“The Primal Pattern” for Architecture Worldwide? the Face

screen shot 2019-01-22 at 9.48.36 pmWhat connects us to other people? One commonality: we share an evolutionary path that gave us very similar internal templates. That’s what the ‘House Experiment’ demonstrates so well. Asked to “draw a house as if they’re five years old,” people draw almost identical images, without looking at anyone else’s work, no matter where they come from. The drawings above are by eight people, born and/or raised in eight different countries on three different continents.

screen shot 2019-01-24 at 5.40.08 pmCultural preferences sometimes creep in, such as in the house above, by someone from Morocco, Northern Africa – but, most often they do not. In fact, it’s astonishing to see two people, at different events, coming from opposite sides of the planet, draw nearly identical houses, as below:

screen shot 2019-01-24 at 5.42.09 pm

How can this be? It goes to show that, no matter our background, we are more the same than we realize and what we most like to see, what most grabs our attention – is pre-set; a version of the face, the pre-eminent pattern for a social species’ development and survival.


So, no surprise then, to find the primal pattern happily greeting everyone at the busy International Terminal at JFK airport in NYC – fact is, not only is it what we all draw, it’s also, really, the only choice, worldwide, for drawing us all in.


Data collected from following lecture venues: Greenbuild/Europe in Berlin, Germany; In U.S., Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT); Greenbuild/International, in Chicago; Boston Architectural College (BAC); Boston Society of Architects (BSA); Stantec in Boston, MA; EYP in Boston, MA; Jacobs in Boston, MA; U.S. Dept. of State, Overseas Building Operations, in Washington DC; Neuroscience for Society meet-up, MIT, in Cambridge, MA; Discovery Museum, Acton, MA; SNEAPA, planning conference in Hartford, CT; CNU planning conference in Savannah, GA; Yale School of Architecture in New Haven, CT; Fitchburg State University (FSU) in Fitchburg, MA.


For more on the “Primal Pattern”:

The “Primal Pattern” for Architecture is in Us

Thanks to archnewsnow.com for linking to this post.

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7 Responses to “The Primal Pattern” for Architecture Worldwide? the Face

  1. Pingback: Architecture that grabs us – on the supermarket shelf! | The Genetics of Design

  2. Pingback: Faces: The Key to Making Happy Places | The Genetics of Design

  3. Pingback: Do the ‘Fish Experiment’ to ‘See’ What We’re Built to See | The Genetics of Design

  4. Thanks for letting us know.


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