The Secret Life Of Buildings starts on Channel 4 tonight!

We spend 85% of our lives inside but rarely, if ever, consider what impact the design and architecture of these spaces has on us. Yet the design of our living space can connect and silently shape our identity, self-esteem, relationships, chances at school, and even our weight and immune system.

Architecture critic Tom Dyckhoff presents a three-part series looking at how architecture affects us at home, work and play, and discovers the secret ways that buildings profoundly affect our behaviour, feelings and identity. Dyckhoff embarks on a mischievous journey inside some of the world’s most beautiful architecture and into the buildings in which we live and work.

Abandoning his usual approach of looking at empty buildings, in this series Dyckhoff immerses himself in the lives of the people who use them every day. He shows how we have hard-wired desires about what we want from our spaces, and reveals how architects – and businesses – manipulate these desires. In a series of experiments, he explores the emerging science of space with the world’s leading environmental psychologists, behaviourists, philosophers and neurologists. Armed with this new knowledge, Dyckhoff meets some of today’s pre-eminent architects and reevaluates their creations with new eyes.

He challenges their assumptions by bringing the architects face-to-face with the people who use their buildings every day and argues that architecture should be less about ego, art and economics and more about environmental psychology and individual well-being. Wherever you live and work, you’re never going to feel the same about buildings again. In the first episode, Home, Dyckhoff explores how the design of our homes works secretly to influence our behaviour. Light, room size, layout, proportion and materials all have measurable effects on our lives. So why do we accept the smallest windows and the smallest room sizes in Europe? And what can we do about it?

1st August 2011, 8pm, Channel 4