Architecture, Sustainability + the Emotional Brain

Ann Sussman AIA

Architect, Author, Researcher
Ann Sussman Headshot

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

at 5:00 pm

325 Behrakis

Ann will talk about how the human brain is a social engagement system, and why this matters for sustainability. She’ll show brief videos highlighting how we’re hardwired to ‘approach’ or ‘avoid’ buildings in our environment without conscious control. She’ll present eye-tracking studies indicating that buildings along Newbury Street will always be easier for the brain to take in than the new glass towers in the Seaport district and why this matters for sustainability and creating healthy habitat for people. New glass towers in Boston’s Seaport District are hard for people to look at and get comfortable being around, unlike Boston’s old buildings in Back Bay, which feel more human, and help us feel connected and in a place.


Ann Sussman, AIA, an architect, author and researcher is passionate about understanding how buildings influence people emotionally. Her book, Cognitive Architecture, Designing for How We respond to the Built Environment (2015), co-authored with Justin B. Hollander, won the 2016 Place Research Award from the Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA). A frequent speaker, she has given more than 60 lectures at regional conferences, colleges and universities, including, in 2017, keynoting architecture events in Houston, Cincinnati and Nashville.