Negotiating Boundaries - Exploring the Existential Experience of Architecture
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Negotiating Boundaries is an effort to investigate and explore multisensorial environments. Throughout history, architecture is and has always been predominantly visual in nature. The visual dominance of architecture has often been critiqued by philosophers and architects. The thesis presents an argument that all senses " haptic, auditory, olfactory and vision, collectively contribute to experience a space. The thesis is a qualitative approach towards studying the significance of this existential experience of architecture in the built environment. The privilege of the sense of sight over the other senses and its bias in architecture cannot be neglected. Therefore, the experience of the visually impaired or blind has been used as a challenge to study these non-ocular centric spaces. Pallasmaa beautifully puts, Vision reveals what the touch already knows. We see the depth, the smoothness, the softness, the hardness of object; Cézanne even claimed that we see their odor. If the painter is to express the world, the arrangement of his colors must carry with this indivisible whole, or else his picture will only hint at things and will not give them in the imperious unity, the presence, the insurpassable plenitude which is for us the definition of the real. The live encounter with Frank Lloyd Wright Fallingwater weaves the surrounding forest, the volumes surfaces, textures and colors of the house, and even the smells of the forest and the sound of the river, into a uniquely full experience. The thesis presents a case to defend that architecture is not merely a series of visual scenes but has a fully embodied material and spiritual presence.4 Architects and Philosophers whose studies and explorations remain relevant to my interest are Juhani, Pallasmaa, Peter Zumthor, Louis Kahn, Steven Holl, and Carlo Scarpa amongst many others. Juhani Pallasmaa in his book, The Eyes of the Skin writes, "An Architectural work is not experienced as a series of isolated retinal pictures, but its fully integrated material, embodied and spiritual essence. It offers pleasurable shapes and surfaces molded for the touch of eye and other senses, but it also incorporates and integrates physical and mental structures, giving our existential experience a strengthened coherence and significance.
- Masters Theses