Mark Alan Hewitt, FAIA, a noted architect and historian, will present a lecture based on his new book, investigating the history of architectural design using the latest discoveries in cognitive neuroscience and psychology. Surveying the history of buildings from the Neolithic period through the present day, the lecture presents evidence that humans employed a largely mimetic, or craft-based cognitive schema for designing buildings prior to the Renaissance, after which drawings, models, and other depictive memory aids became a part of design practice. Focusing on cognitive loops and modes of conception, the lecture recasts the history of representation in terms of the theory of embodied cognition, noting how builders, architects, engineers, and artists have used external affordances in their work. The lecture concludes with observations on the industrial revolution’s role in changing the nature of design from a mimetic-symbolic schema to one largely dependent on logical and algorithmic models based on machine assemblies. Neuroscience indicates that such modes of thinking distance architects from their core creative competencies and result in visually and haptically inferior environments to those designed with more traditional methodologies.
Large Hang Ten Conference Room