My principle research interest lies in the nature of design as a response to human need and human nature, in particular, the spatial comprehension of children and the influence that architecture can have on their behaviour. My particular concern lies with children’s perceptions of space and makes investigations into how their perceptions compare with those of adults. It draws from the fields of psychology, environmental behaviour and neurology to consider how and why different spatial arrangements pertain certain behavioural responses. It has shown a correlation between the natural development of the brain and a shift in interpretation of space, in the change from three-dimensional thinking in young children to the predominance of two-dimensional thinking of adults.
Situated within Northern Ireland, children’s perceptions of architectural space are often blurred by a political or religious agenda, I am currently investigating children’s perceptions of the architectural identity of religious buildings, working amongst the six predominant faith groups within the country.