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Feeding the Other Senses: A Phenomenological Study in the Sight-focused Field of Architecture

http://www.good-truth.com/2013/06/the-five-senses.html

David Solano


Feeding the Other Senses: A Phenomenological Study in the Sight-focused Field of Architecture David Solano

A research project presented to The University of Florida Graduate School of Architecture in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Architecture

http://www.good-truth.com/2013/06/the-five-senses.html

University of Florida 2015


Table of Contents 4 List of figures 6 Acknowledgments 8 Abstract 11 Chapter 1 - Introduction 28 Chapter 2 - Methodology 34 Chapter 3 - Analysis 61 Chapter 4 - Design 74 Chapter 5 - Conclusion 76 Appendix 77 References 79 Figures


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List of Figures Figure 1.1 (pg. 10) The Art of Painting (1665-1668) by Johannes Vermeer Figure 1.2 (pg. 13) Still-Life with Musical Instruments (1623) by Pieter Claesz Figure 1.3 (pg. 17) Greater Columbus Convention Center (1993) Columbus, Ohio, Designed by Peter Eisenman Figure 1.4 (pg. 19) Fondation Louis Vuitton (2014) Paris, France, Designed by Frank Ghery Figure 1.5 (pg. 21) Marika-Alderton House (1994) Yirrkala Community, Eastern Arnheim Land, Northern Territory, Australia Designed by Glenn Murcutt Figure 1.6 & 1.7 (pg. 22) Thermal Vals (1994) Vals, Switzerland, Designed by Peter Zumthor Figure 1.8 (pg. 24) Loisium Hotel (2005) Langenlois, Austria, Designed by Steven Holl Figure 2.1 (pg. 24) The Incredulity of Saint Thomas (1601-1602) by Caravaggio Figure 2.2 (pg. 24) Senses and Design Variables Chart


List of Figures

Figure 2.3 (pg. 33) Design Criterion Figure 2.4 (pg. 35) Graphic Études Figure 3.1 (pg. 40) Site 1 Figure 3.2 (pg. 40) Site 2 Figure 3.3 (pg. 41) Partis (1 of 3) Figure 3.4 (pg. 42) Partis (2 of 3) Figure 3.5 (pg. 43) Partis (3 of 3) Figure 3.6 (pg. 44) Chosen Parti (C-9) Figure 3.7 (pg. 45) Sectional Preliminary Layout

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Figure 3.8 (pg. 46) Exploded Axonometric of Preliminary Layout Figure 3.9 (pg. 47) Graphic Light Analysis Figure 3.10 (pg. 48) Entry Spatial Adjacencies Study Figure 3.11 (pg. 49) Non-visual Key Design Opportunities for Entry Space Figure 3.12 (pg. 50) Isolated Etude Study Figure 3.13 (pg. 51) Developed C-9 Parti Figure 3.14 (pg. 52) City Path Figure 3.15 (pg. 56) Navigational Experiential Study (1 of 2) Figure 3.16 (pg. 57) Navigational Experiential Study (2 of 2)


List of Figures

Figure 4.1 (pg. 59) Analysis Flowchart Figure 4.2 (pg. 61) Preliminary Floor Plans Figure 4.3 (pg. 62) Perception Extents Figure 4.4 (pg. 63) Preliminary Sections Figure 4.5 (pg. 64-71) Preliminary Perspectives (1-15) Figure 4.6 (pg. 71) Preliminary Money Shot

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Acknowledgements I would like to thank my professors and colleagues who have provided invaluable insight for developing and producing my thesis project. I would like to especially thank my chair, Charlie Hailey, and co-chair, Vandana Baweja as well as my professor and director of the University of Florida Orlando Citylab campus, Frank Bosworth. I would also like to express my gratitude to my mom, dad, and sisters. Because of you all, I remained challenged and empowered to pursue my passion. Thank you.


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Abstract This study explores the phenomenological aspects of architectural design as an impetus for the design process. The existence of this study is in response to the problem of privileging vision in the architectural design process and the resulting architectural expression. It is understood that cognition of architecture is developed through sensory perception. For the sighted, architecture is immediately presented and understood as a visual expression. However, the visually impaired use the other senses to pay attention to non-visual aspects of architecture that are typically overlooked by the sighted. This disparity in cognition and general experience of architecture between a sighted and non-sighted experience polarizes how a building is understood. In hopes of creating a more unified experience of design, this study seeks to gain insights for the design process by catering to the other four senses (touch, hearing, smell, and taste). Sight as the sense of inadvertent attention is diminished in this study in order to explore how to integrate the other senses as important in the design. Furthermore, to equalize user experience and dramatize the dependence on the other senses, the sense of sight is eliminated, at the main space, as an input for the design process. Moving through the design, one experiences the building with an increased dependence on the other senses. The results of this study yield a dark restaurant (a pitch black dining experience) design. This is not in opposition to visually appealing architecture, as there is inevitably a physical architectural expression at the end of the study. Ultimately, this study seeks to offer valuable insights into creating architectural expression through designing a multi-sensory experience.


Chapter 1 - Introduction

Chapter 1 INTRODUCTION

I Figure 1.1 The Art of Painting (1665-1668) by Johannes Vermeer Source: upload.wikimedia.org In one of his most popular works, Vermeer masterfully depicts a moment in time.

can feel the weight of the curtain, wanting to drape back to its original position. But I am compelled to hold it up for as long as I can in order to witness the significance of this moment. The painter and model are unaware of my presence, which adds to the suspense of looking in. The slightest sound could give me away. So I watch in silence, and in doing so, I become a part of this rare moment. I take in the vibrancy of colors and how they fade into the distance of the room. The curtain is somewhat hiding me, but it is also hiding the window, behind it, that I can’t see. Thanks to the light from that window, I see the dramatic shadows accentuating every detail of material. I can see the model’s expression of happiness on her face. Aside from the painter’s brush, and the heels of both of his shoes, the creaky wooden chair is the most prominent sound. It bounces in the room off of the hard tiled floor up toward the high ceiling. The smell of aged wood is mixed with the smell of fresh air, let in by the cracked window behind the curtain. Every detail continued to add to my experience. Had it not been for the frame of this painting, the attention to details would have suspended my idea of reality. Johannes Vermeer’s The Art of Painting visually captures and exemplifies the details that are important in any experience. 13


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Architecture, in a sense, is no different. There is a core aspect of architectural design that is artistic. The artistic flair of the designer is articulated through the designed buildings that have the potential to become landmarks within the city. Landmarks are extremely important within the city for their contribution to one’s sense of way-finding and legibility of the city. Through patterns, recognizable symbols, and over-all systems, the city becomes mentally mapped, and increasingly understood.1 This is true also on the level of building design. Orienting one’s self, the decisions made in navigating the city, and simply experiencing the city itself, happen on a smaller scale inside of a building but are nonetheless still a part of developing a mental understanding of spaces. Both within cities and buildings, sight is a critical sense for experiencing and cognition. The sense of sight provides vital information such as assessing where one is, how to arrive to a particular destination, or appreciating the beauty of design. But how else can the experience of design be articulated? In the sight-focused field of architecture, how can or might architectural designs be experienced through our other senses? The privileging of vision in the design and cognition process can be seen as problematic for many reasons. Historically, philosophers identify the problem with the hegemony of vision by arguing, “beginning with the ancient Greeks, our Western culture has been dominated by an occularcentric paradigm, a vision-generated, vision-centered interpretation of knowledge, truth, and reality.”2 The dangerous imbalance of prioritizing sight in the design and cognition process is that privileging sight can have the subconscious effect of aligning “vision and knowledge, vision and ontology, vision and power, vision and ethics.”3 The equivocation of vision and ontology in architectural experience has reduced the design process and cognition of buildings to strategies of “advertising and instant persuasion; buildings have turned into image products detached from existential depth and sincerity.”4 In addition, the faculty of vision is only one of the numerous factors that contribute to experience and cognition of a building. In the design process and experience of a building, vision serves as an enticement to incorporate the other senses. Vision can pique curiosity about tactile, olfactory, and auditory sensations. Unfortunately, these experiential ingredients have been badly neglected in the architecture of our time.5 1 2 3 4 5

Kevin Lynch, The Image of the City (Cambridge, MA: MIT, 1960), 7. David Michael Levin, Modernity and the Hegemony of Vision (Los Angeles, CA: University of California, 1993), 2. Ibid, 3. Juhani Pallasmaa, The Eyes of the Skin: Architecture and the Senses (Great Britain: Wiley-Academy, 2005), 30. Ibid, 26.

Figure 1.2 Still-Life with Musical Instruments (1623) by Pieter Claesz Source: commons.wikimedia.org The painting is an allegory of the five senses. It could be interpreted that hearing is depicted through musical instruments: seeing, through the mirror; smelling, through an open perfume bottle and incense; touching, through the textures of the tortoise; and tasting, through food and drink.


Chapter 1 - Introduction

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For the design project, in order to explore the effect of architectural design on experience, I engaged the other senses apart from the ocular sense. Furthermore, in order to dramatize the investigation of the experience of design through the other senses and to better understand how design affects experience, I removed sight as an option for understanding the experience of design. By removing the sense of sight as an input for information, the experience of a designed space gains dependence on a heightened awareness of the other senses. This, in turn places a priority in the design process on the level of accommodation to the other senses (touch, hearing, smell, taste). Generally speaking, the experience and cognition of architecture and the city engages the senses of touching, hearing, and smelling. However, the sense of taste is typically reserved for eating. So, in order to utilize the full range of senses (except for sight), the project outcome is a dark restaurant. This typology allows me to speculate about the impact that design has on a full range of sensorial experience. By designing a dark restaurant, I am able to focus the design process on the effects of experience and cognition as understood through four of the five senses: touch, hearing, smell, and taste. In this study, I investigate how the design of a restaurant might impact one’s sense-oriented experience and cognition of an architectural design. When choosing the location for such a study, I find it important to fully experience the site context (versus choosing a remote location where I don’t reside). This full immersion gives me feedback and experience that is first hand. This being the case, I used my hometown of Orlando, Florida, as the location for my study. I imagine, however, that this type of study can be applied to many other cities. BACKGROUND AND SIGNIFICANCE

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his study is based on a field of research known as Phenomenology. What started in the 20th century as a philosophical movement, developed meaning in the field of architecture. The aim of phenomenology is to directly investigate and articulate phenomena as it is consciously experienced. This is done all while eliminating theories, as much as possible, about causal explanations. Attempting to remove preconceptions and presuppositions is also important in considering the object under observation.6 6

Walter Biemel, “Phenomenology (philosophy),” Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., last modified May 8, 2014, http://www.britannica.


Chapter 1 - Introduction

Objectivity in investigation is valuable because it allows the studied entity to be free from personal subjectivity. However, completely removing subjectivity can be difficult. This is often the point at which phenomenology gets critiqued: its attempt to use its innate subjectivity as the basis for a scientific approach to studying the objectivity and experience of environments and things. Phenomenologists would probably respond by stating that the intention of the study is to describe the complexity of the experience through a better understanding of the relationship between objectivity and subjectivity.7 For the purpose of this study, I used a phenomenological method as a means for exploring and interpreting the design process—not a tool for arriving at empirical evidence—with the intention of discovering practical appropriations of creating multi-sensory architecture. All of my findings are simply tools toward communicating and understanding architecture in ways that enhance and inform the design process toward richer, deliberate and strategic multi-sensory experiences. Architectural phenomenologist David Seamon8 defines phenomenology as “the interpretive study of human experience. The aim is to examine and clarify human situations, events, meanings, and experiences as they spontaneously occur in the course of daily life.”9 The goal is “a rigorous description of human life as it is lived and reflected upon in all of its first-person concreteness, urgency, and ambiguity.”10 Seamon goes on to say that this preliminary definition, however, is oversimplified and does not capture the full manner or range of phenomenological inquiry. Herbert Spiegelberg, the eminent phenomenological philosopher and historian of the phenomenological movement, declared that there are as many styles of phenomenology as there are phenomenologists —a situation that makes it difficult to articulate a thorough and accurate picture of the tradition.11 com/EBchecked/topic/455564/phenomenology. 7 Patricia Martin, “Is Phenomenology in Architecture Dead?,” Martín Del Guayo - Architecture and Urbanism, last modified July 6, 2012, http://www.martindelguayo.com/internal-blog/isphenomenologyinarchitecturedead. 8 Editor of Environmental & Architectural Phenomenology Newsletter. 9 David Seamon, “Phenomenology, Place, Environment, and Architecture: A Review” Environmental & Architectural Phenomenology Newsletter, accessed October 21, 2014, http://www.arch.ksu.edu/seamon/seamon_revieweap.htm. 10 Ibid. 11 Ibid.

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If I were to articulate the style of phenomenology that I am focusing on, I would include the distinction against architectural style that generates its inspiration from visual cues that often never engage the other senses in a deliberate manner. When the other senses are engaged, it is an afterthought, and develops after the visual “form” of the building is already designed. In a way, this approach seems to make people “fit” or conform into a design. This type of retinal architecture that gives primacy to the sense of sight is also sometimes best visually appreciated from above (helicopter view) which puts the average user at a disadvantage because those views are difficult to access and for many may never be accessed or experienced. The language used to describe this type of visual architecture is also sometimes communicated poetically by assigning fantastical actions to the building (like “movement,” “dancing,” or “growing from the ground”). Moreover, form and poetic descriptions in architecture are understood as inescapable. Recognizing this, the style of architectural phenomenology I am aiming to explore consciously focuses on exploring architecture (in regard to the qualities of form and description) in a way that, upon experiencing the architecture, makes form more accessible and descriptions more practical. The phenomenological architecture I want to explore has attributes of form whose genesis and inspiration are derived from human scale and readily accessible to sensory communication. In other words, whereas retinal architecture simply “fits” people into primarily visually stimulating buildings, the style I want to engage customizes design around the complexities of human senses. Lastly, the ultimate assessment of a successful solution that integrates this design premise is best realized in the content of what the everyday user of the building chooses to communicate about the building. PRECEDENTS

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or this study, I have chosen a few examples that are both antithetical (sight-focused design) and a few that are supportive of the qualities I wish to incorporate (haptic, multi-sensory design), into the design I am proposing.

One antithetical example is the Greater Columbus Convention Center in downtown Columbus, Ohio, designed by architect Peter Eisenman. The inspiration of the design is that it evokes the site history of a previously existing rail yard. This inspiration is not necessarily in contrast to designing a multi-sensory building, but what is in contrast is that it achieves this concept mainly through building form—which


Chapter 1 - Introduction

Figure 1.3 Greater Columbus Convention Center (1993) Columbus, Ohio Designed by Peter Eisenman Source: dispatch.com An aerial view best depicts the historic rail yard inspiration for the building form.

is mostly appreciated through the faculty of sight. The form serves no other designed purpose other than inferencing the historical rail yard. Moreover, the understanding of its initial inspiration (the historical rail yard) is manifested and experienced best when seen from a helicopter or airplane. The architect heralds this building as a type of symbol to the movement of Deconstructivism.12 As an assessment of the success of the building, the architect himself likes to tell of a meeting room 12 “Deconstructivism,” Merriam-Webster, accessed November 6, 2014, http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ deconstructivism. The movement of Deconstructivism is mainly concerned with a breaking away from strict attention to functional concerns and conventional design elements (such as right angles or grids). It encourages radical freedom of form and the open manifestation of complexity. The “breaking away” from convention is the premise for this movement. This emphasis on form alone as the inspiration for design is in contrast to multi-sensory design that seeks to engage experience beyond what can be appreciated through sight alone.

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inside the 580,000 square-foot structure that is so disorienting that it caused one visitor to vomit.13 The perpetration of this tale by the architect is a good dramatization of furthering the cause of deconstructivism but it accentuates its antithetical nature to my study. This is because the architect heralds form and disorientation in this building as the main qualities to be applauded and measured against for “successful” design. Making forms that are simply “anti-conventional” does not sum multisensory design. Forms emerge as the design process considers catering primarily to cognition, sensation and accessible experience for inspiration in the design process. Another example of retinal architecture is Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris, France, designed by architect Frank Gehry. This building does a poor job in experiential qualities as cited by a user voicing their concerns: “The museum itself is of questionable value as an exhibition space, because once you take away the exterior there are limited galleries, all of which look and feel a little awkward to me, with loads of glass and viewing areas designed more to [visually] admire the architecture than the art. Also, the lack of attention paid to movement and flow throughout the building is difficult to understand for an architect as experienced as Gehry—he is 85. A heralded reliance on “aerospace technology” and special 3-D software developed by Gehry Technologies (which made it possible to model complex shapes imagined for the exterior) is redundant once inside, as everywhere image takes precedence over substance: Visitors struggle with limited restrooms, small elevators, and a tiny restaurant inadequate to the crowd capacity.”14

This user does not mention any sensory qualities about this building. The phrases used in describing the building are congruent with the design process being primarily concerned with architectural “image.” The user mentions the insufficient limited galleries which are the prime function of the building (suggesting that the building program is compromised in order to serve the image of the exterior). The user also mentions that the image takes precedence over substantial provisions like the lack of adequate restroom facilities, elevator size, and restaurant capacity. Nowhere in this user 13 Blair Kamin, “Deconstructivism Strikes Columbus!,” Chicago Tribune, last modified April 18, 1993, http://articles.chicagotribune. com/1993-04-18/entertainment/9304180023_1_ballroom-buildings-meeting-room. 14 Benjamin Genocchio, “As Museum, Frank Gehry’s Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris Disappoints,” Artnet News, last modified November 6, 2014, http://news.artnet.com/art-world/as-a-museum-frank-gehrys-fondation-louis-vuitton-in-paris-sucks-155242.

Figure 1.4 Fondation Louis Vuitton (2014) Paris, France Designed by Frank Gehry Source: businesspme.com Frank Gehry has mastered the art of creating a compelling image as demonstrated in the architectural expression of this museum.


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review were the other senses mentioned, indicating the hype and primacy around the image of the building (as well as the reputation of the architect who designs such visually stimulating architecture). Most of Gehry’s signature work is antithetical to my study. However, to the credit of his designs, the complex forms do not require a helicopter—the depth of his exterior designed forms are visually intriguing enough from normal eye-level view. Although a helicopter isn’t needed, the only sense one does require is sight. As a matter of fact, two experiential narratives of the building (one description from a user with only the sense of sight juxtaposed to another building user with only the other senses) would probably yield two dramatically different buildings. If this is even remotely true, the building has lost many opportunities to become even more memorable and purposeful. Finally, it seems as if the form of this and other Gehry buildings (Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, California; Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain; Dancing House in Prague, Czech Republic) are probably meant to imply movement or folding, but this implication capitalizes only upon sight and imagination— the buildings aren’t actually moving or folding. For the deconstructivist, sight and image is everything. To the credit of these antithetical examples, they actually do have the potential to be buildings designed in a way that could be considered multi sensory. Achieving this is only realized upon the review from a user’s experience. These buildings would succeed as being multi-sensory if what is communicated about the buildings’ designs are that they cater well to haptic, audible, olfactory, palpable qualities. Unfortunately, these examples (along with countless others) exist primarily as an “image” to be experienced—a statement to be made about what they are not: conventional. These buildings would be positive examples if the users felt encouraged to experience the building primarily based on qualities that invite the sensation of feeling a color, the memory formation of a smell, the omni-directionality of a sound, or even the taste of a material (like stone),15 to name a few possibilities. These experiential qualities go beyond the cool “image” as a cause for invitation. Furthermore, the purpose behind designing for a multi-sensory experience is that it has the potential to be more meaningful, dynamic, and memorable than simply the design of a cool-looking building. A positive example of designing beyond sight alone is found among the many designs of Glenn Murcutt. Murcutt focuses on preserving the natural environment with a focus on the movement of light and wind. Some of his buildings are simple looking, but his design process incorporates a 15

Juhani Pallasmaa, The Eyes of the Skin: Architecture and the Senses (Great Britain: Wiley-Academy, 2005), 59.


Chapter 1 - Introduction

Figure 1.5 Marika-Alderton House (1994) Yirrkala Community, Eastern Arnheim Land, Northern Territory, Australia Designed by Glenn Murcutt Source: biblioteca.iednetwork.com Indigenous materials accessible to touch makes the experience of this building, multi-sensory.

sensitivity to meaningful experiential factors. Materiality that is locally sourced, like glass, stone, brick, concrete, and corrugated metal make sensory connections with cultural history and familiarity. Architect Peter Zumthor is also a great example of emphasizing experience in the design process. He invokes the importance of “presence” in designing a building. An example of how he constructs presence in architecture is demonstrated in his design of Thermal Vals in Vals, Switzerland. He believes that “Form follows anything” meaning that the form of a building is open to any look. In regards to the form of Thermal Vals, Zumthor says, We actually never talk about form in the office. We talk about construction, we can talk about science, and we talk about feelings ... From the beginning the materials are there, 23


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Chapter 1 - Introduction

right next to the desk ... when we put materials together, a reaction starts ... this is about materials, this is about creating an atmosphere, and this is about creating architecture.16

For this study, the look of multi-sensory design is not as important as the materiality and the resulting user experience. Zumthor’s example does just that. The building incorporates materials of locally quarried stones and Italian stones and thereby utilizing materiality to cater to presence. When Zumthor was a design professor at Harvard, he asked his students to design a house for someone they shared a close relationship with. The design was to be without form and they were not allowed to communicate the design through plan, section, or through a model. The purpose of that exercise was to inspire a type of space that could best be described through sounds, smells, and verbal descriptions. About this exercise, Zumthor said, When I look at this kind of house without a form, what interests me the most is emotional space. If a space doesn’t get to me, then I am not interested ... I want to create emotional spaces which get to you.17

The approach of creating emotional spaces engages all of the senses and leaves an impression on the user that is memorable. This is ultimately the goal of designing for multi-sensory experience.

Figure 1.6 (Opposite, left) & Figure 1.7 (Opposite, right) Thermal Vals (1996) Vals, Switzerland Designed by Peter Zumthor Source: Flickr.com The design’s starting point of “presence” is experienced through the other four senses - with or without prior knowledge of “presence” as design intent.

Finally, another positive example of designing for multi-sensory experience is manifested in the Loisium hotel designed by architect Steven Holl. Holl also highlights sensory experiences in architectural design. He designed a hotel that houses a restaurant in which he demonstrates his emphasis on architectural experience, highlighted through hapticity of materials (large perforated steel mesh screens, tiled floors) as well as visual and olfactory connections to the surrounding city (through positioning of the building on the existing vineyard fields). Steven Holl described Loisium on his firm’s website: The project is composed of three parts: the existing vaults, which will be accessible to 16 Gili Merin, “Peter Zumthor: Seven Personal Observations on Presence In Architecture,” ArchDaily, last modified December 3, 2013, http://www.archdaily.com/452513/peter-zumthor-seven-personal-observations-on-presence-in-architecture/. 17

Ibid.

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Chapter 1 - Introduction

visitors, the wine center and a hotel with a fine restaurant, conference and meeting facilities, an Aveda spa and 82 guest rooms. Like the grid of the city, the geometric spacing of the vineyard rows is continuous through the landscape connecting the three elements. The 53m X 53m square plan is aligned with the strict geometry of the surrounding vineyard rows. Offering a variety of activities and room types, the Loisium Hotel Wine and Spa Resort offers guests and visitors a variety of experiences. Earth-like materials and palette combined with the views of the surrounding landscape create a strong connection and relationship of the hotel to its context.18

REVIEW OF LITERATURE

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uhani Pallasmaa’s book The Eyes of the Skin: Architecture and the Senses makes a compelling argument for the significance of the tactile sense in a field that places a dangerous primacy on the sense of vision. Since its publication, Eyes of the Skin has become an influential and inspirational source for exploring the significance of the senses.

This writing is important and foundational for my study because it shares the same basis. It challenges the primacy of sight (over the other senses) as the main method for understanding and perceiving architectural spaces. Pallasmaa further articulates the problem of occularcentrism (the primacy of sight) as: ...the isolation of the eye outside its natural interaction with the other sense modalities, and from the elimination and suppression of other senses, which increasingly reduce and restrict the experience of the world into the sphere of vision. This separation and reduction fragments the innate complexity, comprehensiveness and plasticity of the perceptual system, reinforcing a sense of detachment and alienation.19

Figure 1.8 Loisium Hotel (2005) Langenlois, Austria Designed by Steven Holl Source: mimoa.eu

Identifying the effects of occularcentrism as the reduction of experience to a sphere of vision is a fundamental basis for this study. This study looked at broadening one’s experience of architecture beyond the enticing sphere of vision. It sought to assemble some of the complexities of architectural

The vineyard context adds an olfactory quality to the exterior of the building.

18 “Loisium Hotel,” Steven Holl Architects, accessed November 6, 2014, http://www.stevenholl.com/project-detail. php?id=51&worldmap=true. 19 Juhani Pallasmaa, The Eyes of the Skin: Architecture and the Senses (Great Britain: Wiley-Academy, 2005), 39.

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experience that can be better comprehended through a more holistic use of the perceptual system, thereby strengthening the awareness of the other senses (and by extension, the experience) and the comprehension of the architecture. Pallasmaa writes intricately of the power that each sense has and its affect on one’s experience. For example, when describing the sense of smell, he writes, We need only eight molecules of substance to trigger an impulse of smell in a nerve ending, and we can detect more than 10,000 different odors. The most persistent memory of any space is often its smell. ... A particular smell makes us unknowingly re-enter a space completely forgotten by the retinal memory; the nostrils awaken a forgotten image and we are enticed to enter a vivid daydream. The nose makes the eyes remember. Memory and imagination remain associated.20

The link between memory and scent is powerful and evidences a strong case for deliberate strategies that cater to multi-sensory architectural experience. In regards to scent, the design of a restaurant can capitalize on memory making in a unique way. Deliberate strategies can harness the power of scent in a way that eases navigation, distinguishes spaces, or even has the potential to hint at the time of day. Designing in this way provides an abstract source of inspiration and a practical source that serves memory. Assessing how well a space is designed (for any of the senses) depends on how effective the design strategy is toward serving a particular sense at any place in the design. Pallasmaa suggests that the sense of sight is merely an extension of a more basic sense: touch. He says that, All the senses, including vision, are extensions of the tactile sense; the senses are specializations of skin tissue, and all sensory experiences are modes of touching and thus related to tactility. Our contact with the world takes place at the boundary line of the self through specialized parts of our enveloping membrane.21

To support this basis, he refers to the medical evidence of anthropologist, Ashley Montagu: [The skin] is the oldest and the most sensitive of our organs, our first medium of 20 21

Ibid, 54. Ibid, 10.


Chapter 1 - Introduction

communication and our most efficient protector ... Even the transparent cornea of the eye is overlain by a layer of modified skin ... Touch is the parent of our eyes, ears, nose, and mouth. It is the sense which became differentiated into the others, a fact that seems to be recognized in the age-old evaluation of touch as “the mother of the senses.”22

What this might mean for this study is that every architectural surface becomes accessible. The character of surfaces being engaged is extremely important. In addition, how one surface relates to other adjacent surfaces can perpetuate congruence, enhance contrast, elicit surprise, or possibly even build anticipation. Pallasmaa elaborates on the five senses and what they mean for design and its impact on one’s experience of architecture and self. In the final section of his book, Pallasmaa summarizes the timeless task of architecture as being able to, ...create embodied and lived existential metaphors that concretize and structure our being in the world. Architecture reflects, materializes and eternalizes ideas and images of ideal life. Buildings and towns enable us to structure, understand and remember the shapeless flow of reality and, ultimately, to recognize and remember who we are. Architecture enables us to perceive and understand the dialectics of permanence and change, to settle ourselves in the world, and to place ourselves in the continuum of culture and time.23

This passage can be suggesting that buildings are extensions of ourselves. They can become tools of telling time, educating us on the history of our culture and creating contexts that assist in defining who we are. Seen in this light, the role of the design process demands a high amount of responsibility and respect. It is, then, inconsiderate to relegate these responsibilities primarily onto the abilities of sight. Beyond particular styles and architectural conventions, buildings are constantly communicating with its users. A building’s ability to communicate meaningfully and clearly seems to be the charge of any designer. In memorable experiences of architecture, space, matter and time fuse into one singular 22 23

Ibid, 11. Ibid, 71.

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dimension, into the basic substance of being, that penetrates our consciousness. We identify ourselves with this space, this place, this moment, and these dimensions become ingredients of our very existence. Architecture is the art of reconciliation between the world, and ourselves and this mediation takes place through the senses.24

Chapter 2 METHODOLOGY

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rior to establishing criterion for this study, figure 2.2 explores the four senses and a sample (non-exhaustive list) of the characteristics that can be manipulated through design. Furthermore, these characteristics can be classified by aiding navigation, or spatial function and in varying degrees of importance.

Senses 24

The sense of sight is often confirmed through the sense of touch.

Design variables Touch

Texture (N,F)

Temperature (N,F)

Weight (N,F)

Hear

Sound (N,F)

Intensity (N,F)

Spatial/orientation (N,F)

Smell

Taste (F)

Intensity (N,F)

duration (N,F)

Taste

Texture (F)

Temperature (F)

Flavor/Intensity (F)

N = Navigation

Ibid, 72.

Figure 2.1 (Opposite page) The Incredulity of Saint Thomas by Caravaggio (1601-1602) Source: upload.wikimedia.org

F = Function/activity

Figure 2.2 Senses & Design Variables Chart 19 different variable design possibilities can serve as inspiration for purpose in the design process.


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Although this chart is useful in providing options for design moves, they are only supportive of the purpose and main focus of this study. The purpose of this study is to produce a pilot study25 exploring sources of inspiration (that can be appreciated through the other senses, other than sight alone). To do this, the main focus and scope involves a thorough study of the impetus for sense-oriented design opportunities. Approaching this study, I wanted to ground the development of criterion in research that considers the other senses in the user narrative experience (with particular attention to ordering of experience and sequence) as paramount. Establishing criterion for this study involved utilizing existing research26 performed through the University of Pennsylvania. The purpose of that research was to explore and discover the difficulties posed in navigation for the visually impaired. The focus of their study highlighted the need for technology for disabled building users. Ultimately, the research explored a variety of approaches toward enhancing the safe navigation of blind adults that utilize the Carnegie Mellon campus. This existing research proved useful for my study as it contains documentation of first-hand experiences of the visually impaired (completely blind) inside of buildings. The experiences (although not exhaustive) provide vital information for developing an understanding of what visually impaired building users typically pay attention to (such as environmental cues and landmarks). Any design that is concerned primarily with all of the other senses can learn a great deal from the visually impaired (completely blind) about where to focus design efforts in order to maximize the architectural impact on the other senses. And for this reason, from this point on, the visually impaired is considered to be the typical building user. Below are some of their quotes: 1. “I moved around a couple corners, down the hall, past two doors... I kept my hand on the wall so I would know what I was passing” 2. “Unfortunately I wasn’t able to mentally map the layout of the building. I was too busy trying to find a familiar landmark” 25 “Pilot Study,” Explorable, accessed April 8, 2015, https://explorable.com/pilot-study. A pilot study is a standard scientific tool for ‘soft’ research, allowing scientists to conduct a preliminary analysis before committing to a full-blown study or experiment. 26 Bernardine Dias, “Towards Safe Urban Navigation for visually Impaired Travel,” University of Pennsylvania, accessed November 6, 2014, http://utc.ices.cmu.edu/utc/CMU%20Reports%202013%202/DiasUTCFinalreport_2013.pdf.


Chapter 2 - Methodology

3. “…. I realized I was not where I should be. The approach was wrong. So was the angle of the door handle” 4. “The rubber mat felt right....I followed the edge of the mat with my cane ….. But the mat ended too soon” 5. “The feel of the rubber mat tells me that I am nearing the bulletin board and need to be ready to cross the hall” 6. “Every time I go to class, I walk down that hall and pass that location. And every time I do, I smell coffee right before I hit the rubber mat” 7. “I know the campus does deep cleaning during breaks... The halls can be a mess. It makes it extra hard for me to get around …. The mess covered up all my landmarks” 8. “But the wind was also interfering with my ability to use scent and touch ... Because of the constant wind against my skin, I couldn’t feel the displacement of air as people moved past me...” 9. “I can smell the scent of people... Sometimes I smell food, as someone eats a snack near me. I can often determine my location by scent, as well. Hallways smell bland and stale. I can smell coffee near the snack room.” 10. “Touch and the displacement of air give me more useful clues. There is a slight movement in the air when people walk past... Or I can feel a “whoosh” of cold or fresh air when someone opens the building doors.”27

I distilled the way these users articulate their experiences in a manner that serves the aim of this study. In essence, the following points are vital to consider at the impetus of design opportunities. The takeaways from the prior quotes (the numbers correspond) are as follows: 1. Counting corners, counting doors, sequencing memory, building’s floor plan, mental map (through touch) 2. Seeks familiarity; Identify a landmark first, develop a mental map second 27

Ibid.

33


34 - Feeding the Other Senses

3. Details relay positional information 4. Trusting consistent materiality for navigation; materiality as an extension of self in space 5. Indication by materiality & memory, preparation by materiality 6. Navigational consistency; sequencing memory; smell as an orienting force 7. Seeks simple, clear path to landmarks 8. Air velocity 9. Orientation by scent, proximity by scent 10. Air displacement, temperature I then organized these insights by grouping them according to related themes I find to be the essence of each statement. The five themes/categories that emerged are position, memory, air, landmarks, and materiality (figure 2.3). For the visually impaired, position in spaces may not be as readily understood as those who are sighted, and is thereby a critical point to explicitly cater to. Memory is a shared critical aspect of both sighted and visually impaired building users. One of the main differences when it comes to memory, however, is that for the sighted, memory is mostly informed through the dedicated ability of vision. However, for the visually impaired, the ability to memorize features capitalizes on the same senses of input that are being used to navigate—putting additional responsibilities on the other senses. Reducing the responsibilities on the task of memory aides in the ease of navigation through a building. Air is an aspect of the building that visually dependent building users may have difficulty consciously noticing. For the visually impaired, air is a medium that carries additional information. A lot of times, air can be understood as the connective tissue between self and distant objects. In Figure 2.3, position, memory, and air are intangible, mental considerations that are supported through physical architectural expressions. The architectural expressions are categorized as landmarks and materiality. Landmarks (and materiality) serve as tangible objects in space. Their dimensions, scale, character, availability, and purpose are all aspects that the visually impaired depend on. Figure 2.3 provides the basis for all design moves and is split into two sections, “design process” and “design features.” The design process items are things that cannot be built, but are mental considerations that guide the resulting physical design features (all of which are derived from insights embedded in the user quotes). Figure 2.3 is a graphical organization of vital criterion.


-Sequencing memory -Building’s floor plan -Touch mental map -Landmark first, mental map second -Counting corners & doors

Air

-Orientation by scent -Proximity by scent -Positional information (by details)

Memory

Design Process

Position

Chapter 2 - Methodology

-Air velocity -Air displacement -Temperature

Design Features

-Familiarity -Consistantly provide navigation -Simple, clear path to landmarks

Materiality

This chart distills the first hand experience of some of the most important factors in the sensory experience of architecture for the visually impaired.

Landmarks

Figure 2.3 Design Criterion -Indication -Preparation -Navigation -Extension of self in space

The following is the criterion expressed as a checklist: Design process: How might positional orientation be informed by scent? How might scent inform proximity? How might details inform one’s position? What factors contribute to a memorable sequencing of spaces? How can a building’s floor plan become memorable? How might the building’s tactility be patterned in a memorable way? How might I eliminate distractions that inhibit the formulation of mental map making? What techniques can provide easy mental retention of corner and door quantities? What are some ways to control air velocity? How might air be displaced? What techniques might I employ for air to retain and/or communicate temperature?

35


36 - Feeding the Other Senses

Design features: Can the landmark be considered as “familiar?” Does the landmark consistently provide navigation? Is there a simple, clear path to the landmark? What does the material indicate? What does the material prepare the user for? In what way is the material providing navigation? How is the material connecting/extending “self” in the space? I then developed graphic icons that would simplify the combination of the elements of Figure 2.3 with the senses relevant for navigation (touch, hearing, smell). This combination resulted in the icons of Figure 2.4. Each icon stands for an area of study (étude) and architectural opportunity. The argument can be made that the awareness of any of the phenomena represented by these études, depend on the abilities and biases of the perceiver. This is undoubtedly true, however the purpose of articulating these phenomena is to call out the dynamics that exist in navigating architecture (approaching as well as inside). In other words, regardless of one’s degree of abilities/impairments and biases, these dynamics exist. Identifying these experiential dynamics open up the opportunities for specific and intentional architectural treatments that engage users based on the non-visual information inherent within them. Furthermore, each étude contains inherent related information to its title. For example, 1.1 Sound Dynamics primarily depicts how sound reveals geometries (more on this later), but it also implies sound content such as the difference in the sound of a passing car versus heels on pavement. 1.1 SOUND DYNAMICS depict that building users “hear” the nearby architecture around them from the reflection of sound off of surfaces. Through sound, one can “feel the building.” An example of how some visually impaired capitalize on this process is through a technique called “flash sonar.” Like echolocation used by animals such as dolphins, whales, and bats, flash sonar is considered to be a developed human skill of echolocation used to interpret the intricacies of returning sound. The interpretation of that returned sound develops an “image” of the space/object. Through this technique, sound is processed in regions of the brain that are dedicated to interpreting visual stimuli—enabling

Figure 2.4 (Opposite page) Graphic Études 2.1 adapted from tigerman-mccurry. com 3.1 adapted from Victor Olgyay, Design with Climate 6 icons that graphically summarize the non-visual cues that aid in navigation.


1.1 SOUND DYNAMICS

1.2 SPATIAL SCENT CUES

2.1 COUNTED CORNERS & DOORS

Brickwork, painted 0.01 - 0.02

_

Acoustic tiles 0.4 - 0.8

+

Hardwood 0.3

3.1 AIR PRESSURE

4.1 URBAN BRAILLE

5.1 MATERIAL QUALITIES


38 - Feeding the Other Senses

echolocators to “see sound.”28 Although echolocation is not a required skill for hearing nearby architecture, designing with this étude in mind benefits everyone with the capacity to hear. 1.2 SPATIAL SCENT CUES depict spatial scents (in this case, an inside scent, shown in white, and an outside scent, shown in gray) that mixes, creating distinction as well as a combination (using the same basic spatial layout of icon 1.1 Sound Dynamics). Spatial scents occur naturally (through activity, materiality, etc.) and can cue location and thereby be used to aid navigation. The characteristics of scent changes and content can indicate location, transition, time, intensity, and source to name a few. Designing with this in mind yields techniques in form and/or sequencing that relates to the retention or release of scent. 2.1 COUNTED CORNERS AND DOORS operates as a symbol but is literally the floor plan of the Illinois Regional Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped designed by architect Stanley Tigerman. The symbolic reference of this floor plan is intended to represent what designers typically draw on floor plans—walls, windows, columns, thresholds, ceiling conditions, corners, and doors. An experiential walk-through of a floor plan, however, is understood by the visually impaired as quantifiable points in memory where notable elements occurred in time along a path. No one ever experiences the elements of an entire floor plan in one moment. Being mindful of user paths and the number of corners, doors, etc. along those paths becomes a valuable tool, which when used can greatly simplify the responsibilities loaded in the task of navigation. 3.1 AIR PRESSURE differentials and its causes may be difficult to link at times. However, there is more immediate information that this phenomena can provide. Air pressure and the movement of air can be conductive of useful clues such as particular scents as well as proximity to, and movement of, people. Accounting for significant directions of air (regardless of causes like windows, openings, tunnels, etc.) allows the designer to harness and direct the embedded information that air pressure and air movement carries. 4.1 URBAN BRAILLE is diagrammatic of urban sidewalk paths and intersection thresholds. The idea 28 “Mapping the Brains of Human Echolocators,” io9, accessed April 8, 2015, http://io9.com/5805758/mapping-the-brains-of-human-echolocators.


Chapter 2 - Methodology

behind this representation is that there are existing systems along a path in the contexts of which buildings are situated. Local, state, and national laws have had a part to play in shaping the outcome of these contexts. The regulations and conventions that exist as a result of these laws create an environment—a vernacular—that is to be interpreted among the visually impaired. This language is consistent (most of the time) to the benefit of the visually impaired. It is important to experience the non-visual aspects of these laws/codes in the built contextual environment. Identifying and documenting the particularities and the sequencing of these aspects is also important to do. The reason these exercises are important is because the environmental context these laws create amount to a substantial portion of one’s experience (depending on the duration of exposure to them). The responsibility at the site boundaries of a design become the point of the proverbial “experience baton” being passed. A designer can ignore this juxtaposition and still contribute to the contextual environment. However, being conscious of the environment creates opportunities for thinking about how to engage the larger, existing urban conversation in deliberate and creative ways. 5.1 MATERIAL QUALITIES depict a sample of materials and beyond how they appear visually, there are attributes that are inherent from one to the next. Attributes that concern the visually impaired are, for example, haptic qualities, and sound reflection/absorption/transmission coefficients of the materials. Specifying the materiality in regards to its non-visual attributes toward intentional outcomes of spaces is another unavoidable responsibility in creating an articulated environment for navigation and identification through, and in spaces. As mentioned before, these études represent areas of study that can create meaningful architectural opportunities. But engaging the user’s sensorial experience in meaningful ways begs the question, what is considered to be “meaningful?” Being that “meaningful” is such a relative concept, it is important to define the scope of what this denotes. Looking back at the research conducted by the University of Pennsylvania, all of the respondents spoke about building experience as it happened along a path of navigation. Secondly, all of the events that happened along this path combined to compose an impression of their experience inside of a building. Although some of the events were not explicitly tied to architectural features, experience along a path can have direct connections to architectural decisions. For this project, then, “meaningful” is defined by architectural decisions that cater to the safe and easy navigation toward a destination—in this case, the dark restaurant. 39


40 - Feeding the Other Senses

Chapter 3 ANALYSIS

B

ased on what was previously mentioned, the project outcome of this study is a dark restaurant. The idea for a dark restaurant comes from the theoretical basis of utilizing four of the five senses (all except sight) in order to deliberately engage user experience in meaningful ways. The project outcome typology is a restaurant because the sense of taste is typically reserved for eating establishments. The restaurant type is “dark” (pitch-black) in order to dramatically serve the purpose of engaging the other senses. I don’t see much benefit in making the entire program dark. I think it is beneficial to include light, but to do so in such a way that darkness is strategically the theoretical “there-ness” of the building. There are possibly several ways to imply this basis so that it is understood experientially in the narrative of engaging the building. For example, it may be achieved through a strategic placing within the building, or by simply hierarchical size (when compared to other parts of the building’s program). To be clear, however, this pilot study is examining the elements that yield the impetus of design strategies. This means that regardless of building typology, this study is valuable for the approach to designing a building rather than the particular design of a dark restaurant. As a matter of fact, the


Chapter 3 - Analysis

resulting design is schematic in terms of details and is intended to be so in order to emphasize the “pilotâ€? nature of initial design strategy incorporation. Limiting the scope at initial design strategies allows for discovering multiple important design aspects while approaching the design process. Designing a dark restaurant (or any building) with the necessary details extracted from this pilot study would require a greater amount of time and dedication to appropriately incorporate the ĂŠtudes and responsibly design every square inch of the building. Nevertheless it is essential to provide a tool for speculating about the elements that yield the impetus for design strategies. Therefore, I developed the necessary practical aspects of a prototype project (site selection and program development). One of the inextricable factors of sense-oriented design is its location. For sense-oriented architecture, the context is the existing conversation that a design enters into and engages. So, when picking a site for this project, the possibilities for a site are focused through the phenomenological basis of this study (first-hand experience). Picking a site that I can study first-hand allows me the inputs that are important for assessing various experiential qualities that may be difficult to recognize if the site were not local. Since first-hand experience is crucial to this study, I chose my hometown of Orlando, Florida. The downtown area of Orlando was chosen based on its common characteristics of typical cities (skyscrapers, density, various business vendors). Cities are an excellent place for the visually impaired and provide multi-sensory experiences that may be difficult to find in rural settings. Also, the connectedness and availability of mass transit in and out of the downtown area enables the visually impaired to easily access the design. Downtown is heavily developed at the core, and so, contextually, the non-visual cues in the environment are predictable and lend to ease of navigation. On the other hand, there are site possibilities that exist within a few miles of the city center. These areas are still open and underdeveloped and provide more room for a greater building footprint. The first possibility for a site is located at the center of downtown Orlando at the corner of East Pine St. and South Magnolia Ave (Figure 3.1, on the next page). This location has stood vacant for quite some time. It has the perks of being connected to a variety of different businesses including several other places to eat, a movie theater, housing, and banks, to name a few. The second site possibility is the square block located off of West Amelia St., North Garland Ave. and West Concord St (figure 3.2). The 41


42 - Feeding the Other Senses

location in figure 3.2 is much more flexible than site 1 due to its size. Its adjacent proximity to the Lynx and Sunrail systems are also positive features. However, architectural density isn’t particularly high at this block, meaning that the connection to existing buildings is distant. For the visually impaired, this distance can add difficulty to space perception and the inconsistency of adjacent buildings and surfaces will ultimately pose a challenge for navigation to and around the site. Weighing the pros and cons of both sites, the location of site 1 seems to provide the best alternative for a prototypical urban project because of its connectedness to the city. In addition, the size of site 1 can help to keep the issues and scope more limited (as compared to site 2). This is of benefit in order to dedicate time toward exploring the phenomenological and practical issues of this study.

Figure 3.1 (Above, left) Data adapted from: Google Maps Site 1 Figure 3.2 (Above, right) Data adapted from: Google Maps Site 2


Chapter 3 - Analysis

Continuing on, I began to do a series of section partis (scale-less) to explore the dark/light relationship on a generic site. The following three pages depict 33 different configurations (nine shown here) based on five types of separation (horizontal, vertical, inset, transition, and thirds) and at three different levels of grade. The configurations imply a schematic sequence of experience within a two story building.

GRADE

HORIZONTAL

VERTICAL

A

Dark

Light

Light

Dark

1

2

1/4 GRADE The division separations of light and dark spaces create interesting moments at potential entrances, within the building itself, and contextually in the urban setting.

1/2 GRADE

Figure 3.3 Partis (1 of 3)

C

1

Light

Dark

Light

Dark

3

Dark

Light

1

Dark

Light

Dark

B

Light

3

2

Dark

Light

Light

Dark

2

3 43


44 - Feeding the Other Senses Figure 3.4 Partis (2 of 3)

INSET

1/2 GRADE

1/4 GRADE

GRADE

Inset division configurations

A B C

Dark

Light

Dark

Light

Light

Dark

Light

Dark

4

5

7

Dark

Light

Dark

Light

Light

Dark

Light

Dark

4

4

6

5

6

7

Dark

Light

Dark

Light

Light

Dark

Light

Dark

5

6

7


Chapter 3 - Analysis Figure 3.5 Partis (3 of 3)

TRANSITION

THIRDS

Transition and thirds division configurations

Dark

Light

Light

Dark

8

9

Dark

Light

Light

Dark

8

8

9

Dark

Light

Light

Dark

9

10

11

10

11

10

11 45


46 - Feeding the Other Senses

The types of divisions are composed considering the most basic of dark/light relationship configurations. The “horizontal” division implies a dark and light story. This is perhaps the simplest type of division. The “vertical” division is a natural next step in augmenting the horizontal. The “inset” division introduces hierarchy into the configurations. The “transition” and “thirds” divisions introduce a tertiary spatial type. Analyzing the three grade options, row “A” (Grade) is beneficial because it lends to a congruent contextual profile. Having a congruent contextual profile provides a type of consistency within the city vernacular. Consistency in some ways is vital for the visually impaired. Row “B” (1/4 grade) creates interest at the entry of the building (when compared to the typical at-grade entry in the urban context) by entering at an elevated or sunken level. Row “C” (1/2 grade) is at a height that is pedestrian friendly. One storey is a height that the visually impaired is more able to comprehend. The parti I chose was ”C9”. I picked this parti because although all of the partis had interesting moments I could certainly use as a starting point, I thought the “C-9” parti had elements that provided the most streamlined framework for the basic elements of a dark restaurant project. For example, although I am focusing on the visually impaired for what will be uncovered theoretically, the beneficiaries of the building will be people of varying levels of abilities. That being the case, incorporating the abilities of the visually dependent to join in on the path toward the main dark space is important at the beginning of the sequence narrative. Before arriving at the dark main space, the transition space would be the area of adjustment between the lighted and dark environments (and vice versa) and the inherent dynamics of both. In order to accentuate the theoretical “there-ness” of the dark dining space, I believe this parti best strategically locates the dark dining as the destination of the main path throughout the building. TRANSITION

1/2 GRADE

Light

C

Dark

9

Figure 3.6 Chosen Parti (C-9) The transition division and at 1/2 grade provides the most streamlined framework for the basic elements of a dark restaurant project.


Chapter 3 - Analysis

The C-9 parti “blocking” of program outlines the types of spaces based on if the programmatic space best functions in an area of light, transition, or darkness. Below is a preliminary program layout in section view (grouped by the C-9 parti):

Roof Mechanical

Light Figure 3.7 Sectional Preliminary Layout

Transition Core

Light Entry Kitchen Bar Waiting Restrooms Storage

Dark

The C-9 parti begins to arrange the program functions in blocks.

9

Dark Dining Restrooms Food prep

Along with this preliminary blocking, I knew that the kitchen also required strategic positioning. Typically in a restaurant, the relationship between the kitchen and the dining space is crucial. This prototypical project is no different. However, an additional spatial relationship I knew that I wanted to incorporate is to place the kitchen next to the sidewalk for aural and visual appeal. I anticipate that this positioning would be one of the attractors for entering the building’s narrative sequence. The downside to this additional spatial relationship is that it places a strain on the dining/kitchen distance. Specifically, the lower level dining requires the transitional space to tie it to the upper level kitchen. The transitional space begins to bear the weight of connecting the two spaces. This can definitely be seen as a weakness in the functioning of program, but a strength gained from this arrangement is the visual and aural connections to the city that would otherwise be neglected. In order to explore the 47


48 - Feeding the Other Senses

spatial dynamics and the inherent benefits and drawbacks, a preliminary layout is necessary. The rough programming in figure 3.7 (previous page) helped to develop a preliminary layout of the program in plan view. Figure 3.8 (below) depicts the preliminary program layout in a key plan and exploded axonometric view. The axonometric is superimposed into the basic dimensions of the site (not to scale). Also in the axonometric is a dotted line representing the main path of travel for a typical user. ROOF

GRADE

ROOF LEVEL 15’-0” Mechanical (324 sf) Core (415 sf) Office (150 sf) GROUND LEVEL 0’-0” Entry (800 sf) Kitchen (738 sf) Waiting (370 sf) Bar (384 sf) Restrooms (325 sf) Storage (150 sf) Core (415 sf)

SUBGRADE

SUB-GROUND LEVEL -15’-0”

70’ - 0”

60’ - 0”

Dining (2,440 sf) Food prep (150 sf) Entry (110 sf) Core (415 sf)

Figure 3.8 Exploded Axonometric of Preliminary Layout The exploded axonometric begins to reflect defined spatial relationships.


Chapter 3 - Analysis

This path is important because it defines the area of study. Issues abound in all design projects. However, for the sake of this study, it is important to identify whether or not the issues relate to the aspects of direct user experience of the architecture along this path. While conducting this study, I had to consistently defend my time toward the scope’s purpose and main focus against the typical design process of resolving as many issues as possible. I limited the amount of issues I addressed to those that would have practical affect on the user’s phenomenological experience. To work out design issues that are not relevant to the scope is detrimental to discovering the phenomenological, non-visual tools for the impetus of the design process. That being said, I recognize that the functioning of the dark restaurant business may benefit from a programmatic arrangement that is more tailored to a specific client’s need (for example, if the client required the kitchen and dining to be on the same level). After settling on this preliminary programmatic layout, I began to analyze it. Below is a graphic, light analysis of the preliminary layout. The top three squares are the layout without any shadows. The bottom three are a simulation of eastern sunlight. The heaviest lines represent where fire walls are necessary. The lightest lines represent extents where program would most likely require a wall or separation of some sort (counter, glazing, etc.). On the bottom three, the lightest areas are where lighting occurs. Consistent white spaces are where lighting fixtures illuminate the space. Day-lit areas GRADE

ROOF

SUBGRADE

Figure 3.9 Graphic Light Analysis The preliminary program layout is analyzed as a way of matching how it performs in plan as compared to the C-9 section parti. 49 PARAMETERS:

-Simulated eastern exposure -Heavy lines = Fire separation -Light separation exists where program most likely requires walls or counters.


50 - Feeding the Other Senses

are everywhere there is a gradient. The darkest area is the subgrade dining space. The black/white banded areas are places of transition between the lighted and dark environments. For the most part, the analysis of the plan reflects that of the C-9 section parti. The only area that I would improve on (given more time) would be the area designated as transition (banded areas). Currently, the elevators are handling this responsibility. There are probably more interesting ways to create transition. Moving on, I wanted to analyze the space adjacencies. I decided to create exploded axonometrics of each space along the path of travel. The ĂŠtudes were then considered at every adjacency to add an extra layer of analysis. Figure 3.10 (below) is an isolated study I created to visually clarify the adjacencies of the designated program area for the entry space. ROOF

GRADE

SUBGRADE

Figure 3.10 Entry Spatial Adjacencies Study This exploded axonometric clarifies the adjacencies of the studied space—in this case, the designated program area for the entry space.


Chapter 3 - Analysis

Figure 3.11 Non-visual Key Design Opportunities for Entry Space This list outlines every relevant étude for every adjacency off of the entry.

Ideally, every space adjacency in the program would be analyzed through the études for navigation and desired qualities through that space. I then discovered the relevant études for the entry space. I called out these qualities as key design points to address. The purpose was to identify and articulate the qualities (fig. 3.11 below) of the entry space. As the list of key design qualities complied for every space, these then became the building’s non-visual design opportunities. How I address these qualities becomes the scorecard that a visually impaired building user would pay attention to.

QUALITIES OF TRANSITION TO ADJACENT PROGRAM ROOF

KEY DESIGN QUALITIES

GRADE

ROOF (802 sf) Type of transition: Ceiling

KITCHEN (825 sf) Type of transition: Semi-open

OFFICE (150 sf) Type of transition: Portal

1.1 Sound Dynamics 1.2 Spatial Scent Cues 2.1 Counted Corners & Doors 3.1 Air Pressure 4.1 Urban Braille 5.1 Material Qualities

1.1 Sound Dynamics 2.1 Counted Corners & Doors 3.1 Air Pressure 4.1 Urban Braille 5.1 Material Qualities

1.1 Sound Dynamics 2.1 Counted Corners & Doors 4.1 Urban Braille 5.1 Material Qualities

CORE (165 sf) Type of transition: Portal

WAITING (630 sf) Type of transition: Open

1.1 Sound Dynamics 2.1 Counted Corners & Doors 3.1 Air Pressure 4.1 Urban Braille 5.1 Material Qualities

1.1 Sound Dynamics 1.2 Spatial Scent Cues 2.1 Counted Corners & Doors 3.1 Air Pressure 4.1 Urban Braille

SIDEWALK (660 sf) Type of transition: Semi-open

RESTROOMS (150 sf) Type of transition: Portal

SIDEWALK 1.1 Sound Dynamics 1.2 Spatial Scent Cues 2.1 Counted Corners & Doors 2.2 Sound Content 4.1 Urban Braille 5.1 Materiality

1.1 Sound Dynamics 1.2 Spatial Scent Cues 2.1 Counted Corners & Doors 4.1 Urban Braille 5.1 Material Qualities

1.1 Sound Dynamics 1.2 Spatial Scent Cues 2.1 Counted Corners & Doors 3.1 Air Pressure 4.1 Urban Braille 5.1 Material Qualities

WAITING 2.1 Counted Corners & Doors 4.1 Urban Braille

SUBGRADE DINING (692 sf) Type of transition: Floor 1.1 Sound Dynamics 1.2 Spatial Scent Cues 2.1 Counted Corners & Doors 3.1 Air Pressure 4.1 Urban Braille 5.1 Material Qualities

ENTRY (110 sf) Type of transition: Floor 1.1 Sound Dynamics 1.2 Spatial Scent Cues 2.1 Counted Corners & Doors 3.1 Air Pressure 4.1 Urban Braille 5.1 Material Qualities

ROOF 5.1 Material Qualities CORE 4.1 Urban Braille

51


52 - Feeding the Other Senses

I then used the graphic language of étude 1.1 SOUND DYNAMICS at the program area designated for the entry space. Figure 3.12 demonstrates this isolated étude study. Ideally, each program space would be analyzed graphically for each étude at different points in that space in order to explore the possible and desired non-visual qualities. Another non-visual quality I knew I wanted to incorporate was a seamless audio experience connection to the city. I think there is something important about phenomenologically connecting the building to the urban context. To me, one of the greatest interruptions of that connection is facades that demarcate and emphasize a defined zone of city and site boundary. Practically speaking, this typically happens at a threshold or barrier like a door or glazing. But how might this building’s “entry” zone be understood as a gradual blend of city and site?

ROOF

GRADE

SUBGRADE

Figure 3.12 Isolated Étude Study One of a series of isolated studies through the concepts of the études.


Chapter 3 - Analysis

To answer this, I reflected on the phenomenological dynamics of entering a cave. Traveling into a cave without vision, one may not be clear about when the cave “began” and when the outside environment ended. Instead, the further one travels into the cave, the more one can sense a gradual change of temperature. Sounds begin to grow in reverberation and clarity. The surrounding stone texture becomes increasingly accessible to touch. And now it is certain that one is “inside” a cave. Furthermore, to confirm this, the cave gives another clue that leads a traveler to believe they are “inside.” It was not raining outside, but cold droplets of water from the rock overhead drop and touch the skin.

Figure 3.13 Developed C-9 Parti This graphic represents the C-9 parti concept after implementing the program, and positioning the building onto the actual site with schematic dimensioning.

Although I did not end up incorporating the water droplets, that occurrence does convey information about a surface of some shape overhead. Even the speed and perceived weight of the droplet can inform about the amount of space overhead. All of these factors can lend to the user knowing they are, in fact, “inside.” Aside from this, the surrounding geometry and its texture are probably the biggest contributors to understanding that one is in fact gradually entering a new zone (the cave). How the geometry is shaped in combination with the material it is made of provides a surface for audio and haptic information to return to the user at measurable, and increasing levels. Figure 3.13 is a developed idea of the C-9 parti and represents the building and city context in section. The program entry space begins to “cone” in order to mimic the geometry of a cave. Its widest opening flares outward toward the city and its narrowest point toward the beginning of the assigned “transition” space. Context

Alley Transition

Caved entry

Sidewalk

Street

Sidewalk Context

+30’-0” Mech.

+0’-0” -15’-0”

Core

+15’-0”

Bar

Core

Entry

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All of the preliminary analysis of the building along the designated path is beneficial, but what about the portion of the path that happens beyond the site—the path in the city? When I consider the typical visually impaired building user, there is usually a planned route of travel in place. In this case, it is assumed that an independent visually impaired traveler would arrive to downtown from a distant location by either the Lynx bus station (off of Livingston St.) or Sunrail station (off of Orange Ave.). The simplest path from those arrival/departure points is displayed graphically in figure 3.14. Fig 3.14 also shows the buildings along that path as well as the location of traffic intersections. The site is highlighted in orange. This graphic makes it clear that the distance between the Lynx station and the site is longer than the distance from the Sunrail station to the site. The best way I thought I would understand the non-visual experience along this path was to experience it, first hand. I intended to do a site visit and document my experience by recording a video as I traveled, making notes to myself along the way. I planned to take notice of qualities about the things I engaged like the sidewalk, crossing signals, and railroad tracks. The qualities about the things that engaged me would also be important such light/shadow, wind, smells, context density/heights, and sounds. Lynx Station

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Chapter 3 - Analysis

Between the Lynx station and the site, there are approximately 2,950 steps. Between the site and the Sunrail station, there are approximately 910 steps. I planned my site visit to be at 10:30 AM on a Wednesday. This time and day are not particularly significant to the study. However, it is understood that traveling on this path on a Friday night would be a different type of experience in Downtown. Regardless of the characteristic differences (mostly audible), I was focused on the more consistent experiences of any day or time, but would take note of the things that made the day and time unique (audio, scents, and duration). I planned my route to start at the Lynx station, journey to the site, and then end up at the Sunrail. This would give me a sample of the total travel experience and could theoretically yield similar results if the path is reversed or reconfigured (for example, arriving via the Sunrail station, going to the site, and departing again from the Sunrail station). With someone next to me guiding me to the site and keeping me from danger, I walked blindfolded for about half of the total distance. After adjusting to the initial shock, I was able to focus on all of the non-visual phenomena. I found myself depending mostly on the audio qualities along the path. The first notable haptic quality I encountered was the feeling of ridges under my feet. It only took a few seconds to understand the ridges to be the railroad tracks I knew I would encounter. Continuing on, I realized a plane of geometry on my left because sound from cars on my right were also registering in my left ear. This led me to believe that there was a surface that the sound was bouncing off of (it was a fence). Arriving at the first intersection (Livingston St. and Orange Ave.), there were two clues that were essential to pick up on and properly interpret if I were to know that I was at an intersection, and know when it was safe to cross. The sole critical haptic clue in place was the slope in the pavement. There were a total of 8 pairs of sloped elevation changes along the path. Phenomenologically, a slope along a path can happen in any environment (the city, dirt roads, the wilderness, etc.). What is essential, then, is properly interpreting the meaning of the sloped elevation change. In the city, slopes of a certain ratio is a haptic convention used (required by code obligations). Interpreting the slope in a city as the threshold of a crosswalk is critical for safe navigation. It can even be fatal if one misinterprets the meaning of a sloped elevation change (albeit, given safe traffic patterns “fatality by slope misinterpretation� is not probable if one 55


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has ever walked in a city context before). The convention of a sloped elevation change indicating an intersection may seem like an obvious connection, but that indication has theoretical implications for this project. The extracted theory is that convention and meaning is an essential relationship toward the goal of navigating to a destination. The convention of a sloped elevation change is a simple convention when compared to the total haptic experience along the path. The convention and its meaning holds even more weight when considering the fact that along this path, there is only one other code-enforced convention for the safe travel of the visually impaired. The one other convention used is truncated domes near the Sunrail station in the 55 West plaza. The truncated domes are the only demarcation of the plaza area and the street (directly in front of 55 West). The plaza and street are at the same elevation. At this point along the path, the correct interpretation of the truncated domes is also critical for safe passage of the visually impaired. The conventions of a sloped elevation change and truncated domes made me reflect on the distance between conventions and their meaning. For sense-oriented design, I imagine that the distance between the two ought to be as close as possible. In other words, the more a building user has to think about what the convention means, the more challenging it can be to navigation, adding another stress on the responsibilities of navigating. The easier it is for a building user to make meaning around a convention, the more successful the convention is toward navigation. The conventions I experienced in downtown Orlando seem to be the bare minimum requirements for non-visual safe travel. The “factor of safety” is probably at a rating of “1” for the safe, non-visual passage along the specified path. There should be at least two other conventions in place along the path. The factor of safety rating for safe navigation in the city should be taken as seriously as the factor of safety for structurally sound architecture. After all, they are both equally crucial in making sure people do not experience fatal accidents. If the other senses and the visually impaired city traveler were truly catered to, I imagine that there would be an increase in non-visual substance that creates an ease for navigating the occularcentric city context of downtown Orlando. But this is a vast topic for a different thesis. The sound content was the only other clue that was available to depend on in order to know I was at an intersection. This was the only audible clue at this and all subsequent intersections. As in the case


Chapter 3 - Analysis

of the haptic intersection clues, the meaning assigned to the audio content is critical for safe passage. It was not enough to simply identify the sound content (a car, a person, wind, etc.) around me. Furthermore, correctly interpreting the traffic patterns at these intersections was the only information I had that lent to knowing when it was safe to cross the street. This is a poor reflection on the city and demonstrates the level of consideration of the visually impaired (even exclusion and inclusion of a certain type of city user). Once I was on Orange Ave., different food scents began to emerge. Different smells became more frequent and intense as I got closer to the city core and building site. After arriving at the site, and continuing on to the Sunrail station, the smells became less intense. They became nearly non-existent once I turned off of Orange and onto Church St. An analysis of the scents along the path definitely suggests Orange Ave. to be the more popular section on the path. Audibly, there were several distinct sounds. Overall, they were sounds that are expected in an average city (buses, cars, people walking and talking, wind, etc.). What was interesting however, was what the sounds revealed about the environment. Earlier, I mentioned how I noticed a fence alongside me as I was walking. This bouncing of sound happened every time a geometry was nearby, enabling me to detect buildings that were close to me. A diminished bounce back of sound even suggested voids (like courtyards). As I traveled from the Lynx station toward downtown, the audio seemed to fade into what sounded like a broad, spaced environment. Audibly, the downtown core became noticeably different even though the sounds that were occurring were the same. There was more reverberation in the sounds—echoes of the typical sounds started to form. This effect made it easier to detect geometries around me. It was difficult to document all of these non-visual factors in a way for the visually dependent to reexperience my site visit. In a way, putting the non-visual into visual representation does the actual experience an injustice because seeing the information with the ocular sense is an augmented process. Nevertheless, representing the experience visually also has its benefits—particularly in a field such as architecture that places such a high regard on lines, drawings and representation. The representation has inspirational information that holds potential for meaning. It is the potential in the artistic nature of representation that sits, waiting to be explored and expressed, architecturally. 57


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The next graphics (fig. 3.15 and fig. 3.16) represent the non-visual elements I expressed about my site visit experience along the entire path. The section of this graphic with color is not part of my initial site visit, but rather a part of the proposed design (more on this later). This navigation experiential study graphic documents time (in 15 second increments) as seen across the top. Below the time is a gradient ribbon that expresses the changes in scent over time and locations. Beneath the scent ribbon is the audio line (captured from the video). Beneath the audio line is what I am calling the reverberation/ density line. This line expresses surrounding geometry and is not to scale, but rather an interpretation of the reverberation experienced. Beneath that are the turns taken at different points along the path.

Figure 3.15 Navigation Experiential Study (1 of 2) Below is a graphic documenting, from left to right, my site visit starting at the Lynx station (far left) and ending at the site.

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Chapter 3 - Analysis

Beneath that are the geometries that I sensed were around me (also not to scale). The line beneath that represents the notable haptic experiences. And finally, the entire graphic has call-outs to help in describing important elements including the gray rectangles. The gray rectangles represent crossing of intersections and highlight the audio line as a way of drawing attention to the content of the audio (which was critical at these points along the journey).

Figure 3.16 Navigation Experiential Study (2 of 2) Below is a continuation of fig. 3.15 sectioning the documented experience in 2 parts: (1) the proposed path within the building, and (2) the path from the site to the Sunrail station (far right).

After documenting all of the non-visual qualities of the urban context, I then took an initial step toward proposing a design (section of graph with colors). I continued to represent the non-visual

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qualities along the path which goes through the building (colors correspond to parts of program that are along the path shown in fig. 3.8). In sequence with the surrounding city experience, I charted time, desired scent changes at certain points in the building program, the desired audio qualities such as volume levels and reverberation/density. I also charted the turns a user would take and the perceived geometry that are heard and felt around them. One other inclusion on this part of the graphic that I did not include on the city documentation is a gradient over the audio that is to represent the lighted, transition, and pitch-black environments. Because the main event of the building is sitting and eating, most of the graph on the proposed design section is dominated by a consistency in sensed geometries, audio, density, and darkness (pitch-black dining part of the program). The graph assumes a dining experience of about 30 minutes and cuts out a portion of the documentation (for the sake of paper space) because it is more of the same information. Using the same graphic vernacular, the proposed non-visual qualities of the building represent a practical starting point for designing with intention. The resulting design that enhances these non-visual qualities can ultimately exist as platforms for meaning in navigation. Resulting design expressions that enhance these non-visual cues begin to suggest significance beyond its visual appeal. Sense-oriented architecture can assist the visually impaired, thereby inviting another demographic population and their contributions to the city, into downtown. Sense-oriented architecture can enrich the sensorial experience of the visually dependent, thereby awakening a level of subconsciousness and creating a higher level of demand for functional design within the field of architecture. And ultimately, sense-oriented architecture can inspire accountability in architects to design architectural responses that better address the practical navigational needs of the city and its users. The goal is to have streets lined with buildings that are intentionally focused on enhancing dynamic narratives throughout the city.


Chapter 4 - Project

Chapter 4 PROJECT

Figure 4.1 Analysis Flowchart This graphic outlines the process for arriving at a starting point for senseoriented design.

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hapter 3’s analytical foundation sets the stage for an actual architectural design to emerge. Figure 4.1 below graphically recapitulates the analysis process in a flowchart. As mentioned before, the implementation in this chapter of the analysis done in Chapter 3 is very schematic. An in-depth design development that articulates specific details would be ideal.

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The theoretical basis of this thesis presents a challenge to the representation of the design. Typically, designs are communicated visually. So I had to address this difficulty creatively. Visual dependence normally requires plans, sections, elevations, and perspectives. And it is from these tools that the design can be critiqued. The question I posed to myself was how can I best depict the experience of a visually impaired building user to those who are visually dependent? And furthermore, how can the design be critiqued on the basis of its non-visual characteristics (as opposed to appraising the quality of work based on polished renderings that intentionally serve the function of depicting reality as a mainly visual world)? The truest answer to this dilemma is to build a design to full scale. This is the only way one can get a first-hand, phenomenological appraisal for how the design enhances non-visual qualities. As this is logistically impractical, I decided to represent the building through traditional floor plans and sections. Traditional drawings are normally used as the basis for revealing design strengths of and discrepancies from the original concept. The following representations have strengths and weaknesses of their own, but the perspectives hold the most weight as a basis for understanding the phenomenological aspects of the design (seeing as they are probably the closest and best augmented understanding of these qualities). The perspectives (on the following pages) are presented in both a traditional and non-traditional fashion. On the opposite page are the floor plans (subgrade, grade, and roof ) for the proposed design with the integrated preliminary decisions that would enhance non-visual navigation throughout the building. There are six preliminary design moves that strategically aid in navigation. The decisions enhance navigation through reverberation and through touch. The first decision supporting reverberation is angling the walls at the entry as one is entering or exiting the building (path points 1-5 and 10-15). This decision continues to develop the cave shape of fig. 3.13. The second design decision builds on that by angling the ceiling (seen in sections and perspectives). The third also builds on the same idea by manipulating the facade. These three decisions work together to cone toward the elevator. The idea is to increase the reverberation in this space as one travels toward the transition zone. As the reverberation grows, so do the sounds within the building (bar, waiting, kitchen). As one is exiting the building in the entry space, the sounds of the city grow in distinction. The fourth design decision that also dialogue with reverberation is at the subgrade level. Once one descends to the pitch-black main dining space, the ceiling continues to guide using reverberation. The idea is to design a convention that provides an “audible anchor� for navigating this space (best seen in section and perspective).


Chapter 4 - Project 1

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The remaining design decisions stimulate the sense of touch. The fifth decision is to implement a first pass at materiality in strategic locations. I used brick because the immediate contextual surrounding uses brick and brick has a distinctive tactile quality. It wouldn’t be misinterpreted for another material. From the research, I knew that providing consistency of materiality was important. Therefore, I placed brick along the walls of the main path at the grade level entry space. Feeling the texture would provide the “haptic anchor� for entering and exiting the building. The sixth and final design decision was to incline the first few feet of the entry. This haptic quality supports the conical shape of the entry while referencing the previous haptic experiences (sloped elevation changes) throughout the city. The following perspectives (on the next several pages) illustrate the experience along the path points for both the visually dependent and the visually impaired (completely blind). There is an obvious feat to achieve in composing a perspective that represents the sense-oriented experience of the visually impaired. Two of the main questions to address that are inherent in representing the visually impaired experience is: what is perceived to exist (varies from user to user)? And where do the surrounding objects exist? However, when composing a sense-oriented experience perspective, there are some things that are already assumed. People born blind do not have a concept of colors, transparency, light or shadows. With these questions and assumptions in mind, I decided to use only white and black images. The perspectives are illustrations of experience, so the colors exist as tools to imply distance. The brightest areas on the perspectives are geometries that are known to exist while the darkest areas are the unknown. Where areas are bright, geometries reflect, absorb and transfer sound. I also used a blur in the perspectives to imply focus of attention, clarity of material, and perceived definition of edges. Figure 4.4 (below) graphically explains the gradients used in the following sense-oriented experience perspectives. It is also a tool for speculating the location of zones at which it becomes (im)possible to perceive certain objects in the environment.

Figure 4.3 Perception Extents Zones and their distance from the perceiver.

Figure 4.4 Preliminary Sections (Opposite page)

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Chapter 4 - Project

B Top of Stair 27’-0”

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1 4 Figure 4.5 Preliminary Perspectives (1-15) The perspectives illustrate how the experience for a building user might be. Notice perspectives 6-9 are blacked out. This is due to the inability so see in the pitch-black dark restaurant environment.

Figure 4.6 Preliminary Money Shot (right) This is a preliminary rendering for the visually dependent. 73


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Chapter 5 CONCLUSION

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t the final presentation, the main feedback received on the project was that it was underdeveloped. The jury mentioned details that they wanted to see such as more in-depth development of material selection and acoustic design. These are excellent suggestions and I would be thoroughly interested in further developing the project. However, it makes me reflect on how well the purpose of the thesis was communicated. Perhaps I should have emphasized the pilot study nature of the project. Nevertheless, as a pilot study, the reactions I received to the project as a fulfillment of the theoretical basis were spot on. The interest levels were piqued in what the theory could mean for the sight-focused field of architecture. So, the goal of achieving a pilot study was successful. I achieved the scope and main focus of the project which was to thoroughly study the impetus for sense-oriented design opportunities. Further affirmation of the project’s goals to engage the sight-focused tendency of the field were realized in critiques that focused on what was not seen/understood/realized about the project. An embedded aim of representing the project was to challenge traditional representation of architecture. The idea that a sense-oriented project can be properly understood through mainly visual stimuli


Chapter 5 - Conclusion

is reaching. The augmenting that visual representation of experience does can lead to completely different “actual” experiences. Even fully built “parts” of the project would not satisfy the proper study of the sense-oriented design outcome because of factors like: (a) how one space engages another through the études, and (b) how the sequence through those spaces, and the affecting études, construct a perception of the total navigation experience. For these reasons, it is an unrealistic goal to produce “actual” results through visually representing a pilot study on sense-oriented architecture. The ideal is a fully-built design to properly develop an understanding of what is happening in regards to the senses in navigation. In terms of exploring how else design can be experienced (beyond sight), I feel that the project responded satisfactorily. A large part of that is due to the scope which allowed me to focus on what I wanted to extract from the study. As I’ve mentioned before, I wanted to discover starting points for sense oriented design. I think the criteria I developed also played a major role in structuring a positive outcome. Recapitulating, in order to answer the question of how else design can be experienced, the essential structure had its grounding in existing research. Being inductive about the research, I recreated the specific experiences to establish the études as areas of study. At that point, the interpretive process of reading the city, exploring potential design, and how they engage each other, gains a consciousness about a more dedicated level of care for the other senses. I believe that analysis of potential design done by focus on the senses and through the étude studies are essential tools that the field of architecture would only benefit from. Being that architecture is primarily concerned with creating buildings for people to experience, how people actually experience design seems to be the best place to start the design process. Furthermore, the phenomenological approach seems to be the most practical method of studying and analyzing the elements of experience because it is primarily concerned with the inputs (the senses) that establish the basis for how people articulate their experience. However, at the end of the project, I learned that the program could have been more flexible. At the beginning of the project, the idea of a restaurant was acceptable as a prototype based on the fact that its function helped to incorporate the sense of taste. As the scope became more defined, however, I learned that exploring how design could be experienced beyond sight required its own attention. To develop that as well as the necessary details for manifesting a substantial phenomenological case for a pitch-black restaurant might have been a bit ambitious. Considering that vision can be a preoccupation for designers and building users alike, I think that maintaining a 75


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focus on exploring the other senses provided a clear-cut response to uncovering the basic elements necessary for sense-oriented design. Furthering the study of this theoretical basis can take many directions. I suppose a good starting point would be to examine existing buildings against the criteria I developed in chapter 2. Continuing on with the study would require gathering a sufficient sample of user experiences and analyzing them, then creating explicit connections between the architectural design decisions and the user experiences. This would create greater efficiency between what is perceived to be successful in the mind of the designer and appraising the application of those techniques (similar to the idea of postoccupancy evaluation). From this analysis, I could build a catalogue of knowledge that would stand as actual examples for techniques in articulating how sense-oriented architecture is best achieved. These techniques could be accompanied by several optional techniques. All of the techniques can then be sorted by building type, size, context, keyword, price, material, sense, ĂŠtude, etc. The goal is to take steps toward raising the bar in the field of architecture to assume a priority about the senses and experience in the design process.


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Appendix CHAPTER 1 http://www.martindelguayo.com/internal-blog/isphenomenologyinarchitecturedead http://www.archdaily.com/452513/peter-zumthor-seven-personal-observations-on-presence-in-architecture/ http://www.arch.ksu.edu/seamon/seamon_revieweap.htm CHAPTER 2 http://utc.ices.cmu.edu/utc/CMU%20Reports%202013%202/DiasUTCFinalreport_2013.pdf http://blindhow.com/posts/256#content


References

References Biemel, Walter. “Phenomenology (philosophy).” Encyclopædia Britannica Inc. Last modified May 8, 2014. http://www. britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/455564/phenomenology. “Deconstructivism.” Merriam-Webster.com. Accessed November 6, 2014. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ deconstructivism. Dias, Bernardine M. “Towards Safe Urban Navigation for Visually Impaired Travelers.” University of Pennsylvania. December 15, 2013 accessed November 6, 2014. http://utc.ices.cmu.edu/utc/CMU%20Reports%202013%202/DiasUTCFinalreport_2013. pdf. Genocchio, Benjamin. “As a Museum, Frank Gehry’s Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris Disappoints.” Artnet News. Accessed November 6, 2014. http://news.artnet.com/art-world/as-a-museum-frank-gehrys-fondation-louis-vuitton-in-parissucks-155242. Kamin, Blair. “Deconstructivism Strikes Columbus!” Chicago Tribune. Accessed November 6, 2014. http://articles. chicagotribune.com/1993-04-18/entertainment/9304180023_1_ballroom-buildings-meeting-room. Levin, David Michael. Modernity and the Hegemony of Vision. Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1993. 79


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Lynch, Kevin. The Image of the City. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 1960. Martin, Patricia. “Is Phenomenology in Architecture Dead?” Martín Del Guayo - Architecture and Urbanism. Last modified July 6, 2012. http://www.martindelguayo.com/internal-blog/isphenomenologyinarchitecturedead. Merin, Gili. “Peter Zumthor: Seven Personal Observations on Presence In Architecture.” ArchDaily. December 3, 2013 accessed November 6, 2014. http://www.archdaily.com/452513/peter-zumthor-seven-personal-observations-on-presencein-architecture/. Pallasmaa, Juhani. The Eyes of the Skin: Architecture and the Senses. Great Britain: Wiley-Academy, 2005. Seamon, David. “Phenomenology, Place, Environment, and Architecture: A Review.” Environmental & Architectural Phenomenology Newsletter. Accessed October 21, 2014. http://www.arch.ksu.edu/seamon/seamon_revieweap.htm.


References

Figures Figure 1.1 http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5e/Jan_Vermeer_-_The_Art_of_Painting_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg Figure 1.2 http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Claesz,_Pieter_-_Still-Life_with_Musical_Instruments_-_1623.jpg#mediaviewer/ File:Claesz,_Pieter_-_Still-Life_with_Musical_Instruments_-_1623.jpg Figure 1.3 http://www.dispatch.com/content/graphics/2014/06/13/convention-center-construction-art0-gqhssjos-1conventioncenter-construction-04-jpg.jpg Figure 1.4 http://www.businesspme.com/photos/136827/louis-d-or.html Figure 1.5 http://biblioteca.iednetwork.com/files/2012/11/croquis-post.jpg

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Figure 1.6 https://www.flickr.com/photos/trevorpatt/14830064255/in/set-72157646173424852 Figure 1.7 https://www.flickr.com/photos/trevorpatt/14672512950/in/photolist-omysVd-oj6t9J-oj6pwd-bv5eYo-bv5ykw-oD4V5PomzRUz-eydxba-eygHU9-bJ11PX-bHYSei-7wpDwe-7wt3Nj-omyRk2-oAjbjx-oAo2Qd-bv5PHs-bHYBdx-omzUTm-omzQ2CoD54b8-4cNqw2-xiuNn-xiv3B-xiuZG-xiuUT-5pSGGa-83QGPb-8kSnMh-xiuPH-xiv9m-xivaA-xivca-xiuP2-xiv7W-xiuQwaWUAXx-xiuXK-xiuTw-xiuWc-eS1WaM-8kPbkH-cgpuMh-3pyD1r-aWUBjx-6EcsnG-3pyYg6-3pDeQG-aWUA7T-aWUzHX.jpg Figure 1.8 http://mimoa.eu/images/12171_l.jpg Figure 2.1 http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e5/The_Incredulity_of_Saint_Thomas-Caravaggio_%281601-2%29.jpg Figure 2.4 (Étude 2.1) http://www.tigerman-mccurry.com/project/library-for-the-blind (Étude 3.1) http://design.epfl.ch/organicites/2010b/1-assignments/1-dynamic-mappings/overcoming-wind-shadow Figure 3.1 Source: “Downtown Orlando.” 28°32’59.1”N and 81°22’53.2”W. GOOGLE EARTH. 2014. November 6, 2014. Figure 3.2 Source: “Downtown Orlando.” 28°32’29.2”N and 81°22’45.3”W. GOOGLE EARTH. 2014. November 6, 2014.


Feeding the Other Senses: A Phenomenological Study in the Sight-focused Field of Architecture  
Feeding the Other Senses: A Phenomenological Study in the Sight-focused Field of Architecture  
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