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Architecture of NON- VISUAL senses



Pashim Tiwari

Co-ordinators: Ranjana Mittal Jaya Kumar

Submitted by: Syed Hamdan Hussain IV Yr. Sec-A A/2135/2009

Architecture is a tool through which we relate our being in this world, we relate ourselves to time and space. This relation is made through experience and it is the senses that help us experience. If we isolate ourselves from experiencing space and time, we remove our being in this world. Architecture is the representation of self. Architecture responsive to senses not only enhances the quality of architecture but also strengthens the whole being of humans on this earth. Experience of a space through our senses changes as the dominance of particular senses changes. In 16th century people didnt first see but smelled and heard. During renaissance there was a shift from this and the visual became the dominant sense of all and the same is till now, visual dominates over all other senses. (Pallasmaa, 2005). This dominance of visual can also be seen in the writings of Plato, Aristotle, and Heraclitus etc., how they consider eye and vision as the supreme gift for the living beings. But as Juhani Pallasama writes in his book, Eyes of the skin, Tactile sense is the most significant sense of all and all the other senses including vision is its extension, and if this is true then why is visual sense so dominant ? Architecture is highly affected by the way is has to be experienced. Dominance of a particular sense over others affects the whole architecture. Similarly, as the dominance of a sense affects architecture, loss of a particular sense also affects it. Say if a building is to be experienced by only those who are visually impaired then its architecture should reflect it. So architecture to be universally experienced by all kinds of people should be multi-sensory. The reason for dominance could be many things. In the world of technology where most people spend most of the time on internet, its the visual of a building that becomes the most important as photographs are what will be seen on it. Introduction of computer softwares which help making organic forms also in some way promotes the dominance of visual sense. So, what is the role of technology in promoting the dominance of visual sense over others? This dissertation aims to question the dominance of visual sense over other senses, its history and presence, and try to see the loss which architecture faces due to it. What role does architecture play in invoking the dormant senses of human beings, or to say does it have a role to play? To understand the effects of dominance of visual sense I intend to understand the senses of blind people (Visually impaired) because they by default dont have this factor of visual sense. It is not that due to the lack of visual sense their other senses get amplified, but they do have a better sensual experience then a normal person. By understanding there experience we can see where we lack in providing a multi-sensory architecture. So, this brings us down to the question which this dissertation intends to answer - how can we

enhance the experience of architecture through our senses by understanding the senses of blind or architecture for the blind (who doesnt have visual sense)?

Our experience of space and time through our senses is being polluted by the life style we follow today. Pollution and the fast running life hardly leave any experience for our olfactory and acoustic senses. There is a need for architecture which invokes the dormant senses and defines what a multi-sensory experience is.

Defining the five senses, and tracing its history and present in terms of architecture. Understanding the reasons for the dominance of visual sense over other senses and tracing its history. Understanding the role of other four senses in architecture. Understanding the senses of blind people and how they perceive space and try to see how we can gain from it in enhancing the experience of architecture.

It is very subjective to say that the visual sense dominates over the other sense. This question of its dominance is influenced by my personal experience as well as the authors which I read to make such a point. This dissertation will be mostly based on the readings of books and articles on perception theories and about the blind peoples perception. Case studies done will also be based on my personal experience as well as the theory written by few authors. So this is also subjective.

Since I am not blind, understanding of blind peoples perception will be based on readings done on it. For case studies I intend to take help from blind students of institute for blind, take them to famous buildings in Delhi and note there experience. Thus the inferences made out of the case study will depend to certain extent on the understanding and co-operation of the subject involved.

Case studies made will depend on the buildings and spaces present in Delhi and NCR, as a trip to other states or countries wont be possible.

Covering all the questions posed above in detail wont be possible in this limited time period. So the main question dominance of visual sense and learning from the perception of blind will be covered in detail and others will be only used to complement the study.

This dissertation intends to question the dominance of visual sense and see its effects on architecture. Architecture of vision deprives us of experiencing our being in this world to the full extent. By understanding the architecture for blind or how blinds perceive space we can enhance our architectural experience in terms of our dormant senses or senses which are going dormant. By this dissertation I hope to get a better picture and understanding of architecture myself which is full of experiences, an architecture which not only floats on our exteriors but also touches and seeps in our interiors and add to our memory.