Architecture and Neurotechnology: The Relevance of Neuroscience

Firas Safieddine

This essay is the first in a series, at the intersection of architecture, neuroscience and technology. Within such a design-oriented context, the first question that stands out is: Why neuroscience? This unfolds into broader territories, posing questions such as: Why is that field of scientific research relevant to a discipline such as architecture?

In the interest of addressing those questions, two objects will be studied. On the one hand, responsive architecture is the object of examination in this piece. On the other, computational neuroscience is the branch of neuroscience that will be looked at. Eventually, both territories intersect in technology, mainly computation. In the following lines, I first attempt to skim through a history of neuroscience and then demonstrate the main architectural problematic and the relevance of neuroscience in that context.

“The biology of man had evolved to give modern man a whole new set of nerves” Loos, 1921

Dealing with the brain as a special object dates back to the pharaohs; they had a term for it, since they were able to diagnose brain damage back in the 1700s BC. However, they scooped brains out of the dead before mummification, since they considered the heart to be the center of intelligence. Throughout recent history, working with the brain, and how we understand it, has been characterized by three methods: biological approaches, chemical approaches, and, finally, electrical approaches, which unlock a whole new world of comprehending and interacting with the brain.

The Generator © Canadian Center for Architecture

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