Lau is “soul-crushing.” Or at least according to an article in The Atlantic out today looking at the role that architecture plays on mental state. As any of us who have spent an all-nighter in the concrete fortress can confirm, this is definitely true.
The article, which looks at the positive effects of architecture on the brain, uses Lau as an example of just the type of architecture that doesn’t produce these outcomes.
At a particular moment during every tour of Georgetown’s campus, it becomes necessary for the student guide to acknowledge the singular blight in an otherwise idyllic environment.
“Lauinger Library was designed to be a modern abstraction of Healy Hall”: a sentence that inevitably trails off with an apologetic shrug, inviting the crowd to arrive at their own conclusions about how well it turned out. Much of the student population would likely agree that the library’s menacing figure on the quad is nothing short of soul-crushing. New research conducted by a team of architects and neuroscientists suggests that architecture may indeed affect mental states, although they choose to focus on the positive.
These researchers, led by Catholic U. professor Julio Bermudez, looked at the effect that “contemplative architecture” (basically the opposite of Lau, I think) has on the brain, finding a positive impact. And even if they didn’t use Lau in their study, I think we all know what they would have found if they had.
So the next time you’re in Lau and you feel yourself dying a bit inside, know you’re not alone — and there’s even research to back you up.
Photo: Alexander Brown/The Hoya