Architectural Psychology Explained

Publication date not available
Image Credit: © Royal Ontario Museum | wvs | Flickr
Image Credit: © Royal Ontario Museum | wvs | Flickr
Architectural psychology can be described as a branch of environmental or ecological psychology. This deals with the psychological processes of the interaction between man and his environment, as for example spatial perception, spatial thinking, orientation behaviour, or spatial experience, territorial behaviour, living requirements and satisfaction, local identity. (1)

When an occupant experiences a building, they immediately become involved in an array of overlapping processes that all contribute to their experience — architectural psychology focuses on such connections and can be applied to all building types.



After my last post entitled Environmental Psychology: What Every Architect Should Ask Themselves, I received various questions from readers wanting to learn more. So, I began to look in the “not-so-usual” places. And then I came across this site at, belonging to a firm specializing in color and light, trend monitoring, product development and architectural design.


Within this site, you will find excellent brief explanations of design psychology and architectural psychology. (I do believe that if you explore the site you will find collections of actual papers — like this one on color and vision)



Architectural psychology is an important field where findings reveal how we can design buildings better for occupants. By understanding more about how occupants experience built form, you will take on a more occupant-centered approach. It is this type of approach that will lead you to more truly innovative architectural designs.



(1) Oberascher, Leonhard.

About the author

Maria Lorena Lehman

Maria Lorena Lehman is a visionary artist, designer, and author focusing on links between environmental design, science, emerging technologies, and human potential. Lehman is founder of MLL Atelier, an art-based architectural design research practice. Maria Lorena Lehman is author of the award-winning book entitled, Adaptive Sensory Environments. She is recipient of the Harvard University Digital Design Prize for the "most creative use of digital media in relation to the design professions". Lehman also creates sculptures and paintings described as "visual poetry of motion that is a new inspiration" by Daniel Smith, the company that creates watercolors for artists worldwide. Maria Lorena Lehman holds the degrees of Master in Design with Distinction from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, and a Bachelor of Architecture, Cum Laude, from Virginia Tech. She is internationally published and in numerous periodicals, including The Architect's Journal, Esquisses Magazine, Architect Magazine and Forbes.