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Human Scale

The way we experience a building, an interior space or an outdoor area is related to our perception of space and scale.

Our senses provide us with our own understanding of space. Likewise, our bodies are fundamental to forming our understanding of scale. Intuitively, we identify the way our human bodies relate to different objects in space. Consequently, we perceive scale based on our own physical dimensions in relation to our surroundings1.

Different emotions and reactions can be triggered by the character of a space. Some areas feel confining and other areas feel ample based on our sense of space in relation to our bodies2. Thus, it is important for any project to have an appropriate human scale.

It is imperative to consider the human anatomy when designing architecture3. The human body provides a basic design module. It is an essential unit when designing environments for human activities. It guides the way individual architectural elements work. This is true of any structure, interior space, or exterior area designed to serve people. Thus, open, narrow, or spacious areas require an appropriate human scale to them in order to achieve functional and engaging architecture.

© MetropolitanmomentuM

1: Victor Papanek. Design for Human Scale (New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, 1997).
2: Tonino Griffero. Atmospheres: Aesthetics of Emotional Spaces (United Kingdom: Routledge, 2010).
3: Cecilia Lewis Kausel. Design & Intuition: Structures, Interiors & the Mind (United Kingdom: WIT Press, 2011).

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