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Maharishi School Alumnus David Navarette Researches Convergence of Architecture and Neurobiology

Maharishi private boarding School Iowa alumnus David Navarette With the 2017 EDRA CORE award-winning team (left to right: Jiancheng Hou, TTU; David Navarrete, Sky Factory; Lauren Steingreaber, Sky Factory; Cherif Amor, PhD, TTU; Debajyoti Pati, PhD, TTU; Shabboo Valipoor, PhD candidate, TTU).

Maharishi School alumnus David Navarrete is director of research initiatives and content development at Sky Factory, who has co-authored a new white paper about the restorative benefits of Sky Factory’s architectural illusions of sky and nature, designed to mitigate the detrimental effects of enclosed spaces. He is also a guest contributor to Human Spaces and Conscious Cities Journal.

David came to Fairfield from Mexico to attend Maharishi School when he was 15. He went on to earn a double major in business and government (’92) plus an MBA (’93) from Maharishi University. He also obtained a master’s degree in public relations from Boston University (’97).

Back in 1998, David gained extensive experience in mass communications working for Hill & Knowlton, a global PR firm, out of their Mexico City office, but returned to Fairfield in the fall of 2000 to work locally during the dot.com boom. When he landed the Sky Factory job in 2013, he became fascinated with the research and connection between architectural illusions and neurobiology. “Architects are beginning to realize that the interior environment has a very powerful cognitive effect on the occupant,” he said.

A Revelation SkyCeiling Installation from The Sky Factory at St. David’s Foundation in Austin, TX

Over the past several years, David has led several research collaborations with various health institutions around the world to study the therapeutic effects of architectural illusions using fMRI technology and explore the neural pathways involved in the perception of photographic Open Sky Compositions. A 2017 multidisciplinary study conducted at Texas Tech University (TTU) earned him and his colleagues a Certification of Research Excellence (CORE) by the Environmental Design Research Associations (EDRA).

David, who is a teacher of the Transcendental Meditation® technique, says that his practice of the TM® technique has helped him manage stressful work environments.

“In architecture and healthcare everyone is looking at the powerful way the environment affects people’s experience, but they are still looking to the external environment as the primary means to influence that experience,” David said. “MUM gives you the ability to experience your internal environment–your own consciousness. If you can experience the deepest level of your own internal environment, then you naturally extend into the external environment. You bring empathy and receptiveness into the world, tapping more of your creativity and happiness.

Thanks to Livia Cole at Maharishi University of Management for this article.

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