As a formal field, neuroesthetics is a fairly new area of neuroscience that studies the effects of visual stimuli and aesthetic experiences and examines these effects on the human neurobiological perspective. The field works on the uniform principle that the perception of a stimulus is directly related to the physical properties of this sensory input. Put more simply, it is a way for scientists, architects, and designers to develop interiors equipped with multi-sensory components to awaken our awareness and unconsciousness and encourage engagement – an extremely desirable effect when teaching and learning are the goal – the basic purpose of The Schoolhouse at Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, California.
The schoolhouse was founded as part of the Google School for Leaders, an in-house initiative designed to help the company’s team develop skills and mindsets that are enabled by “the principles of neuroesthetics.” Inside the room, the decor, objects, colors, plants and the interior itself are specifically designed to motivate participants and educators to “move, push, rotate, touch, change and personalize their experiences”.
Compared to conventional conference rooms, the interior of the school building should be changed as required: sofas and plants sit on wheels; Bookshelves rotate; Raise curtains; and a selection of art, design and archaic technology objects are available to all. Everything was chosen to arouse the mind’s curiosity – touch and inspect.
This multi-sensory classroom, designed by Rapt Studio, can also transform itself into a variety of layouts, some open to large group sessions and others allowing a sense of intimacy to force dialogue. In addition, the central space of the schoolhouse can be divided into three with mechanically raised curtains, and four large shelves can be easily moved to change the focus and shape of the study space.
There are times when groups want to break out to discuss certain topics (or to “synthesize” information). The schoolhouse designers also incorporated music, fragrance, an edible outdoor garden, lighting, and temperature to give each of these breakouts spaces their own identifiable personality. The rooms should remove barriers through an appealing feeling and enable “students” to relax in a natural way and thus optimize their learning.
Google and Rapt Studio report The development of the school building was based on feedback and findings from previous small creative installations. However, the success of this more permanent learning space will influence future projects and highlight the “where” and “how” of aesthetic learning.