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有时建筑让你头晕目眩?也许是你的脑容量不够了……第1张图片
© Nikola Olic

光看建筑也许会让人感觉很头疼,那么怎么解决这些问题呢?
Just Looking at Buildings Can Give People Headaches—Here's How to Minimize the Problem

由专筑网李韧,王帅编译

建筑有时让你十分头疼。对于建筑专业的人来说,这句话再正常不过了,但是越来越多的研究报告指出,对于许多并没有从事相关行业的人,建筑同样令他们感到痛苦。在《Conversation》杂志发表的一篇有趣的文章中,埃塞克斯大学(University of Essex)心理学教授Arnold J Wilkins谈到,许多建筑线条简单,韵律重复,这些形态会让部分人产生不适与头疼等症状,而这些现象产生来源于城市的整体建筑环境。

Wilkins认为,人类的大脑经过不断进化,更加适应自然世界的图像信息,他在一篇文章中描述了许多方法,这些方法可以用来评估人类大脑对于视觉信息处理的难易程度,即通过计算机模型来表达人类在观看图像信息时的大脑耗氧量。在这种情况下,实验证明,大脑在处理建筑图像时的耗氧量要明显大于处理自然场景。因此,这些额外的氧气消耗则会让人产生身体不适的症状。

那么问题来了,到底是哪些因素造成了城市环境的额外消耗量?Wilkins的研究表明,通过数学中的傅立叶分析(Fourier Analysis)也许能够找到答案,傅里叶的研究在现代通信系统中远近闻名,即数字化传输的零点由模拟的正弦波叠加形成,而这一技术则来源于19世纪早傅里叶的研究。

那么,类似的技术也可以应用于图像之中,因为数学函数能够分解为正弦波,那么图像也可以分解成不同宽度或频率的线条组合,并且它们的原位角度各不相同。

只是,人脸和一些自然图像则需要添加许多小型短线条,但是,建筑却并非如此,建筑线条大多形态较大,并且具有一定的相关性,诸如水平、竖直的墙体或立柱。Wilkins这样描述二者之间的差异:

“实际说来,线宽较大的线条在其整体环境中的对比度较高,而线宽较小的线条的对比度则较低。我们把这种简单的对比成为‘自然法则’,那么,自然界的图像线条能够相互抵消,因为当画面组合在一起的时候,便不会出现诸如建筑般的大面积线条。”

同样,正是这些线条让人们产生身体不适。只是这种状况在建筑设计中愈发普遍,Wilkins认为,一些“地垫、地毯、楼梯、踏板中出现的线条”和室内的其他线条共同出现,而随着建筑的规模愈来愈大,在结构效率和成本的驱动下,重复条纹模式在建筑物本身的结构中越来越普遍。另外,建筑设计的过程有时也会加重这一现象,因为许多艺术图像都来源于线条的运用。

Wilkins最后建议,“在建筑设计中,可以适当地考虑一些自然法则”,在真正解决这一问题之前,建筑师们也许应当仔细思考一下自己的设计策略。

Architecture can give you a headache. That sentence probably doesn't sound surprising for anyone who has dealt with the stress of practicing or studying architecture but, increasingly, psychologists are beginning to understand that you don't need to work on architectural designs for buildings to cause you pain. In an interesting article published by The Conversation, Arnold J Wilkins, a Professor of Psychology at the University of Essex, discusses how discomfort, headaches, and even migraines can be caused or exacerbated by simply looking at certain visual stimuli—with the straight lines and repetitive patterns of urban environments singled out as the main culprit.
As Wilkins explains, our brains have evolved to process images of the natural world. His article describes a number of ways to measure how hard the brain works to process visual information, from modeling a simple neural system on a computer to measuring the oxygen usage of people's brains when they are looking at images. In both cases, the evidence suggests that the brain works harder to process images of buildings than it does to process natural scenes. In some cases, this extra workload can cause physical discomfort, pain, and even migraines.
But what is it about urban environments that causes this extra workload? Wilkins' research suggests that the answer can be found in a mathematical tool known as Fourier Analysis. Fourier's work is arguably most well-known in the context of modern communications: the "ones and zeros" of digital transmissions are actually composed of a superposition of smooth analog sine waves, a technique that has its origins in Fourier's work in the early 19th century.
However, a similar technique can be applied to images. Just as any mathematical function can be broken down into sine waves, any image can be broken down into a superposition of striped patterns of different widths (or "frequencies") and placed at different angles.
However, while a human face and other natural images might require the addition of many sets of very narrow stripes, the Fourier breakdown of an image of a building is likely to be dominated by a small number of very dominant stripe patterns—typically, horizontal stripes of the floors and vertical stripes of walls and columns. Wilkins describes this difference like so:
“In nature, as a general rule, components with low spatial frequency (large stripes) have a high contrast and components with high frequency (small stripes) have a lower contrast. We can call this simple relationship between spatial frequency and contrast a 'rule of nature.' Put simply, scenes from nature have stripes that tend to cancel each other out, so that when added together no stripes appear in the image.”
It's the impact of these monotonous stripe patterns that are the source of headaches and other problems discussed. And unfortunately, such patterns are becoming increasingly common in architectural design. Wilkins singles out "stripes on doormats, carpets, and escalator stair treads" alongside other interior finishes, but as building designs become larger and more driven by structural efficiency and cost, repetitive stripe patterns are becoming more prevalent in the very structure of buildings themselves. An architect's instinct can also sometimes exacerbate this problem, as they seek to express this structure artistically.
In his conclusion, Wilkins suggests that "perhaps it’s time for the rule of nature to be incorporated into the software that is used to design buildings and offices." But before this happens, perhaps architects can simply consider this phenomenon more carefully in their designs.
        
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