Inspiring great place-making
Episode 1 of the Secret Life of Buildings can be seen on 4oD (Channel 4's watch again) for the next four weeks.
Worth watching for healthy planning, architecture and urban design.
Secret Life of Buildings
Architecture critic Tom Dyckhoff explores the impact the design of buildings can have on us - on our identity and self-esteem, and on relationships, our chances at school, and even our weight and immune system
Series Summary The Secret Life of Buildings
We spend 85% of our lives inside but rarely, if ever, consider what impact the design and architecture of these spaces have on us. Yet the design of our living space can connect and silently shape our identity, self-esteem, relationships, chances at school, and even our weight and immune system.
Architecture critic Tom Dyckhoff presents a three-part series looking at how architecture affects us at home, work and play, and discovers the secret ways that buildings profoundly affect our behaviour, feelings and identity.
Series 1 | Episode 1 | Home - 8pm Monday 1 August 2011
Dyckhoff explores how the design of our homes works secretly to influence our behaviour. Light, room size, layout, proportion and materials all have measurable effects on our lives.
So why do we accept the smallest windows and the smallest room sizes in Europe? And what can we do about it?
Series 1 | Episode 2 | Work - 8pm Monday 8 August 2011
Our workplace - from schools to offices and factories - should inspire us, motivate us and bring out the best of our abilities. But are these spaces doing just the opposite?
Tom Dyckhoff makes some revelatory and shocking discoveries about how the buildings in which we spend our working life can physically change our brain, and shows why open-plan offices are bad spaces to work in.
Armed with this new knowledge, Dyckhoff meets and challenges pre-eminent architects including Norman Foster and Zaha Hadid to re-evaluate their creations.
He brings them face-to-face with the people who use their buildings every day. He even tries working in their buildings himself while taking part in an experiment to measure the impact on his brain.
What do the results show about working in these spaces? Have we become so obsessed with iconic exteriors that we've stopped thinking about the people inside them?
And is it possible to design a building that makes us feel happy while making us more productive too?
Series 1 | Episode 3 | Leisure - 8pm Monday 15 August 2011
Tom Dyckhoff looks at how we're affected by the design of buildings we visit in our leisure time. He argues that architects are now designing buildings that are all about spectacle and cheap thrills (however expensive to build), and have forgotten the true purpose of 'play': to bring people together for a communal experience.
From shopping malls to football stadiums and museums, Tom discovers how important play is in our lives and argues controversially that, ever since the commercial success of the Guggenheim in Bilbao, the buildings we're being given to play in are damaging us.
With their increasingly crazy, computer-designed looks, they may seem playful, but these individualistic, flashy, narcissistic icons produce an increasingly alienating and fragmented landscape where we feel less joined up and less playful, and make less sense of our world, not more.
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