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What is mindfulness (architectural terms)

Updated: Aug 3, 2020

Have you ever found yourself facing such a beautiful building that you felt like time just stopped? Like there was nowhere else you needed to be, no need to think about tomorrow, no urge to analyze, just letting yourself be amazed by the beauty of the piece in front of you.

Design, Art, Urbanism and Architecture are all disciplines that can create masterpieces that give you this transcendent state of being. A brief feeling of presence, like instantly, all your troubles and stresses disappear.

« The point of power is always in the present moment »

There is a difference between short-term satisfaction (having goods) and long-term satisfaction (constant state of being). The reason why burn-outs, addictions, stress and disease keep increasing is mainly because we live in a society that encourages short term happiness instead of long term happiness. We get excited by a new tv screen, a new car, but those are all based on short term dopamine release.


Our brain can release different substances. The two substances that divide short-term and long-term satisfaction are called dopamine and serotonin. With every exciting event happening trough your day, you release dopamine. Dopamine is a happy hormone, one that makes us feel good. Dopamine doesn’t last, but we remember it and want it again. This can be trough a good meal, through a new car, through a date,..: all short-term actions. One of the strongest short kick satisfaction is sugar, it activates a very strong dopamine circuit. What is the result of this constant search of dopamine release? You end up waiting for the next dopamine release, so you are only happy and only feeling satisfied when this happens. You never really reach your destination, always looking out for the next reach.

On the other hand, the substance we release when we are really feeling good on the inside, is serotonin. High levels of dopamine block the release and transport of serotonin. In the serotonin state of mind, you are satisfied with the present moment, and your happiness and feelings are not dependent of external factors or goods.

« When meditating, you can release the same hormone than while staring at breathtaking Art »



When you meditate, you naturally release serotonin and learn how to be happy with what is, you learn to enjoy the present moment regardless of the circumstances around you. That is why improving society, reducing stress, create a better tomorrow starts with taking care of ourselves so we can feel compassion, love, empathy, …

Now imagine we could live in a world where the architecture that shapes our days could provoque a release of serotonin? Imagine having spaces where we can enjoy the present moment regardless of any conditions?

That is where mindfulness and architecture/design speak the same language. We need to make, design places that encourage and integrate these kind of meditative states.

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