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Don Ruggles  

Founder of Ruggles Mabe Studio & Author of "Beauty, Neuroscience & Architecture"

Donald H. Ruggles is a practicing architect and CEO of Ruggles Mabe Studio, an award-winning boutique residential architecture and interior design firm based in Colorado. Founded in 1970, the firm is dedicated to the idea that beauty can improve the lives of its clients, representing more than 1,000 projects spanning 16 states and eight countries.

In 2017, Ruggles published his first book, “Beauty, Neuroscience & Architecture: Timeless Patterns & Their Impact on Our Well-Being,” which investigates how timeless forms and patterns in design affect our health and well-being. The book was made into a full-length documentary in 2020 titled “Built Beautiful, An Architecture & Neuroscience Love Story With Narration by Martha Stewart.” It suggests a new, urgent effort is needed to refocus the direction of design to include the quality of beauty as a fundamental, overarching theme in two of man’s most important fields — the built and artistic environments.

Speech Topics

The Impact of Materials and Methods on our Wellbeing

In this session, the presenter suggests a new, urgent effort is needed to refocus the direction of design to include the quality of beauty as a fundamental, overarching theme in two of man’s most important fields — the built and artistic environments. Beauty, Neuroscience & Architecture: Timeless Patterns & Their Impact on Our Well-Being, Don Ruggles’ first book on the subject and winner of a Bronze Medal IPPY Award, details the neuroscientific connection between spending time in beautiful spaces and the impact on our well-being.

In his presentation, he suggests deciphering the beautiful use of materials and methods is more than traditional or contemporary, classical or modern. It’s about creating something that’s focused on the well-being and health of those who will be experiencing the design. He puts architects, builders and designers on notice to pay attention and use neuroscience, biology, psychology and architecture to create the new discipline of neuro-architectology. This method balances what is beautiful with what is exciting, allowing designers to begin to conceptualize our built environment to make us healthier and to improve our sense of well-being.

  1. Use the concepts outlined in the new design discipline of neuro-architectology to design with the well-being of inhabitants in mind by utilizing the concept of homeostasis to properly balance subliminal neurological processing of external stimuli resulting in a stress-free built environment.

  2. Apply beauty as an important part of functional architectural design by highlighting recent research identifying beauty as a pleasure response that results in a physical hormonal response improving important biometric and neurological criteria that leads to a healthier life.

  3. Recognize the patterns of nature that have been asserted in timeless architectural design for millennia by focusing on the evolutionary history of humankind and how recognition of biophilic patterns that create a pleasure response have been passed on in our DNA over millions of years resulting a common set of subliminal reactions that all of humankind reacts positively to.

  4. Identify resources for further study of the nexus between architecture and neuroscience. Specifically addressing how neuroscience is providing architects with the ability to quantify qualitative aspects of the built environment resulting in the ability to create environments where humankind can excel and thrive and avoid creating stress-inducing environments.

It’s Beautiful… And Good for Your Health

What makes architecture beautiful? And what features do the world’s most iconic structures share? Drawing upon fifty years of research, Don Ruggles explores how the emotion of beauty impacts our daily lives to improve our health and sense of well-being.

Beauty, Neuroscience and Architecture: How Classic Patterns Align with Beauty to Improve Health

Learn the historic influences of classic patterns; Facial patterning; Why and how beauty heals; Nine square design.

How do Design and Architecture Impact your Health?

Learn how architecture and design, with timeless forms and patterns, affects our health and well-being. Humans can respond to their environment from a survival or pleasure standpoint, and so Don discusses how and which forms and patterns can induce one or the other. Based on neuroscience studies, incorporating this knowledge when building and designing spaces destined for healthcare can help patients and staff relieve stress. He explains how human brains perceive specific patterns that are familiar and non-threatening and provides some examples that have been used for hundreds of years in architecture and designed instinctually.

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