CAN ARCHITECTURE MAKE US MORE POSITIVE?
Date recorded: 15 January 2018
I think we have to, at some point, concede that if we are to care about others and everybody else’s needs are as important as ours, that we have to give something up. We all give something up in the interest of the common good.Shaun Lockyer
There is no doubt that I feel better when outside, when there is sunshine. There is also no debate that Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a recognized phenomenon. Medically, there is scientific logic and evidence that light promotes the production of neurotransmitters such as melotonin and serotonin thereby regulating sleep/wake cycles and mood respectively. Then what about our artificial, constructed surrounds? Can the spaces we create affect our mood and our biology in a similar way? It seems that this topic can touch on a point of debate in the world of architecture and medicine.
Past, catastrophic failures in architectural social engineering (eg Pruitt-Igoe housing complex) have left many somewhat gun-shy about ambitious social manipulation. More to the point, healthy architecture is seen as expensive and superfluous. In bureaucracy, the end goal is completion of something on budget rather than the long term effect of that something. In other words, the “end user” is the bureaucrat more senior than you, rather than the grieving daughter mounting a desperate bedside vigil at the bedside of their critically ill parent.
So it may follow that if my house is well designed, I will therefore be happy.
Throughout history one might argue that trends were so steadfastly desired that one could not possibly be happy if
More to the point, am I happy because I have a house that is larger than my neighbor, or because it has a pool room, or am I happy because the physical space itself appears to my biology. Where is the line between a psychological response and a physiological response?
Shaun Lockyer is one of Australia’s most prominent architects. He has many years of experience in the profession and an impressive portfolio of work.
Perhaps it is no accident that Shaun’s wife, Julie, is also a psychologist.
Born and raised in South Africa, Shaun Lockyer is now arguably one of Australia’s best architects.
We talk about routine and how to combat it with mindfulness
We are all susceptible to falling into a trap of perceived or actual monotony if not conscious about our daily activity. We are programmed to seek new experiences and stimulation. For some, this does not come naturally. I was interested that someone so undoubtedly at the top of their game, like Shaun, could be experiencing the same sense of “routine” as I was.
Without intending it to, we drifted into a recurring theme in the podcast, that of self-determination and looking after yourself.
Summary of topics covered:
Dealing with daily routine
The hierarchy of needs
What is success and is there an “endpoint”
Can Architecture change your life?
Is budget everything in Architecture?
The physical effects of Architecture
Realising your own fulfilment and values.
Money and happiness. How much is enough.
The psychology of Architecture.
The consequences of high density development.
Considering functional implications of buildings and development.
Funding positive Architecture.
The importance of positive memories.
Improving the quality and sustainability of development and public spaces.
Question: Are you chasing what you want or what you need? Do you want a bigger roof or a roof that doesn’t leak?
Please enjoy this conversation and leave a comment.
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Until next time.
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OTHER NOTES AND LINKS AND STUFF
Background, Context & Reference:
I mention my interview with Dr Walter Wood. All will be revealed but he did, in fact, win a Christmas lights competition 21 years in a row (not 7 as I guessed in this podcast).
http://www.jamesst.com.au/about/ | https://www.facebook.com/jamesstbne/
Notable People Discussed in today’s podcast:
Dr Walter Wood
Related podcasts you might enjoy:
The Undercover Architect spoke with Shaun in 2017: https://apple.co/3d7ZqKZ
All website production and sound design this week by me, again.
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