Architects and politicians have a lot in common. Each seeks to influence the way we live, and on account of that both, generally, are reviled. But architecture is more important than politics. Unless you are an anchorite or a polar bear, it’s unavoidable. And it lasts longer.
The best architecture affects our mood. Exaltation, if you are lucky. And the worst influences our behaviour: a riot with burning Renaults, if you live in a French banlieue. But, as a new exhibition at the Wellcome Collection suggests, architecture may also, in one way or another, affect our health.
At ground level, this is quite obvious. Damp, foul air, extreme temperatures, bad drains, structural collapse, fire risks, asbestos and socially hostile environments can all, alas, be experienced in buildings.