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12.3. Friendly Surfaces

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(Weitergeleitet von Friendly Surfaces)

One of the components of Biophilic Urbanism is concerned with how attractive we perceive surfaces to be when we are near them. Then, Human-Scale Detail can help to define surfaces that we can connect with. Lastly, Complex Materials offer far more visual interest, hence emotional engagement, than dull industrial materials.


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Problem-statement: The physical characteristics of surfaces affect us in a profound yet subconscious manner. Neuroscience, rather than antiquated and unprovable architectural creeds, should decide on their qualities.


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Discussion: The surfaces of buildings we are exposed to play a determining role in how we experience the environment. There exist ‘friendly’, ‘neutral’, and ‘hostile’ surfaces as judged by our neuro-physiological responses to them. Experiments determine why we feel attracted to touch a particular surface, and are repelled by another. Continuing to apply unprovable architectural diktats on how surfaces have to be finished and shaped ignores this information.


Industrial-minimalist surroundings don’t ‘belong’ to us, because their geometry and surfaces are often contrary to what our sensory system instinctively seeks. But even if we find surfaces aggressive and hostile, we are legally prohibited from modifying them. Yet adapting a surface to human sensibilities (through paint, or owner-created ornament) is the easiest and cheapest way of significantly improving our environment. In the past, people from the most impoverished settings, to those belonging to a social class with power and wealth, injected delight, personal meaning, and serenity into their living spaces. The tool was to create tactile surfaces smooth to the touch, framed by ornament, using emotionally attractive color, etc. Those qualities were eliminated in turning towards early 20th century industrial minimalism.


Designing by satisfying the human senses makes a building more sustainable. A building that is loved by its users because they feel it to be ‘friendly’ will be taken care of and survive normal wear and tear. A blank wall can be interesting if it shows visual texture, but not if that makes it hostile to touch. For example, using smooth slabs of natural materials such as colored marble and travertine creates an intimate bonding with the user up close. (A famous example is the Barcelona Pavilion by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, 1929). This effect can be explained by the new patterns Biophilic Urbanism and Fractal Pattern, from the fossil microorganisms that comprise the rock. In contradistinction, both tactile and visual senses perceive brutalist concrete as hostile, especially if it maintains the texture of the casting forms. Users could scrape their skin from rubbing against it. Its typical gray color triggers subconscious associations with death (decomposing bodies, putrefied food) and pathologies of the eye-brain system that reduce our vision to grayscale (cerebral achromatopsia from a stroke). Smooth concrete allows one to touch it, but this does not change its depressing color. Visually attractive materials when used outside (brick, roughly-finished stone) become tactually hostile when used in interiors.


The ubiquitous use of plate glass curtain walls removes us from our millennial connection to surfaces, and is neutral. Being transparent, a large percentage of the world’s built surfaces simply don’t register in our mind and body. Physical material, if it follows some traditional guidelines, can establish a positive connection with the user. We are aware of the moral, philosophical, and political arguments that supported erecting exclusively hostile surfaces for decades. Even though generations of architects treated those as articles of faith, we do not find any scientific merit in them.


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Therefore:

Shape wall surfaces to engage us on a visceral level so that we feel at home in our environment. Liberate architecture to once again include attractive colors, and shape surfaces that we can experience up close so they are inviting to touch. Beware of an overwhelming reliance on the psychologically neutral glass curtain wall.


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Use Ornament to complement a wall surface that has been made friendly, especially where it connects to other surfaces.…




¹ A good discussion of the findings on the aesthetics of surfaces (and other aspects of the built environment is in Cold, B., Kolstad. A, and Larssaether, S. (2001). Aesthetics, Well-Being and Health: Abstracts on theoretical and empirical research within environmental aesthetics. Oslo: Norsk Form (The Foundation for Design and Architecture in Norway).



SECTION I:

PATTERNS OF SCALE


1. REGIONAL PATTERNS

Define the large-scale spatial organization…

1.1. POLYCENTRIC REGION

1.2. BLUE-GREEN NETWORK

1.3. MOBILITY CORRIDOR

1.4. 400M THROUGH STREET NETWORK

2. URBAN PATTERNS

Establish essential urban characteristics…

2.1. WALKABLE MULTI-MOBILITY

2.2. LEVEL CITY

2.3. PUBLIC SPACE SYSTEM

2.4. BIOPHILIC URBANISM

3. STREET PATTERNS

Identify and allocate street types…

3.1.URBAN GREENWAY

3.2. MULTI-WAY BOULEVARD

3.3. AVENUE

3.4. SHARED SPACE LANE

4. NEIGHBORHOOD PATTERNS

Define neighborhood-scale elements…

4.1. STREET AS CENTER

4.2. PEDESTRIAN SANCTUARY

4.3. NEIGHBORHOOD SQUARE

4.4. NEIGHBORHOOD PARK

5. SPECIAL USE PATTERNS

Integrate unique urban elements with care…

5.1. SCHOOL CAMPUS

5.2. MARKET CENTER

5.3. INDUSTRIAL AREA

5.4. HOSPITAL

6. PUBLIC SPACE PATTERNS

Establish the character of the crucial public realm…

6.1. PLACE NETWORK

6.2. WALKABLE STREETSCAPE

6.3. MOVABLE SEATING

6.4. CAPILLARY PATHWAY

7. BLOCK AND PLOT PATTERNS

Lay out the detailed structure of property lines…

7.1. SMALL BLOCKS

7.2. PERIMETER BLOCK

7.3. SMALL PLOTS

7.4. MID-BLOCK ALLEY

8. STREETSCAPE PATTERNS

Configure the street as a welcoming place…

8.1. STREET AS ROOM

8.2. TERMINATED VISTA

8.3. STREET TREES

8.4. STREET FURNISHINGS

9. BUILDING PATTERNS

Lay out appropriate urban buildings…

9.1. PERIMETER BUILDING

9.2. ARCADE BUILDING

9.3. COURTYARD BUILDING

9.4. ROW BUILDING

10. BUILDING EDGE PATTERNS

Create interior and exterior connectivity…

10.1. INDOOR-OUTDOOR AMBIGUITY

10.2. CIRCULATION NETWORK

10.3. LAYERED ZONES

10.4. PASSAGEWAY VIEW



SECTION II:

PATTERNS OF MULTIPLE SCALE


11. GEOMETRIC PATTERNS

Build in coherent geometries at all scales…

11.1. LOCAL SYMMETRY

11.2. SMALL GROUPS OF ELEMENTS

11.3. FRACTAL PATTERN

11.4. FRAMING

12. AFFORDANCE PATTERNS

Build in user capacity to shape the environment…

12.1. HANDLES

12.2. CO-PRODUCTION

12.3. FRIENDLY SURFACES

12.4. MALLEABILITY

13. RETROFIT PATTERNS

Revitalize and improve existing urban assets …

13.1. SLUM UPGRADE

13.2. SPRAWL RETROFIT

13.3. URBAN REGENERATION

13.4. URBAN CONSOLIDATION

14. INFORMAL GROWTH PATTERNS

Accommodate “bottom-up” urban growth…

14.1. LAND TENURE

14.2. UTILITIES FIRST

14.3. DATA WITH THE PEOPLE

14.4. INCREMENTAL SELF-BUILD

15. CONSTRUCTION PATTERNS

Use the building process to enrich the result…

15.1. DESIGN-BUILD ADAPTATION

15.2. HUMAN-SCALE DETAIL

15.3. CONSTRUCTION ORNAMENT

15.4. COMPLEX MATERIALS



SECTION III:

PATTERNS OF PROCESS


16. IMPLEMENTATION TOOL PATTERNS

Use tools to achieve successful results…

16.1. FORM-BASED CODE

16.2. ENTITLEMENT STREAMLINING

16.3. NEIGHBORHOOD PLANNING CENTER

16.4. COMMUNITY MOCKUP

17. PROJECT ECONOMICS PATTERNS

Create flows of money that support urban quality…

17.1. TAX-INCREMENT FINANCING

17.2. LAND VALUE CAPTURE

17.3. EXTERNALITY VALUATION

17.4. ECONOMIES OF PLACE AND DIFFERENTIATION

18. PLACE GOVERNANCE PATTERNS

Processes for making and managing places…

18.1. SUBSIDIARITY

18.2. POLYCENTRIC GOVERNANCE

18.3. PUBLIC-PRIVATE PLACE MANAGEMENT

18.4. INFORMAL STEWARDSHIP

19. AFFORDABILITY PATTERNS

Build in affordability for all incomes…

19.1. INTEGRATED AFFORDABILITY

19.2. COMMUNITY LAND TRUST

19.3. MULTI-FAMILY INFILL

19.4. SPECULATION TAX

20. NEW TECHNOLOGY PATTERNS

Integrate new systems without damaging old ones…

20.1. SMART AV SYSTEM

20.2. RESPONSIVE TRANSPORTATION NETWORK COMPANY

20.3. AUGMENTED REALITY DESIGN

20.4. CITIZEN DATA