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Environmental Psychology - Part One

Atmosphere and architecture are the main topics in MESH architectural office research. -Environmental psychology is one of the most important aspects of analyzing the atmosphere in architecture.

Before environmental psychology, experimental-laboratory paradigms were used.

Environmental psychology’s origins as a branch of academic psychology which includes debates that have been going on since the 1960s. This attitude is in the field of behavioral science knowledge in North America and is discussed under the same title.

Social sciences

Social scientists focused on the Physical Environment, and related issues, the interplay between physical conditions of the environment and behavioral patterns, characteristics of the environment, and environmental behaviors. Environmental psychology studies could now examine conditions like the relation between Committing a crime and where it takes place. 

In parallel with Social scientists, architects and urban designers had begun to consider the environment and its context impact on humans and architecture. They were more Curious about the relation between environment, humans, and architecture. Due to the criticism context which was a legacy of Modern architecture. Research needs in these fields were diverse from the beginning.

In this manner, The demolition of the Port Igoe residential complex became a symbol for this theoretical architectural transition.

Architectural historian Charles Jencks cites that much-seen dynamiting as the moment 

“Modern architecture died”. This low-income housing complex was built in slums with poor social and physical conditions. Soon the complex had become internationally infamous for its poverty and crime. Living in this complex was a frequent experience of crime scenes. These conditions led to the demolition of Pruitt Igoe.

Humans and the environment

Such developments prompted experts and scientists to study various environmental factors, the interactions between individuals and their surroundings, the atmosphere and architecture, and so on. They held meetings during the 1960s and 1970s to study those factors. The Edra Conference – the Organization for Environmental Design Studies – was one of the most influential of these sessions, during which scientists, architects, sociologists, and psychologists presented various articles.

It is widely accepted that The establishment of the discipline of environmental psychology can be attributed to those gatherings and Seminars. There is a significant correlation between Environmental Behavior Studies (EBS) and laboratory researches. The results implicate the basis for more Seminars and challenges. Another noticeable effect of this series of conferences and summits was Formation of the Man–Environment Relations Association (MERA) in Japan. And other professional groupings: the International Association of Applied Psychology (IAAP) launched a new Division of Environmental Psychology; followed by the International Association for the Study of People in their Physical Surroundings (IAPS), and the People and Physical Environment Research Organization (PaPER) in Australia and New Zealand. 

روانشناسی محیط

Behavioral developments

An important consideration to justify is that New researches have led to the emergence of new branches and trends in psychology that have paid more attention to the environment, habitat, and environmental psychology. Behaviorism, the study of perception, and ecological approaches were among these trends. One enormous challenge in advancing this research was how to put different sciences and techniques in a closer relationship with each other to study. To study the environment and its relationship with individuals, the regulation of this relationship and obtaining the desired environmental and physical qualities, with ease and scientific accuracy. 

The 70s can be considered the beginning of environmental psychology, and we can consider the 80s the peak of its development.

The work of researchers in environmental psychology is often analytical. Some of the main features of environmental psychology researches are :Using field experience in analyzing and emphasizing the needs of users, focusing on contemporary situations versus getting ideas from the past, or paying attention to the cosmos, emphasizing the axial process, inspiring from humanities that focuses on people, their insecurities and hopes. Including political science and social sciences and finally giving an important role to the environment in shaping and characterizing social behaviors.

On the other hand, it could be said that Environmental designers have a pragmatic strategy and performance-based approach. The environmental design seeks to center-specific insights and values in the design process. And it is a product-oriented process that focuses on objective aspects of production. Some designers focus on aesthetic issues, form processing, and form typology.

Environmental design and environmental psychology research

It must be conceded that the difference in perspective and approach between environmental design and environmental psychology research has created a gap between these two. Meanwhile, the design process deals with the planning, design, construction, and functional evaluation of the artificial environment. On the other side, the behavioral research processes deal with the transactions between people and places, for instance, domains, public and private, inside and outside, privacy, comfort, mental health, etc.

It may be inferred that the behavioral studies deal with what is there while the design process with the requirements. To reiterate, Every place that design produces, environmental behavior research deals with in some ways. Therefore, it can be said that places like, Hence, rooms, homes, hospitals, schools, prisons, neighborhoods, social realms of urban minorities, geographical areas, or different spatial systems can be considered as different topics that environmental psychology focuses on.

The distance between behavioral processes and design processes in the production and interpretation of places can be illustrated in the following diagram:

طراحی محیطی و روانشناسی

Atmosphere and architecture in Sharif Architecture Office

The importance of environmental psychology issues and its interactions in the quality of space and user experience is one of the issues in the design process of Sharif Architecture Office. So far, MESH has tried to create the atmosphere by examining the spatial experiences of users and psychological studies related to each project in the design process. The architectural atmosphere is created in parallel with answering the physical needs of each space.