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A phenomenological framework for describing architectural experience

Tweed, Aidan Christopher 2000. A phenomenological framework for describing architectural experience. Presented at: Phenomenology and Culture conference,, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland, July 2000.

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Abstract

Rasmussen’s Experiencing Architecture, first published in 1962, remains the essential introduction for students of architecture. It launches the trajectory along which the interested novice acquires the specifically architectural patterns of thought and language that enable him or her to analyse extant and formulate new designs. Such accounts of architectural experience direct our attention to those properties of the built environment that are deemed to be important to the continuation of the architectural tradition. Architectural discourse, therefore, revolves around a set of pregiven topics that privileges some properties of the built environment over others. At this rarefied level of debate, theoreticians and practitioners seldom consider general concerns about the contribution architecture, as a cultural practice, makes to society and the experiences it offers the lay public. To address these issues requires that we discard preconceived ideas about architectural value and examine our everyday interactions with buildings and account for the differing perceptions of architecture that coexist within our broader culture. The phenomenological tradition suggests ways in which we might pursue this goal. Steinbock’s reworking of three overlapping themes or dimensions in Husserlian phenomenology—static, genetic and generative—provides a useful framework within which to explore the constitution of architectural sense and meaning. Static analyses allow us to address ontological issues about the built environment and our interactions with it. In this endeavour, our understanding is considerably enriched by those who have developed central ideas in Husserl’s thought: Merleau-Ponty’s emphasis on the lived-body as the locus of intentionality; and phenomenologists with a particular interest in architecture, such as Bachelard, Bollnow and Casey. The genetic dimension allows us to examine individuals’ development of an architectural perspective, mainly through experience and education. Finally, generative phenomenology broadens the inquiry by directing our focus to processes of critique and renewal which are central to an evolving architectural tradition.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Architecture
Subjects: N Fine Arts > NA Architecture
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 9 November 2016
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 09:29
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/95941

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