, 1990.
  • Zeisel, John. “The Brain’s Environment System,” in Inquiry by Design: Environment / Behavior / Neuroscience in Architecture, Interiors, Landscape, and Planning. New York: W.W. Norton, 2006.