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We are primarily biological beings whose senses and neural systems have developed over millions of years. And, although we now spend over ninety percent of our lives inside buildings, we understand very little about how the built environment shapes our thoughts, emotions and well-being. Breakthroughs in neuroscience help us to understand the many ways our buildings determine our interactions with the world around us. This expanded understanding can help us design in a way that supports our minds, our bodies and our social and cultural evolution. The symposium, Minding Design: Neuroscience, Design Education, and the Imagination, a collaborative effort between the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture and the Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture, brings together renowned architects Juhani Pallasmaa and Jeanne Gang with scientists Iain McGilchrist and Michael Arbib to explore the implications of these advances on the education of those who design our built world.

The setting for this symposium is Taliesin West, the desert campus of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture, an inspirational context in which to explore the relationship between the mind and designed space. Discussion will address such questions as the implications of neuroplasticity on lifelong learning, how the environment changes the structure of the brain, how the imagination functions, how to best nurture it, and what is important for the designer to know and how best to teach it. This event also celebrates the 75th anniversary of Taliesin West.

Juhani Pallasmaa is Finland’s pre-eminent architectural theorist and practioner. The former director of both the Finnish Museum of Architecture and the department of architecture at Helsinki University of Technology, he is the author or editor of over 30 books including "The Eyes of the Skin: Architecture and the Senses," "The Thinking Hand" and most recently, "The Embodied Image." A member of the jury for the Pritzker Prize since 2009, he will be Scholar-in-Residence at Taliesin West, autumn, 2012.



Architect and MacArthur Fellow Jeanne Gang is the founder and principal of Studio Gang Architects, a Chicago-based collective of architects, designers and thinkers whose projects include Aqua, an 82-story mixed-use high-rise, and SOS Children's Villages on Chicago's South side. Gang earned a B.S. in Architecture from the University of Illinois and a M.Arch with Distinction from Harvard University. She was an International Rotary Fellow, studied at the ETH in Zurich, Switzerland and worked with OMA/Rem Koolhaas in Rotterdam prior to returning to her native Chicago to found her own firm. Gang has taught architecture at the IIT, the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Princeton University and has held the Louis I. Kahn professor chair at the Yale School of Architecture. Studio Gang's work has been exhibited at the Venice Biennale, the National Building Museum, and the Art Institute of Chicago and was honored with an Academy Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Reveal (Princeton Press 2011), is the first monograph to illustrate Studio Gang’s work and creative process. Reverse Effect: Renewing Chicago’s Waterways, was also released in 2011.


Iain McGilchrist is a former Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, a Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, and former Consultant Psychiatrist and Clinical Director at the Bethlem Royal & Maudsley Hospital, London. He is the author of numerous articles, papers and books on diverse subjects including Against Criticism, which articulates his misgivings about the academic analysis of literature that fails to recognize the way we encounter art as unique, embodied beings. In an attempt to better understand the mind/body problem, he studied philosophy, trained in medicine, and became a psychiatrist. His most recent book is The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World.



Michael Arbib is the Director of the USC Brain Project, the Fletcher Jones Professor of Computer Science and a Professor of Biological Sciences, Biomedical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Neuroscience and Psychology at USC. His 40th book is "How the Brain Got Language" (Oxford University Press, 2012). He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture and engaged in planning for the first Annual Meeting of the Academy (www.anfarch.org).





Alberto Pérez-Gómez received his undergraduate degree in architecture and engineering in Mexico City, did postgraduate work at Cornell University, and completed his M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of Essex in England. He taught at universities in Mexico City, Houston, Syracuse, Toronto, the Architectural Association in London, and was Director of the Carleton University School of Architecture before he was appointed Saidye Rosner Bronfman Professor of Architectural History at McGill University. He is the author of numerous books and articles including ,Architecture and the Crisis of Modern Science (MIT Press, 1983) which won the Alice Davis Hitchcock Award, Polyphilo or The Dark Forest Revisited (MIT Press, 1992), Architectural Representation and the Perspective Hinge (MIT Press, 1997) with Louise Pelletier, Questions of Perception with Juhani Pallasmaa and Steven Holl (William Stout Publishers, 2006) and Built Upon Love: Architectural Longing after Ethics and Aesthetics (MIT Press, 2006). He has also published a volume of poetry in Spanish.

Melissa Farling is an architect engaged in the application of neuroscience concepts to architectural settings. In addition to her work at Jones Studio, she is a Research Associate with the Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture. She is the Vice-chair of the AIA Academy of Architecture for Justice (AAJ) Research Committee and a principal investigator on a National Institute of Corrections funded study that examines the impact of views of nature on the stress levels of inmates. A specialist in the design of criminal justice facilities and large-scale public projects, her most recent work is the Mariposa Land Port of Entry in Nogales, AZ. Melissa frequently gives presentations on evidence-based design applications, and is a contributing author to the AIA AAJ Sustainable 2030: Green Guide to Justice and Arizona School Design Primer: The Basic Elements of School Design, by Marlene S. Imirzian.


Sidney K. Robinson is an educator, author, and architect whose teaching at Iowa State University (1973-85), University of Illinois at Chicago (1985-2007), and Taliesin, the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture (1997-present) has combined the responsibilities of practice with the critical examination of scholarship. He has written books and articles on Wright, The Picturesque, American organic architects Alden Dow and Bruce Goff, and historic preservation. He now also works with Taliesin Preservation, Inc. in Spring Green, Wisconsin. He is a member of the American Institute of Architects, Society of Architectural Historians, and has architectural degrees from Columbia University and the University of Michigan. He has lived in Bruce Goff’s Ford house (1949-50) for twenty five years.



Sarah Robinson is an architect who has practiced in the San Francisco Bay Area for the past 17 years. She studied Philosophy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Fribourg in Switzerland before joining the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture where she earned her M.Arch. She was the founding chair of the FLWSA Board of Governors where she remains a member. The research for her book, Nesting: Body, Dwelling, Mind (William Stout Publishers, 2011) inspired this symposium. She currently lives in Pavia, Italy.




Please join us. Seating is limited. Register now to reserve your place.

Symposium only (Friday evening - Saturday) - $95 Open to the public.
Symposium Student Rate (Friday evening - Saturday) - $45 Open to the public.
Dinner Celebration (Saturday evening) - $95 Open to the public.

Friday, November 9, 2012:
5:30 pm Reception, Film and Music

Saturday, November 10, 2012:
9 am - 4 pm Minding Design Symposium
6:00 pm Dinner Celebration

Register through the Taliesin West Bookstore. For more info contact: 75thevents@franklloydwright.org