Author: Sally Augustin

Places That Work: Mayan Temples

We get definite psychological benefits from feeling a sense of awe, so says recent research by Rudd, Vohs, and Aaker. Places that work can make us feel that rare emotion, as these researchers learned. In their study of people “who…

Places That Work: Rocking Chairs in Waiting Areas

Air travel is a miserable experience these days and giving travelers some sense control makes the process somewhat less onerous. Some U.S. airports, for instance, provide rocking chairs for waiting passengers. These rockers offer another seating option to people, and…

Places that Work: Soundcape

In Orlando’s Peabody Hotel’s public spaces, a positive experience is created by the sounds of water flowing and splashing. Gently moving water makes us comfortable. Its rhythmic, primal sounds soothe away the everyday stresses of modern life. Though we have…

Places that Work: U.S. Botanic Gardens

The United States Botanic Garden in Washington DC is a place that works because the greenhouses there stimulate all our senses. Transmitting experiences of a place through several senses is a central tenet of biophilic design. And at the Botanic…

Places That Work: Hearths

Even in our high tech age, hearths continue to enhance our experience of the rooms where they appear. The psychological power of a glowing, cracking fire safely tucked into a generous niche endures even though we no longer depend on…

Places that Work: A Generative Space

Wilson Hospice House, designed by Perkins + Will, won the 2011 Caritas Project’s Generative Space Award. It is definitely a space that works. The recognition the hospice has received is appropriate because its design has a special psychological effect on…

Places That Work: The Power of Skylights

The Arthur M. Sackler Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC is almost entirely under ground, yet this is a place that works. It was designed by Jean-Paul Carlhian of Shepley, Bulfinch, Richardson and Abbott and opened in 1987.…