Salk was so certain of the effect of Assisi’s architecture on his work that he later hired Louis Kahn to build the now famous Salk Institute (photos below), and the influence of Assisi is clearly visible – the simple, harmonious colonnades, the long vistas, the pale buttery colour of the stone. Some of the scientific findings in the article confirm what we might already have guessed, while others are more surprising. Lighter, brighter spaces with full-spectrum lighting increase alertness and help guard against depression and, later in life, against cognitive decline. Conversely, rooms intended mainly for relaxation should feature darker colours, dimmer lighting, fewer sharp edges on furniture and bookshelves (these activate the part of the brain that alerts us to danger), and more carpeting. Lower ceilings improve performance in detail-oriented tasks, whereas high ceilings encourage abstract creative thought. Views of nature, particularly distant trees and green space, are proven to significantly aid in creativity, concentration and memory (and in combatting ADD in children).