I was just in a newly finished space a few days ago. A lecture hall designed to seat about 100 or so folks. It was just completed (smelled like paint and carpet glue...), and perfectly clean. I looked around -- fresh, bright, new carpet, 100 new comfortable chairs all around, high-tech presentation gear installed -- and I thought, "This feels like a place to wait for jury duty."
It's hard to make the economic case for good spaces. (After the past couple of weeks, it's hard to make the economic case for much of anything beyond bare survival...) But if we believe that architecture has emotional importance, that we can inspire people to learn and achieve through the richness of the place they inhabit, then we need to study carefully what makes a place emotionally resonant. It has something to do with form, but only just a little, I think. Rather, it has to do with the way in which we can lose ourselves in a place, where we're repeatedly rewarded by interesting details and information-rich materials.
I've made this case before, but I really think that we start architectural education from the wrong end. Do small, simple, real things. Detail a window opening. Work to make the floor material encounter the base of a wall in a deep and compelling way. Eventually, once you're good at that, we'll let you maybe put a room together. After a while of that, we'll let you put a suite of rooms and connecting spaces together. It would be several years before I'd let my students muck around with building massing and form. Because that's not what makes places beloved.