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Phenomenology-thesis

MaGabi

I am a month into thesis and know I am interested in phenomenology-more specifically-whether architecture can change the experience of place from the unconscious to the conscious. I know this is quite vague and not really testable but am having questions as to what would be the best represent my thesis.
I have designed a church that I thought was very successful in separating individual experiences and also an Institute for Islamic Architecture-where the phenomenological experience of a small space in an American city was essential to the project.

I wanted to design a winery but fear this was be a little too focused on the process rather than the experience-which would only focus on the final product-the wine tasting. I also considered a monastery where the complex program would engage the senses on different level throughout the day and changing seasons... and I am now going back to what I had been wanting to design for a while...a type of spa. It would have a housing component and would be a type of retreat.

I was hoping to hear your thoughts on the programs and what you may think may be beneficial or not in each...?

Also, I am probably going to chose a site in the Finger Lakes region, in Central NY.

Id appreciate any constructive comments,

Thanks.

 
Oct 7, 09 12:20 am
Carl Douglas (agfa8x)

you have to establish that the experience of place is unconscious before you can propose shifting into consciousness.

Oct 7, 09 1:09 am  · 
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not_here

a lot of phenomenology (in architecture specifically) is just a cover to avoid doing actual factual research.

Oct 7, 09 1:52 am  · 
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"you have to establish that the experience of place is unconscious before you can propose shifting into consciousness."

see walter benjamin's discussion of distraction or georg simmel's discussion of the blase attitude... you could also probably include edmund husserl's (the father of phenomenology, by the way) idea of the natural attitude...

"a lot of phenomenology (in architecture specifically) is just a cover to avoid doing actual factual research."

i'd be interested in hearing your definition of 'factual research'... does some bullshit post-rationalized diagram that supposedly allows you to make some blobby or parametric thing count as "research"?

anyways, i'd recommend reading david leatherbarrow's most recent book "architecture situated otherwise"... maybe also peter zumthor's "thinking architecture"... or start at the beginning of phenomenology in architecture with christian norberg-schulz's "genius loci: towards a phenomenology of architecture"...

Oct 7, 09 3:51 pm  · 
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not_here

i meant research as in grabbing a few APA/Elsevier journals to back up your argument if you're gonna talk about perception and consciousness.

Oct 7, 09 4:11 pm  · 
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LB_Architects

You may want to read a few books on sensory experience as it relates to space and architecture. I'm not a great fan of Juhani Pallasmaa, but his book, The Eyes of the Skin, would be helpful for you. Also, look at The Body in Architecture by Hauptmann. Both of those are good starters. I agree with archtphil on his recommendations also. Good luck.

Oct 7, 09 5:42 pm  · 
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nappy

just design a store.


Oct 7, 09 7:53 pm  · 
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nappy

i had a phenomenlogical experience
when i turn the lights on and off.

you really can't beat that. Time to change your thesis.

Oct 7, 09 7:54 pm  · 
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nappy

i had a phenomenological experience
when i turn the lights on and off.

you really can't beat that. Time to change your thesis.

Oct 7, 09 7:55 pm  · 
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hey zeus

See that monastary corb did at the end of his career, the name slips my mind. As a well known aethesist he played with the sacred language to create something different experientially. Had a prof theorize that corb was almost making a mockery of religion.

No mentioned Heidegger, I don't have my Hays theory anthology in front of me but there are some good essays in there, a few referencing heidegger.

Foucalt, if power becomes a factor.

I don't really see spa as an easy thesis example. With religous and politically driven projects there are more clear phenomenolgical ties that can be made as the ideologies (virtual concepts of the architecture) are pronounced and have direct space and form ties...

Oct 7, 09 8:31 pm  · 
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nappy

Anyway as a suggestion
I would look at some of the installation work by artist Dan Graham..
his works are quite amazing and deal with video/time lapse..

For me..there's some sort of connection between a phenomenological experience (conscious/unconscious) and time lapse/memory/real-time.

Oct 7, 09 8:53 pm  · 
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iheartbooks

I found a special issue of the Delft School of Design’s Journal called Footprint that focuses on Phenomenology and Architecture.

You can download and print the entire book, 8-10 articles.

I haven’t had a chance to read through it yet, but I bet you could find something good in it.

You can get it here:

http://www.footprintjournal.org/issues/show/4

Good luck and have fun, thesis is a blast.

Oct 7, 09 9:04 pm  · 
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MaGabi

Thanks for all the comments-Some have made me more critical about how I used certain terms!

I do have the Delft School Journal and I have only had a chance to skim it. It seems very interesting in that it covers several aspects of phenomenology.

I also read 'eyes of the skin' and am trying to get a hold of the original where this text was expanded from.

architphil, thanks for the suggestions! You mentioned some sources I am interested in learning more about.I have genius loci, and thinking architecture and am skimming through them these days. There is so much to read!

FP I will try to find The body in arch..have not been successful yet.

I did look at Corbs monastery- La Tourette- for anyone who is interested, there is a good video on google-it is in French though.

time will also be important-the temporality of an experience as well as of space-architecture transcends the human life span-I am not sure how this will come into play yet.


Right now I am looking at designing a destination that enhances sensuous experience. I think life in the city is too focused on certain stereotypes and a fast-paces 'unsensuous' life- this new destination would offer a new interpretation-or possibility of rediscovering one's senses. The building should engage the landscape and the senses whether through direct engaging of the senses (wine tasting in the dark ?) or swimming outside (unlike a spa today that is about loosing kilos) or through promoting a more introverted experience- self-awareness for example in a meditative state.

I dont know if this stream of thought makes much sense. I am jumping around between programs as I continue to research and search for a concise contention. We are strongly encouraged to pin down a site and program as soon as possible and this is proving much harder than imagined.

Once again, I appreciated all comments and would enjoy reading more thoughts that you may want to offer.

Thanks

Oct 7, 09 9:32 pm  · 
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hey zeus

ahh...so the wikipedia (architecture) version of phenomenology
wiki version

i might stick with Husserl on this one for the folllowing reason, first couple chapters of ""The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology"...because in short all of western science is based on the visual sense.

so can you do it without being visual? that's like asking a musician to cook....

Oct 7, 09 10:15 pm  · 
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hey zeus

ahh...so the wikipedia (architecture) version of phenomenology
wiki version

i might stick with Husserl on this one for the folllowing reason, first couple chapters of ""The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology"...because in short all of western science is based on the visual sense.

so can you do it without being visual? that's like asking a musician to cook....

Oct 7, 09 10:16 pm  · 
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hey zeus

ahh...so the wikipedia (architecture) version of phenomenology
wiki version

i might stick with Husserl on this one for the folllowing reason, first couple chapters of ""The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology"...because in short all of western science is based on the visual sense.

so can you do it without being visual? that's like asking a musician to cook....

Oct 7, 09 10:16 pm  · 
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MaGabi

It would be visual for sure because we operate in visual terms and it would be impossible to change radically but I am proposing to introduce the other senses in combination- an enhanced perception of a space through a view, but say by viewing flowing water-you are aware of the sounds aswell...? it is hard to argue for all senses for sure as we do rely on the vision primarily...this is when 'The Eyes of the Skin' caught my attention...

Oct 7, 09 10:26 pm  · 
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aspect

phenomenology was a deadend for architecture back then.

Oct 7, 09 10:44 pm  · 
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not_here

it's still a dead end... a dead end populated by poets who are scared of real research.

go to your college's journal article search engine and type "spatial perception". landau did a few interesting studies at johns hopkins with children and landmarks. if you're gonna play a near magical realism card, don't pretend it's all fact [basically what drives me nuts about these sort of practices].

sorry for the hostile tone.. just playing the part of the antagonist...

Oct 7, 09 11:41 pm  · 
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MaGabi

fluxbound, I know that there may be no scientific proof of what I am trying to describe but I am hoping to be able to better understand what it is that can change perception...at least I want to try.
I understand that some people would agree with you but it may be because you have never experienced some places that have the ability to affect perception.

The Alhambra in Granada, Spain I think is a must.
The path to Petra in Jordan- after walking down the dessert for half an hour you encounter the old Treasury carved in the mountain by the Nabateans thousands of years ago..
Perhaps a more familiar example is the Querini Stampalia Foundation by Carlo Scarpa in Venice.

There is something about these places that make ideas such as those in Genius Loci meaningful to me.

Oct 7, 09 11:56 pm  · 
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toasteroven

I like the idea of enhancing certain senses while denying others... One example I can think of are the pavilions done by gigon and guyer for the park in Bramsche-Kalkriese.

you could tie the system for making wine in with certain sensory experiences.... that could be interesting.

Oct 8, 09 12:00 am  · 
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aspect

olafur eliasson works is interesting becos he looks into perceptions outside our brain, a reality of sharing order. while phenomenology deals mostly with the internal order, quiet often is personal and unscientific... which i believe reality exist with or without our perceptions.

http://www.ted.com/talks/olafur_eliasson_playing_with_space_and_light.html

Oct 8, 09 12:16 am  · 
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aspect

that's why i said phenomenology is a dead end... i think the special effect in hollywood is completing the missing task of the phenomenoligist, of exploring the orders in nature that generates effects to our senses.

Oct 8, 09 12:19 am  · 
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aspect

and its a "share order"... unlike phenomenology

Oct 8, 09 12:25 am  · 
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toasteroven

"phenomenology" or is just a fancy term for "we experience space with all of our senses, not just sight." that's it.... both environmental psychologists and neuroscientists sometimes empirically study "phenomenology."

did you know our olfactory bulb (sense of smell) is tied directly to our brain's limbic system (memory/emotion)?

Oct 8, 09 12:27 am  · 
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aspect

"i think therefore it exist" coming from a well-known architect who is into phenomenology... how devolving it can be for architecture...

Oct 8, 09 3:45 am  · 
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simples

MaGabi - "whether architecture can change the experience of place from the unconscious to the conscious"

when you focus specifically on that, wouldn't a mundane program be the best subject? most people are open to consciously experiencing the physical church - why don't you design design a gas station?

good luck - sounds interesting

Oct 8, 09 2:15 pm  · 
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Carl Douglas (agfa8x)

don't mean to be picky with you personally toasteroven, but that's not what phenomenology is. I think there's a long way between the norberg-schulz/pallasmaa/leatherbarrow idea of what phenomenology is and what it is philosophically. architects should probably find their own term rather than persisting with a misapplied one. personally i'll take husserl over heidegger any day.

Oct 8, 09 2:22 pm  · 
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hey zeus

Maybe do little interactive experiments...something on paper I don't think will cut it. Instead of major program think little moments, maybe?

I bought this book once, a symposium of neuroscientists and linguists meeting about the development of space in the mind. Did not understand a word and so foreign to the linguistic architecural theory bullshit.

Clarification on husserls note on all things being based on vision. The scientific studies of sound, smell. Etc..all resort back to expressing proof of concepts via data and math and measurements, all of which are direct results of our visual sense. Example; a sound wave representation and values are based on its mapping of data onto a mathematical wave expressed in a graphic...

Oct 8, 09 5:28 pm  · 
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Helsinki

Second the simple program.
A program that is neutral in some way should be the best "backdrop" for experimenting.

Maybe a single family home?

Also, should be easier for the idea of highlighting and lifting the unconscious content of conscious experience - "the home" is an environment that has the richest connections to personal memory, expectations and surrounding society.

good luck!

Oct 9, 09 3:01 am  · 
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aspect

agfa8x made a good point... sensory experience in phenomonon is different from phenomonology as in philosophy.

phenomonolgy deals with being as in present... while bergson n deleuze think that the only thing that is not real is the present, since the future constantly folds into the past, the point-fold is rather a concept for actualisation.

our sensory experience only 1/1000000.....0 % of the reality, there is a whole frontier of the unseen/unperceive to be realised.

Oct 9, 09 3:02 am  · 
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Helsinki

And
phenomenology
phenomonology
phenomonolgy
phenomonon
as well as
phenomenon
get all their meaning from how you define them (whichever way you happen to spell them...)

MaGabi seems to mean the Pallasmaa-type understanding of phenomenology in architecture. No need really to mix things up with scrambled philosophical "bablings".

---

As for the construction of thesis, you should start with a throughout defining of the terms you are using (at least the central ones) - otherwise the crits and feedback will plunge into endless ifs and buts and maybes about the meaning of phenomenology (and a few self-centered rambling show-off monologues from some professors...)

---

One way of approaching the affecting of perception about a place/space is the early modernist, (and later the decon) way - creating environments that put the viewer/experiencer "off-balance" and make her/him more aware of the surroundings and ones own body.

Oct 9, 09 5:26 am  · 
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don't forget to dress correctly as part of the process of refining your phenomenological thinking.

Oct 9, 09 7:51 am  · 
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toasteroven

agfa8x - agreed - perhaps the architectural manifestation of phenomenology is a bit simplistic - but understanding and studying total sensory perception (not just vision) -i.e. "the body" - is the central tenant of Merleau-Ponty's understanding of phenomenology and point of departure from Husserl - which is where Pallaasma draws most of his content (and which is much easier to translate to explorations in the built environment).

Clarification on husserls note on all things being based on vision. The scientific studies of sound, smell. Etc..all resort back to expressing proof of concepts via data and math and measurements, all of which are direct results of our visual sense. Example; a sound wave representation and values are based on its mapping of data onto a mathematical wave expressed in a graphic...

still - phenomenology is an attempt to get at a more "primitive" understanding of consciousness - Merleau-Ponty postulates that science is simply a visual abstraction of individually experienced phenomena and at best is still an incomplete picture of how we experience and understand the world.

Oct 9, 09 12:31 pm  · 
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hey zeus

i was thinking (as i down my 6th Leffe Brew Abbey Belgium Beer)....

what if i smelled piss from a dirty sweet smelling homeless man as i entered Den Hague by Richard Meier?

As most traveling architects do, we exprience a couple architectures and a few remain engrained in our memory.

Den Hague - year 1999 - entered building from back into glass facade at huge atrium - blown away - modernism in perfection - unbelievable experience, i can't really describe it...in short Richard Meiers books don't do him justice...as I remember Alfredo De Vido's words (paraphrased) "I worked with Meier at Marcel Breuers office, he couldn't draw, he just couldn't draw". I always thought DeVido had no vision, cleary Meier does, even if he couldn't draw....

what if I had smelled a stinky pissed soked soda drinking homeless man, how would of that changed my experience?

Ronchamp by Corb, ranks second to Meier's Den Hague, and once again what if there was some dude just going nutts in the pews? would my consious understanding been the same? I remember a storm cloud overlay to my Ronchamp visit and seeing corn field that reminded me of Missouri (in France) before entering...the rural, storm experience made the Ronchamp seem surreal....

Oct 9, 09 11:46 pm  · 
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nehalfatima

Hi, may I ask you, how did your thesis go ?I mean with topic phenomenology? 

Oct 30, 16 12:37 pm  · 
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priyaleenkaur

hi, did you continue with phenomenology as your design concept? if yes then i hope you don't mind me asking you as to how did it go ? what all papers and works did you study for the same and what according to you is the exact definition of phenomenology in terms of architecture.

thanks

Mar 17, 20 4:12 am  · 
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awashsdc

so what did you decide for your thesis building program on the concept of phenomenology?  As i am also doing my thesis on the same theme and i am facing the same problem. 

Nov 30, 20 5:44 am  · 
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