5 principles of human-friendly facades

Amsterdam old town

The principles of humane architecture are nothing new. You have probably heard about most of them and you have almost certainly seen them in number of older buildings. But what makes them more relevant today than ever before is the knowledge about human psychology. It shows that we need to return to these principles and create a new kind of architecture – modern, but human-centered. And designing good facades is one of the key parts of this process.

But first we need to talk about beauty. In the past century under the influence of philosophy and modern art, most of us have adopted the adage that “beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.” But even this belief is slowly falling apart thanks to science. Of course, there are differences in what we find beautiful. But research also shows that, in reality, we are much more similar in our perceptions of beauty. This is because beauty is not just an inexplicable and purely subjective concept. Beauty is also a feeling with which our brain responds to the environment and sensations which help us survive.

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Why facades are critical for a great public space

In the recent years, there has been a lot of discussion about public space. We often hear how important is the right size of a square, the appropriate choice of greenery, comfortable sidewalks for pedestrians or ergonomic design of benches. We hear a little less, however, that one of the most important elements of public space is the buildings that surround and shape it.

Negative space - modern development
Negative space is not enclosed, it forms the background for buildings. Outdated standards often lead to it. Source: Hi Development

There are several reasons for this. First of them might be a practical one. Under today’s conditions and with the current form of the zoning plan in many European cities, the city simply does not have much impact on the appearance of buildings. In some countries, we encounter so-called “form-based” zoning plans. Meaning those that determine the formal appearance rather than the function of buildings in a certain zone, so that the whole neighborhood looks pleasing and unified.

The second reason is the orientation of today’s architecture on individual buildings and their authors, rather than the creation of harmonious neighborhoods. And the third one is the strong legal protection of private property, which results in weak powers of the city in regulating the appearance of buildings.

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Don’t allow remote work to become a one-way saving measure. Reinvest into people.

Working from home as a pleasant change of environment. But it shouldn’t stop us from improving the office.

Be on alert for money leaving the work spaces. With our current knowledge about what humans need to be well and fulfill their potential, we need to invest into our space more than ever.

Millions of people have now experienced what it means to work from home for more than an afternoon. Not only from the position of an employee, but also that of a manager. People who couldn’t have imagined before that their workers will click away in their living rooms are now forced to rethink this mindset.

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Interview For TREND Magazine: Offices After COVID-19

The weekly economy and business magazine TREND has interviewed me about the future of offices after the COVID-19 pandemic. I am sharing it in English with their kind permission.

Photo by bantersnaps on Unsplash

Interviewer: Jozef Ryník
Michal Matlon
Link to article in Slovak:

The experience with remote work gives people and companies the courage to make changes in offices and work processes. Organizations will have to be more flexible if they want to attract people back into the offices, claims Michal Matlon, workplace psychologist, in an interview for TREND.

What effect on the worker can a three month quarantine and home office have? Will it be difficult for them to get back to work?

It depends on the conditions they have at home, as well as the personality of the worker. For many people, home office won’t be suitable, since they have children or a partner at home who distract them. Many don’t have a necessary equipment – a comfortable chair, an ergonomic desk or a large enough computer monitor. Some people also need a clearly separated space for work and so they will see the spillage of work into their home as undesired. These people will look forward to returning to the office.

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