• Dates: August 12-16, 2019
  • Location: NewSchool of Architecture & Design | San Diego, CA

Among the headliners for this summer’s program are distinguished architectural theorist, historian and educator Professor Harry Francis Mallgrave whose many publications include The Architect’s Brain, Architecture and Embodiment and From Object to Experience: the New Culture of Architectural Design; Donald Norman, Director of the Design Lab at UC San Diego, a noted cognitive scientist and usability engineer perhaps best known for his book, The Design of Everyday Things; and Professor Marcos Novak, Director of the transLAB in Media Arts and Technology at the California Nanosystems Institute at UC Santa Barbara, who is one of the pioneers in bringing a transdisciplinary approach to architecture merging ideas of machines, technology, body and space.

The 2019 program theme “Neuroscience for Architecture, Urbanism, and Design” explores the following perspectives:

  • Neuroscience for Architecture: the State of the Art. Collaborative practices between architects and neuroscientists will be highlighted, addressing the question, “How can design professionals and scientists work together effectively and productively?”
  • Emerging Topics in Neuroscience for Architecture (and Beyond). Sessions on New Media and Aesthetic Experience will explore the roles technology and neuro-aesthetics can play in the evidence-based design of the built environment.
  • Neuroscience for Healthy Urbanism. Experts in urban design and public health will discuss opportunities and challenges in applying neuroscientific research to cities and neighborhoods.
  • Neuroscience for Design. What is Human-Centered Design?  How can concepts and practices of neuroscience for architecture inform the world of design? Presenters will speak about issues relating to the design of products, interiors, and media.

Sessions will be led by NewSchool faculty as well as notable collaborators including neuroscientists from UC San Diego and the Salk Institute.  Activities will include lectures, roundtables, panel discussions, and field trips. The fifth day, Friday, August 16, consists of an optional morning tour of the Salk Institute and new evidence-based projects at UCSD.


  • Program Cost:
Registration Deadline Regular VIP*
Super Early Bird 12/3/2018 $2,100 $1,890
Early Bird 5/1/2019 $2,300 $2,070
Standard After 5/1/2019 $2,500 $2,250
7/31/2019 $750

Registration & Payment Deadline: July 31, 2019

*VIP attendees receive a 10% discount (see chart above). VIP attendees include AIA members, ANFA members, ANFA 2018 Conference attendees, NewSchool alumni, NewSchool Neuroscience for Architecture alumni, American Psychological Association (APA) members, Society for Neuroscience (SFN) members, and American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) members.

**Student pricing is for non-credit option and is for students actively enrolled in a degree-seeking program at a university. For credit option available for NewSchool students at standard program tuition rates. Student capacity is limited and early registration is encouraged.

All payments are non-refundable. Exceptions may be granted on a case by case basis due to extenuating circumstances.

For more information, email neuroscience@newschoolarch.edu

View the Frequently Asked Questions

Past Program Information

If you have any questions, contact us at neuroscience@newschoolarch.edu or (619) 684-8867.

The lectures below are part of the Neuroscience for Architecture, Urbanism & Design Summer Intersession Program at NewSchool. All three lectures are free and open to the general public.

Location: NewSchool of Architecture & Design Auditorium

Sergei Gepshtein
Thursday, August 15 at 9:00 AM
What is space? According to the physicist, there is only one space that contains every object in the Universe. And yet, how you experience the space around you is not the same as the space of the physicist. Then again, the notions of space in spatial professions: architecture and urban planning, theater direction and filmmaking, game design and choreography, are different from each other and from the space of physics and the space of your experience. We will look at each of these concepts of space and explore the relationship between them. We will discover that they form a spectrum stretching from objective spaces of physics and neuroscience, to experiential spaces of psychology and phenomenology, to instrumental spaces of human languages and the spatial professions, and finally to imaginary spaces of literature and poetics. To understand these concepts, and how each of them creates a world, we will learn about a number of tools used in various sciences, focusing on sensorimotor psychophysics, systems neuroscience, and experimental phenomenology.

Marcos Novak
Thursday, August 15 at 9:40 AM
What does it mean to enact beauty, at any scale or modality, as a creative act? Rightly or wrongly, objectively or subjectively, by delusion or by fact, those who value beauty seem to create beauty. How might neuroscience and thermodynamics help explain why and how certain civilizations produce beautiful cities and others don’t? Although much scientific progress has been made in establishing that there is more to beauty than mere sensation and subjective preference, the concept of beauty remains in a state of confusion quite similar to that of “chaos” prior to the elucidations the led to the ascent of mathematical chaos theory and the host of related disciplines surrounding it. This contribution presents a clarifying and unifying approach that is both inclusive of the vast scope to which the notion of “beauty” applies and quite precise in its proposition regarding the making of objects, architectures, and cities. Building on concepts from thermodynamics (and on Boltzmann’s resolution of the previously intractable problem of molecular complexity via the statistical notions of entropy and probability) and other methods for approaching seemingly intractable problems, and examining current ideas about neuroaesthetics and theories and practices of poetics (enacted in art, architecture, music, the design of cities, and ultimately, what we may mean by “civilization” itself as a long-term, cumulative creative act), this presentation arrives at a proposition that offers both explanatory and predictive power, and that, with current technologies in AI and machine learning, can be testable at many scales. Various experimental explorations in this vein will be discussed.

Neil Leach
Thursday, August 15 at 10:30 AM
Neil Leach, who has been working within the margins of cutting edge technology in architecture in the 21st century where digital/robotic paradigms afford a new world existence, explores domains of neuroscience to inform architectural thinking and process. In this lecture, he looks at the term homeostasis – as explored by neuroscientist, Antonio Damasio – and considers its implications for the domain of architecture. In so doing, it seeks to makes comparisons between Freud and Damasio, psychoanalysis and neuroscience, in developing a theory of architecture as the extended self.

Start Classes this July! Summer Quarter Begins on July 6, 2020REQUEST INFO