Our closest most human bonds are not forged easily. Fleeting glances and serendipidous encounters cannot shape the internal bedrock of our most guarded emotional memory. Only the strongest most beautiful human ties achieve such a rare feat. Our traditional employment of physica ltools and brute force for a task of this nature are of no facility. Patience, heart, and chance are some of thequalities required for a miracle such as this. And, only if individual patience remains sound and fate is allowed to reveal her true motivations may profound human bonds be born from tears of forgotten loss. The emotion thriving in embedded bonds born of patience become capable of more than simply marring stone. The strongest of these connections conjure a penetrating brilliant magnetism whose embodiment etches and vaporizes the most durable of nature’s geology. The relief buried in these stones, echo in memory of the phenomenal and beautiful power born from one relationship given two. Embedded those memories resonate.
I am first and foremost interested in designing a sensory experience, born from the indigenous cultures of our past, and re-contextualizing them in the modern era. It is my contention that the modern condition does not create architecture that caters to the five senses; instead it caters to one sense. In this distillation everything has been lost. When imagining powerful phenomenological environments that stimulate all senses, imagery of man’s primal beginnings resonate. Our primal beginnings were nomadic in nature and tied to notions of the indigenous. Indigenous tribes were defined through a close connection with the processes and materials of the natural world. The rising and setting of the sun, the gradual changing of the seasons, and the sheer power of the weather were processes our primal ancestors experienced and retained. What is it about the experience of a warm igloo buried in a frozen landscape that is so phenomenal and experiential? When imagining it’s internal shell, I picture brilliant white sunlight transformed into a tapestry of blues and grays washing across the surface like colors on a concave canvas. The implementation of natural materials, like ice, in systems such as an igloo, produced honest tectonics. These materials were unrefined, unfinished, and retained the inherent earthly properties. I believe the material assemblages and sensations experienced by these indigenous cultures are most phenomenal, architectural, valuable, and human.
If we assume the above to be true, then it is follows that we should aspire to model buildings of the modern era after the successful materials and imagery associated with indigenous architecture. Can we use the knowledge and rules of past cultures to inform a ‘new vernacular’, a vernacular of the modern era born from the ideas of our ancestors? It is my contention that there is a vast reservoir of primal knowledge trapped in the indigenous which is more relevant today than at any other time in the history of civilization.
Architecture creates space for the inhabitants of a society to both function and thrive within the cultural, economic, and social fabric of civilization. As digital technology becomes more pervasive, it threatens to fundamentally augment societal norms, changing the member’s way of life. How then will architecture itself change to perform it’s primary task of creating space for the, now changed, inhabitants of the technological society?
I found this writing on Wikipedia today and thought I would record it as a nice summary of perception.
In the case of visual perception, some people can actually see the percept shift in their mind's eye. Others, who are not picture thinkers, may not necessarily perceive the 'shape-shifting' as their world changes. The 'esemplastic' nature has been shown by experiment: anambiguous image has multiple interpretations on the perceptual level. The question, "Is the glass half empty or half full?" serves to demonstrate the way an object can be perceived in different ways.
Just as one object can give rise to multiple percepts, so an object may fail to give rise to any percept at all: if the percept has no grounding in a person's experience, the person may literally not perceive it.
The processes of perception routinely alter what humans see. When people view something with a preconceived concept about it, they tend to take those concepts and see them whether or not they are there. This problem stems from the fact that humans are unable to understand new information, without the inherent bias of their previous knowledge. A person’s knowledge creates his or her reality as much as the truth, because the human mind can only contemplate that to which it has been exposed. When objects are viewed withoutunderstanding, the mind will try to reach for something that it already recognizes, in order to process what it is viewing. That which most closely relates to the unfamiliar from our past experiences, makes up what we see when we look at things that we don’t comprehend.
This confusing ambiguity of perception is exploited in human technologies such as camouflage, and also in biological mimicry, for example by European Peacock butterflies, whose wings bear eye markings that birds respond to as though they were the eyes of a dangerous predator. Perceptual ambiguity is not restricted to vision. For example, recent touch perception research Robles-De-La-Torre & Hayward 2001 found that kinesthesia based haptic perception strongly relies on the forces experienced during touch.
Cognitive theories of perception assume there is a poverty of stimulus. This (with reference to perception) is the claim that sensations are, by themselves, unable to provide a unique description of the world. Sensations require 'enriching', which is the role of the mental model. A different type of theory is the perceptual ecology approach of James J. Gibson. Gibson rejected the assumption of a poverty of stimulus by rejecting the notion that perception is based in sensations. Instead, he investigated what information is actually presented to the perceptual systems. He and the psychologists who work within this paradigm detailed how the world could be specified to a mobile, exploring organism via the lawful projection of information about the world into energy arrays. Specification is a 1:1 mapping of some aspect of the world into a perceptual array; given such a mapping, no enrichment is required and perception is direct perception.
There are a select group of projects that cater to “the experience” or phenomenology by incorporating the 'raw', but these projects are surprisingly few, and are seemingly isolated to specific geographic locales. Many of these projects exist in the rural or backwater areas of the globe, traditionally isolated from the productive and populated cities of the industrialized world. Why does this happen? Is it a fundamental law of a phenomenological approach that, in order for a designer to pursue this type of thinking in architecture, their creation must exist away from the urban core, containing relatively minimal program? Or, is there a way to create architecture, which puts phenomenology at the fore, and in doing so, provide both a sensory experience and function for the denizens of our urban centers? Or does the process of designing for experience meet head to head with the fundamental rationality and function born of modernism?