Humanscale is a significant analysis of people to formulate self-observation and make variable data for easing life standards. Throughout history, local measurements couldn’t be seen as an adequate resource and for this reason, people seek standard universal data especially for architecture. And by keeping up with the world’s technological investments, people’s perception towards Humanscale has changed because of the environmental conditions and has been forced to change every day because it is a design tool for people, and it defines people whose lives steer according to the world’s conditions and living habitats. 

Therefore, the Anthropocene Epoch, the most recent period in Earth’s history, has a huge impact on the classic design tool; Humanscale.

Humanscale as a Measurement of Self-Identification for Design

The term ‘Humanscale’ is developed by most artists and designers, but the prominent people are Leonardo Da Vinci and Le Corbusier. Leonardo Da Vinci was inspired by Vitruvius, to provide sufficient information about the proportional human body. He made a sketch called ‘The Vitruvian Man’ by expressing the relation between man and nature. 

Moreover, Le Corbusier released his most famous publication ‘Modulor’ to find and examine the mathematical relationship between human dimensions and nature. For this reason, Le Corbusier said ‘Humanity, that’s the basic value of Modulor.’ 

The Classic Design Tool- Humanscale, Gets a Second Life Sheet1
Le Corbusier’s Modulor Measurements_©

Although the theories from famous architects such as Vitruvius and Le Corbusier’s human proportional data is still the most reliable data to a design process, the current world’s needs shift towards a new level of technology by the effect of a new era, Anthropocene. Humanscale is affected by the surroundings because it has a connection between a body and its surroundings, and the body is a control point of our sensorial experience within the material world and how we perceive it within our minds.  

Anthropocene Epoch as a New Interpretation of Humanscale

Anthropocene Architecture is a design style of the world’s current period that is shaped by human activity, and it has a high impact on the planet’s climate and ecosystems. Fundamental challenges such as climate change are a global risk and human proportional designs are not enough to guarantee our future living habitats. For this reason, to create unique prototypes for futuristic scenarios, researchers identify environmental crises and make some proposals. 

Design-research practice Design Earth which is led by Rania Ghosn and El Hadi Jazairy create a manifesto called ‘Geostories’. The project aims to find solutions to the crisis and provide a new Humanscale interpretation by relating archaeology, ecology, and urbanization.

The Classic Design Tool- Humanscale, Gets a Second Life Sheet2
Design Earth Strait of Hormuz Grand Chessboard After Oil_©

Image Sources: Image
Design Earth The Frozen Record Of Oil and Ice_©              

The visualizations mainly focus on the people and surroundings by providing a relation with a design proposal. The definite human-scale figures cannot be seen in these infographics because the images are designed to identify environmental crises by making human adaptation. By addressing climate change, the book Geostories brings together spatial history and projective design, and it proposes another architecture for the environment.

The Classic Design Tool- Humanscale, Gets a Second Life Sheet3
Design Earth Trash Peaks in Geostories Another Architecture for the Environment_©
The Classic Design Tool- Humanscale, Gets a Second Life Sheet4
Design Earth Below the Water Towers Pacific Aquarium_©

The Evolution of Scale and Architecture 

The scale and architecture no longer have any boundary between them to limit the design process because some environmental factors/needs such as population, functions merge towards hybrid and spatial relationship changes people’s perception of scale within the environment. Chinese Culture Exhibition Center by ECA2 & Tengyuan Design creates a hybrid exhibition centre by having multi-functional spaces such as show and exhibition. The spatial design of the exhibition centre aims to connect the past and future by creating comprehensive performance integrating with ancient and modern Chinese and foreign cultures. 

BIM technology is used to solve technical problems such as noise and light pollution caused by surrounding roads. Also, the opening on top of the structure forms an ‘eye’ to facilitate the audience to watch the laser show and the distant mountains, making it a landmark building in Lanzhou. Therefore, the exhibition center shows the shift of human needs and affects the correlation between Humanscale and architectural spaces. 

The Classic Design Tool- Humanscale, Gets a Second Life Sheet5
Chinese Culture Exhibition Center by Quingdao Tengyuan Design ECA2_©
The Classic Design Tool- Humanscale, Gets a Second Life Sheet6
Chinese Culture Exhibition Center by Quingdao Tengyuan Design ECA2 Interior_©

Control of Territorial Environment by Humanscale

The human-centered design shifts towards environment-centered design to provide safe territories for living and better fit for the environmental, social, and technological context. The first image is a project for designing the Anthropocene territory by proposing adaptive changing environments. The diagram shows the relation of superficial and underground waters and even though it doesn’t have any human figures, we can depict the meaning of an environment-centered project for better human-centered life standards. 

The second image is a project to prevent the destruction of the Sahara Desert and pushing people away from their homes. It is a conceptual idea to control large-scale territorial land ‘dune architecture’ as a new relation and design process of human and scale.

The Classic Design Tool- Humanscale, Gets a Second Life Sheet7
Designing the Anthropocene Territory_©
The Classic Design Tool- Humanscale, Gets a Second Life Sheet8
Magnus Larsson LafargeHolcim Prize Project in Nigeria_©

In conclusion, Humanscale is not only a significant design tool that expresses people’s proportions, measurements, and needs; it also contributes to the general context within the universal design and current environmental surroundings. Anthropocene Epoch is a current period that needs the most human and environmental interaction to minimize climate change. For this reason, Humanscale relates with human-centred design to better environmental conditions and territories by including the approach of environment-centred design. 


  1. Arellano, M., 2021. On the Dislocation of the Body in Architecture: Le Corbusier’s Modulor. [online] ArchDaily. Available at: <> [Accessed 6 August 2021].
  2. 2021. The Avery Review | Anthropocene Architecture: Design Earth’s <i>Geostories</i>. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 8 August 2021].
  3. Chiambaretta, P., 2021. Inhabiting the Anthropocene • Articles. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 8 August 2021].
  4. 2021. Designing the Anthropocene Territory. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 8 August 2021].

Betül Özlem Yılmaz is a 4th year interior architecture student and passionate researcher for different topics which is related to architecture and design. She is interested in reading, writing and conceptualizing the projects for creating unique perspective. Her aim is to combine different disciplines in her writings.