Pedagogy of Spaces
The plethora of images flooding demonstrating wonders of architecture marvels all, dominating visual aspects in architecture. Architecture is beyond aesthetics, something ongoing, dynamic, and memorable in tangible and intangible sensorium.
Architecture phenomenology is a journey of philosophy away from abstractions towards straightforwardness. Phenomenology is a descriptive study and observation of phenomena (observable facts or experiences) as a subjective experience.
In Architecture, this approach leaves with instruments to manipulate the sensory encounter of spatiality that makes the event memorable and brings depth to the experience. Phenomenology brings a new pedagogy of spaces into architecture by providing orientation to thinking and making. Edmund Husserl originated phenomenology but his student Martin Heidegger defined architecture philosophy in 1952 in “Building, Dwelling, Thinking.” revealing the existential dimension of architecture.
A complete immersed knowledge of architectural phenomenology strengthens sensory perceptions and helps to make impactful spaces that halt time defending the natural slowness.
The following Ten books are knowledge banks displaying philosophical approaches to understanding consciousness and experience.
Do not judge these books by their covers! Enjoy your philosopher’s Walk.
1. The Eyes of The Skin: Architecture and the Senses. – Juhani Pallasmaa
Pallasmaa questions why the aesthetic is the most hyped sense of all the other senses that humans possess. The under-consideration of the other four senses diminishes the overall experience of spatiality that an architectural intervention could possibly embody. The book is a gateway to seeing the world with our bodies by emphasizing unseparated sensory perceptions.
2. The Poetics of Spaces – Gaston Bachelard
Gaston displays poetic and literary images in his poetry. He takes the readers on an intimate journey within a house and allows them to perceive the consciousness in the interiors with openness while manifesting memory and experience. He shows how the perceptions of dwelling spaces shape thoughts, memory, and dreams.
3. In Praise of Shadow – Junichiro Tanizaki
The book narrates the love of perception in the dark with the awareness that the beauty of Japanese aesthetics will be driven away with modernism over time. The book appears light but bears the heaviness of Japanese culture. The poetic expression is deeply narrated by creating a live tangible memory to the readers while the wonders of the land of the dark disappear while they are being mentioned.
4. From the Things Themselves – Benoit Jacquet
The book is a collected set of edited papers and keynote speakers displayed in Kyoto at the 2nd international
conference on architectural phenomenology in 2009. The book presents approaches that relate architecture to phenomenology providing a tool to rethink architectural practice revealing a spectrum of phenomena.
5. Questions of Perception – Steven Holl
Steven Holl, Juhani Pallasmaa, and Alberto Perez-Gomez – the trio explains the role Human perception and Phenomenological experience play in architecture. They conclude by stating that architects should distinguish logic from perception and realizations from intentions. Designers have been asked to embrace the future unpredictability and its effects on the current actions.
6. Genius Loci – Christian Norberg-Schulz.
Genius Loci or “Spirit of place” is the final book of the trilogy by the Author with the view that architecture gives a foothold for men. Architecture is a creation of meaningful spaces, giving the spaces a distinct trait to help people align to their environments and belong.
7. Atmospheres – Peter Zumthor
Peter Zumthor describes nine different qualities to achieve the perception of atmosphere thus emphasizing sensory aspects of architecture. High-quality architecture is attained by making buildings that move individuals on a very personal level by the atmosphere it projects. The book states the ingredients to create this atmosphere.
8. Dwelling, Space and Environment: Towards a Phenomenology of Person and World -David Seamon.
Environmental and architectural concerns receive insights from a phenomenological perspective on a broad spectrum. The book explores how architecture, place, and nature influence humans positively in a sustaining way.
9. Phenomenologies of the City: Studies in the History and Philosophy of Architecture – Henriette Steiner and Maximilian Sternberg.
Phenomenology had until now remained safely distant from cities but a connection is stretched between architecture and urbanity from the lens of phenomenology by Steiner and Sternberg. The book questions the formation of cities and how to understand their meaning to fill in the deficits.
10. Are We Human? Beatriz Colomina and Mark Wigley
The pocket-sized book is accessible. The authors attempt to bring an explanation to how creatively humans design and the design makes humans redesign themselves. The vicious loop of design perpetuates till today. The books portray: All is Design – Design is Everywhere.
11. Experiencing Architecture- Steen Eiler Rasmussen.
Rasmussen’s compilation of theory into ten chapters from the book is the most lucid description of how to understand buildings and learn them. Totally, a book for first-timers giving an attempt at the theory of architecture. Experiential architecture covers all main aspects of conscious experiences.
- Abiboo Studio, (2014). Available at : https://abiboo.com/phenomenology-in-architecture/ [ Accessed 21 October 2021].
- West, M.(2017) Available at: https://medium.com/tradecraft-traction/wtf-is-phenomenology-in-vr-dd69c97ee450 [ Accessed 21 October 2021].
- Doha. O. (2019). Phenomenology. Prezi. Available at: https://prezi.com/p/mcy2jaiecvr2/phenomenology/ [ Accessed 21 October 2021].
- Preeti. (2018). Book review: Atmospheres-Peter Zumthor. Available at: https://preek.medium.com/book-review-atmospheres-peter-zumthor-fc6aa91f980a [ Accessed 21 October 2021].