Just think of some of the ways architecture can manipulate your own experience. In this book, Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design, US author Charles Montgomery points out that some environments predictably affect our moods.The fact is that environments do affect us, regardless of whether by design or by accident. In 2008, researchers in the UK found that a ten-minute walk down a South London main street increased psychotic symptoms significantly.With some quick research, I found that the healthier a person is, the more a good environment will affect them positively and the less a bad one will affect them negatively. Mentally ill patients show about 65 times more negative reactivity to bad environments than controls and all these reactions translate directly into symptoms.The same patients have about half the positive responsiveness. That’s fewer smiles, less laughter and a reported drop in feeling the “fun of life”.But that’s not all. The potential for architecture is richer still. The ease with which architecture can embrace sublime aesthetics makes it great for generating awe.Psychiatrists have found that awe reduces the prevalence and severity of mood disorders. Could sublime architecture even potentially save lives?The psychological effects of architecture are difficult to prove, but difficulty doesn’t dilute the value of a building that hits the right notes and creates a sense of awe. Each building type has different functions, and for each there’s an imperative to use the building to help create an optimal mood, desire or sense of coherence, security or meaning.