Brain scientist helps design better Seattle workspaces

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Brain scientist helps design better Seattle workspaces

An architecture firm in Seattle teamed up with a neuroscientist to come up with better office space design

Seattle architecture firm NBBJ teamed up with molecular biologist John Medina, an expert in brain development, to come up with better office space design.

Ryan Mullenix, NBBJ’s design partner, said he thought some office space left workers helpless.

“The lighting is set, the temperature is set. It’s cold, it’s hot, ”he said. “When we start designing a workplace, we think about how we can put people back in control.”

Medina said closed buildings are not conducive to what we know about the human brain.

“What little we know suggests that if you wanted to design an environment that is directly at odds with what the brain is naturally good at, you could design a building,” he said. From a design perspective, anything you can do would make the brain feel safe. Green plants are a good example; running water is a good example. “

Medina taught the architects about 200 neuroscientific nuggets. He added that these tips have been tested in a laboratory setting so that these design elements are technically explored.

Mullenix said while some of the neuroscientific tips were already part of the architects’ thinking, many of the ideas were new.

“The lower the ceiling, the more you can concentrate,” he recalls. “The higher the ceiling, the more your brain opens and you can think broader.”

The architects used some of the information to aid the design ‘S’, a campus with five buildings and an area of ​​1.2 million square meters to be built in the SoDo neighborhood of Seattle.

They set up balconies on each floor to sit on.

“We love to look outside and see where the predators are and where the prey is,” said Medina, sourcing researcher Jay Appleton. “If we saw a predator, we would like to move away from the view and go straight to a refuge, a cave.”

That’s why architects have also added places of comfort.

They also added places to move around by putting elevators and stairs on the outside of the buildings. Mullenix said this increases movement and community.

Greg Smith of Urban Visions, the developer of the project, said construction of the ‘S’ could begin in 2019. He added that construction won’t begin until an anchor tenant agrees to rent the space.