How does human scale and proportion influence the built environment?

Human scale and proportion should always influence the built environment. Whether it's the space of a house, a public building or space, or a large infrastructure project, human scale always plays a factor. In a house, one designs so that a human has a comfortable space to stand and move through rooms. What is considered 'comfortable' in a home may differ from room to room. When designing for a public space, one must consider the overall flow of humans through the space, where they may gather, and how they will interact. A designer should design appropriately for the desired use of the space - a train station would differ greatly from a public park. I would also argue that when designing a space, one must consider the process of building the project. Humans are required to construct, handle, and operate machines responsible for building. This in turn influences a designer's decision.

How does the built environment influence human occupation?

Built environments can create senses of compression or space. Oftentimes lower ceilings, and smaller openings create a more private, personal space. Larger open spaces, allow the space for more humans, and encourages interaction. A designer should consider the feelings humans experience in differing spaces so that the desired uses correspond to a human's impression.

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  1. How does human scale and proportion influence the built environment?

    Designers must always address the importance of human scale and portion when building environments. There are several factors to consider - function, location, materials, and the user. A designer should strategically think about the environment for the built space as it directly relates to size and human scale. Will the space be outside or inside? The answer to this question impacts how large or small the space needs to be, how humans will move throughout it and a desired comfort level. FOr example, the immense scale of Grand Central Station allows millions of people to commute daily in a seemingly orchestrated flow of traffic. The cathedral-like ceilings, massively open floor plan with specifically spaced train entrances and exits provide a sense of community in transition. Conversely, the shops and restaurants establish some privacy for intimate conversation in smaller areas. in contrast, an outdoor, elevated train station in Rochester must serve commuters, but in a relatively smaller scale, fewer areas of privacy and more concern for inclement weather. Materiality is also a concern in scale and proportion. Designers think about material's flexibility, durability and even aesthetics for their structures because they will help to inform the users comfort or discomfort (if needed). Lowering the ceiling will create a cramped, compressed space whereas adding movable partitions or using glass will establish an open environment which will feel more relaxed. Designer should consider who their client is and who will be utilizing the space (if different people). For example, Build A Bear can have somewhat lower ceilings to create a cozy store for their mainly young clients. The merchandise also needs to be at eye level and arm reach of children for easy access. Yet a mega-sized Gap (for men) can utilized a more open floor plan with clothing in higher places and multi-layered shelves. The environment's purpose, location, materials and user/client are crucial factors to consider when establishin human scale and proportion as they help to create different feelings when in a space.

    How does the built environment influence human occupation?

    The built environment greatly impacts how humans move through and occupy a space. These can be achieved with varying ceiling height, movable partitions, reflective vs. opaque materials and overall size of the space, just to name a few. Tall walls and ceiling, an open floor plan and plenty of windows to bring in natural light will create a welcoming space people will be able to move through with ease and comfort. Conversely, many walls used to delineate smaller areas, short ceilings and lack of natural light will establish discomfort and constraint in movement. People are more apt to interact with one another in a spacious environment vs. cramped space, however, a benefit to a smaller, more defined space is the opportunity to have privacy and isolate yourself from others, when desired.