2022 Bootcamp

bootcamp

ANFA is offering an intensive, 3-day, hands-on Bootcamp -- Design, Space, Motion -- that is specifically tailored for Architecture and Design practitioners and researchers who wish to utilize knowledge from the fields of Neuro- and Cognitive Science to inform and enrich their design practice.

The focus of the Bootcamp is how to improve human-centered design by incorporating information about how the brain processes: (1) dimensionality and proportion, (2) motion and navigation, and (3) embodied/enactive/embedded experiences.
It will take place on the UC San Diego campus. You can download our flyer with information on accommodations and general topics.

Participation will be limited to 60 individuals. We will be reviewing Applications to Attend and approving them on a rolling basis, after which we will send a link for registration. There is an Early-bird discount for registration before July 24, and after July 24, the full fee increases by $100. There are reduced hotel rates available to participants on a first-come, first-served basis. Apply to Attend the Bootcamp

Bootcamp Agenda

Wednesday evening, September 21, 7PM – Optional getting-acquainted dinner

Day 1 | Thursday, September 22

8:00 Breakfast
9:00-9:30 Welcome and Introduction to Neuroscience for Architecture - Upali Nanda
9:30-10:15

Recent studies of human perception and action suggest new ways of understanding how the space of the built environment (“architectonic space”) is organized in terms of specific possibilities of experience. We will review this work with an eye for new methods of design. These emerging methods will reveal boundaries between the partitions of space that allow for different possibilities of action (affordances) and for different possibilities of perception, including proportional properties of objects and their phenomenal identities.

Sergei Gepshtein is a scientist at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla and an adjunct professor at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. He works in the areas of perceptual psychology, systems neuroscience and computational neuroscience. His research interests include perception of depth and movement, perceptual organization, planning of multi-step actions, and dynamics of cortical neural networks.

Recent representative publications
  • Gepshtein S et al (2022). Spatially distributed computation in cortical circuits. Science Advances 8 (16), 1-19, doi: 10.1126/sciadv.abl5865
  • Proietti T & Gepshtein S (2021). Architectural proportion from an empirical standpoint. Journal of Interior Design 47(1), 11-29, doi: 10.1111/joid.12210
  • Mallgrave HF & Gepshtein S (2021). The interface of two cultures. Intertwining 3, 46-73, ISBN: 9788869771224
  • Gepshtein S et al (2020). A perceptual scaling approach to eyewitness identification. Nature Communications 11 (3380), 1-19, doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-17194-5
  • Gepshtein S (2020). Species of space. Architectural Design 9 (6), 36-41, doi: 10.1002/ad.2629
  • Pawar AS et al (2019). Mechanisms of spatiotemporal selectivity in cortical area MT. Neuron 101(3), 514-527, doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2018.12.002
  • Gepshtein S & Snider J (2019). Neuroscience for architecture: The evolving science of perceptual meaning. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 116 (29), 14404-14406, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1908868116
  • Gepshtein S (2019). On some paradoxes of current perceptual theories. In Bianchi I & Davies R (Eds.) Paolo Bozzi's Experimental Phenomenology, pp. 56-63, ISBN: 0815378467
  • Zharikova A et al (2017). Paradoxical perception of object identity in visual motion. Vision Research 136, 1-14, doi: 10.1016/j.visres.2017.04.008
Break
10:30-11:15

Proportion has long played a central role in the theory and design of architecture. In the mid-twentieth century the role of proportion was questioned, and proportional thinking got marginalized. Recent work in the discipline of neuroscience for architecture has reopened this domain of inquiry. In this lecture we will review new empirical studies of architectural proportion that begin with the fundamental notion that the observer is moving freely in the built environment rather than scrutinizing two-dimensional drawings.

Tiziana Proietti, Ph.D., is an architect and educator. She is Professor at the C. Gibbs College of Architecture of the University of Oklahoma and director of the Sense-Base Laboratory. She earned her doctorate from the Department of Architecture of the Sapienza University of Rome in collaboration with the Delft University of Technology. Her doctoral dissertation concentrated on the theory of proportion in architecture. Together with the scientist Dr. Sergei Gepshtein (Salk Institute for Biological Studies in San Diego), she is developing an interdisciplinary program of research to bridge neuroscience and architectural design and to test long-standing hypotheses about the human response to architectural proportion.
11:15-12:15

This practicum is concerned with empirical tools for investigating human ability to discriminate properties of tectonic elements that include relations among distances, sizes, and proportions. We will perform a series of practical exercises using physical objects: innovative proportional instruments developed by the Dutch architect Hans van der Laan. Our goal will be to register how perception of objects varies continuously along the observer’s path of movement. We will concentrate on how architectonic spaces are organized in terms of where certain proportional properties of these objects are accessible to the observer.
Lunch
1:15-2:00

Human spatial navigation is a pervasive behavior involving real environments as well as those imagined or recalled in our minds. For practical reasons, this behavior has been almost exclusively studied in severely constrained conditions that promote disembodiment. Increasingly, however, more natural behaviors are dissected in more ecologically valid settings. The dynamic experience of spatial navigation in the individual may be dissected in several ways. Here we will focus on three aspects, which I call Search, Recognize, Respond. Our goal is to identify and describe opportunities for evaluating a person's experience while navigating real environments.

Eduardo R. Macagno is a neuroscientist and Distinguished Professor at UC San Diego. He is best known for research on synaptic circuit formation in the developing nervous system. Currently, his lab employs biometric devices in real and virtual environments to study the interaction of normal and neurologically impaired subjects with the built environment, particularly in navigation and wayfinding. He was President of the Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture in 2010-11.
2:00-4:00 Group project: Introduction
Break
6:15-7:00 Excursion to the Salk Institute for Autumnal Equinox
7:00 Dinner

Day 2 | Friday, September 23

8:00 Breakfast
9:00-9:45

‘Space Syntax’ is the name given to a set of theories about the way that the built environment is related to social and economic life. It also refers to a set of methods developed to represent and quantify environments to open these to study. In this talk I will give an overview of these theories and methods as well as some of the key findings of this research. I will then describe some of the implications of these findings for the relationship between human cognition and architectural design. Learning goals: Students will understand how to analyze tge social logic of a space.

Alan Penn is Professor of Architectural and Urban Computing at University College London.He is a former Dean of the Bartlett faculty of the Built Environment (2009-19), he is a founding director of Space Syntax Ltd, a UCL knowledge transfer spin out with a portfolio of over 100 applied projects per year, including whole city master plans, neighborhood development plans and individual buildings. He is a board member of UCL Consultants Ltd. He is a member of the Space Syntax Laboratory within The Bartlett School of Architecture. He was the Chair of the Architecture, Built Environment and Planning sub-panel 16 and a member of Main-panel C for the Research Excellence Framework 2014. He is Principal Investigator on the £5m five year EPSRC funded Digital Economy Hub: Urban Dynamics Lab. He is a founding trustee of the Shakespeare North Trust, a charity which is constructing a new Shakespearian theater and educational center in Prescot outside Liverpool. He is currently serving as Chief Scientific Advisor to the UK Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

His research focuses on understanding the way that the design of the built environment affects the patterns of social and economic behavior of organizations and communities. How is it that architecture and urban design matter for those that inhabit them? How is it that the spatial design of cities and neighborhoods leads to the generation of cultural and community identity? Under what conditions do vital and thriving creative communities occur, and under what conditions does crime and urban malaise develop? In order to investigate these questions he has developed both research methodologies and software tools. These are known as ‘space syntax’ methods. Current research includes the development of agent-based simulations of human behavior, the development of spatio-temporal representations of built environments, investigations of urban spatial networks and the application of these techniques in studies of urban sustainability in the broadest sense, covering social, economic, environmental and institutional dimensions.

Recent papers:
  • Charalambous, E., Hanna, S., & Penn, A. (2021). Aha! I know where I am: the contribution of visuospatial cues to reorientation in urban environments. Spatial Cognition and Computation. doi:10.1080/13875868.2020.1865359
  • Penn, A. R., & Turner, J. S. (2018). Can we identify general architectural principles that impact the collective behavior of both human and animal systems?. Philosophical Transactions B: Biological Sciences. doi:10.1098/rstb.2018.0253
  • Penn, A. R. (2018). The city is the map: exosomatic memory, shared cognition and a possible mechanism to account for social evolution. Built Environment. doi:10.2148/benv.44.2.162
9:45-10:45 Practicum 2
Break
11:00-11:45

Part 1
Andrea A. Chiba is currently a Professor with the Department of Cognitive Science and in the Program of Neuroscience at the University of California at San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA. Her laboratory, Chiba Laboratory, is focused on gaining an understanding of the neural systems and principles underlying aspects of learning, memory, affect, and attention, with an emphasis on neural plasticity. Her laboratory team is highly interdisciplinary, using a variety of neurobiological, neurochemical, neurophysiology, computational, robotic, and behavioral techniques. She has been active in the U.S. Brain Initiative. She is also the Co-Director and the Founding Science Director of the Temporal Dynamics of Learning Center, an NSF Science of Learning Center at the University of California, San Diego.,Dr. Chiba and her team were awarded an NSF BRAIN Initiative Award for their work on the neural basis of prosociality and interoception.

Part 2
What key interactions between the organization of an environment and routes taken through an envIronment serve to facilitate memory for experiences and locations? For both rodents and primates, the encoding of memory, particularly episodic memory, is built upon the framework by which brain systems register location and orientation in the environment. The same system is key to the emergence of conceptual knowledge, imagination, and design and is adaptive to the spatial and temporal scale relevant to behavior and cognition. Thus, architectural design has a direct relationship to the type and strength of memories that are formed and this can be understood better by reference to the forms by which major environmental features are encoded in brain activity patterns.

Doug Nitz completed his PhD at UCLA studying the neurophysiology of REM sleep before turning to the problem of characterizing neural representations contributing to the brain’s cognitive map at the University of Arizona, The Neurosciences Institute, and UCSD.Primarily using multiple single neuron recordings with microwire systems, Nitz has studied and discovered unique forms of neural representations for location in an environment, axis of travel, and route progress. This effort has led him to contribute novel findings concerning the functional role of the subiculum, retrosplenial cortex, posterior parietal cortex, and secondary motor cortex in navigation, action planning, and spatial cognition. His current work explores the neural basis for integration of trajectories taken through an environment as well as the encoding of recurring elements of environmental structure. He currently serves as Chair of the Cognitive Science Department at UCSD and works as Chief of Scientific Review for the Sanford Institute for Empathy and Compassion at UCSD.
11:45-12:15 Practicum 3
Lunch
1:15-2:00

Using a variety of powerful experimental approaches, and focusing efforts on the information processing capacities of the brain, we have begun to develop an empirical understanding of how design features influence the acquisition, organization and use of information present in the built environment. Based on this understanding, we argue that selective pressures over the course of human evolution have yielded a visual brain that has highly specific and tunable organizational properties for representing key statistics of the environment. A full understanding of the relationships between brain and visual environmental statistics may lead to novel design principles.
2:00-3:30 Excursion to Fallen Star (Part of UC San Diego’s Stuart Collection)
Break
3:45-6:00 Projects
Break
7:00 Dinner at UC San Diego Faculty Club

Day 3 | Saturday, September 24

8:00 Breakfast
9:00-9:45

This lecture covers the core scientific ideas of Embodied and Enactive cognition, explaining how cognition was designed to exploit our body-mind situatedness in an ecologically natural environment. It emphasizes that we are agents and sensemaking is grounded in sensory-motor engagement of the world. For architects this is relevant to understanding a theory of multi-sensory ‘visibility’, architectural legibility, semiology, and more narrowly: visual rhythm, visual complexity, situation awareness, cognitive efficiency and effectiveness, agency and feel - atmosphere.

David Kirsh is Professor and past chair of the Department of Cognitive Science at UCSD. He received a D. Phil. from Oxford University, did post-doctoral work at MIT (AI Lab), held research and visiting professor positions at MIT, Stanford, and the Bartlett School of Architecture UCL. He has written on situated and embodied cognition, how environments can be shaped to simplify/extend cognition, and how space, external representations, our bodies and even manipulable objects become interactive tools for thought.

His ideas about cognition include these propositions: (1) interacting with tools changes the way we think and perceive — tools when manipulated, are soon absorbed into the body schema, and this absorption leads to fundamental changes in the way we perceive and conceive of our environments; (2) we think with our bodies not just with our brains; (3) we know more by doing than by seeing —there are times when physically performing an activity is better than watching someone else perform the activity, even though our motor resonance system fires strongly during other person observation; (4) there are times when we literally think with things.He is the current President of the Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture, past co-Director of the Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination and past Adjunct Professor at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance.
9:45-11:45 Projects
Lunch
12:45-3:15 Complete projects
3:15-4:45 Excursion TBD
4:45-6:15 Project presentations
6:15-6:30 Recap
End

Faculty

thomas
Thomas D Albright is Professor and Conrad T Prebys Chair at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, where he joined the faculty in 1986. His laboratory seeks to understand how visual perception is affected by attention, behavioral goals, and memories of previous experiences.
chiba
Andrea A. Chiba is currently a Professor with the Department of Cognitive Science and in the Program of Neuroscience at the University of California at San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA. Her laboratory, Chiba Laboratory, is focused on gaining an understanding of the neural systems and principles underlying aspects of learning, memory, affect, and attention, with an emphasis on neural plasticity.
seigei
Sergei Gepshtein is a scientist at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla and an adjunct professor at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. He works in the areas of perceptual psychology, systems neuroscience and computational neuroscience.
david
David Kirsh is Professor and past chair of the Department of Cognitive Science at UCSD. He has written on situated and embodied cognition, how environments can be shaped to simplify/extend cognition, and how space, external representations, our bodies and even manipulable objects become interactive tools for thought.
eduardo
Eduardo R. Macagno is a neuroscientist and Distinguished Professor at UC San Diego. His lab studies navigation and wayfinding by normal and neurologically impaired subjects using wearable biometric devices in real and virtual environments.
Douglas
Douglas Nitz has spent the greater part of his career in neuroscience working at the Neurosciences Institute and the University of California, San Diego. Nitz’s current laboratory work continues to examine how the brain encoded structural features of the environment and the paths that one takes through them.
penn
Alan Penn is Professor of Architectural and Urban Computing at University College London.Ph.D. His research focuses on understanding the way that the design of the built environment affects the patterns of social and economic behavior of organizations and communities.
tiziana
Tiziana Proietti Ph.D., is an architect and educator who is developing an interdisciplinary program of research to bridge neuroscience and architectural design, studying the human response to architectural proportion.

Full Speaker Bios

Registration Fee - Early Bird until July 24th*

Member (with a $50 discount) $500
Nonmember $550
Bootcamp + Membership $500 + $150 ($75 if student etc)

Registration Fee - After July 24th

Member (includes a $50 discount) $600
Nonmember $650
Bootcamp + Membership $600 + $150 ($75 if student etc)

A limited number of fellowships may be available to attendees working in non-profit organizations.

*The registration price includes all meals and course materials; hotel, transportation and the pre-meeting dinner are the responsibility of the attendee.