IFC Guangzhou | China (by Wilkinson Eyre Architects)

Photographs: Christian Richters, Jonathan Leijonhufvud, Will Pryce

Artistic, aesthetic aspirations and theories about form are in tension with the psychological and social aspects of space, but they are not eclipsed by them. The science of psychology provides some parameters for design without prescribing the end result. When two disciplines meet real innovations can be made. Certain elements of environmental determinism can be usefully combined with a flexible system, which truly evolves with the user.

As a result of this review I would like to set out a modest manifesto. If architects are to design for people they should:

(1)be aware that psychologically healthy spaces need to be flexible enough to allow for individual differences, sub cultural differences and changing needs over time, in order to achieve a sense of ‘place’

(2)be aware of certain core, universal human needs while accepting individual and cultural differences,
(3)avoid writing their own subjective scripts for what they perceive to be psychologically healthy buildings or cities, and

(4)if they can not design ideal spaces for peace and happiness, at least aim to minimize psychological and social harm by understanding how a space gains meaning.