The Eyes of the Skin, Architecture and the Senses
by Juhani Pallasmaa
I highly recommend this book to all architects / architecture students out there! This book is about architectural senses and is presented in the most poetic way. The first part analyses the ocular-centric paradigm in western culture and how it influences the way we view architecture. The second part of the book develop the idea of multi-sensory architecture, delving into the other senses individually. Below is an extract from the first part, called The Narcissitic and Nihilistic Eye:
The hegemonic eye seeks domination over all fields of cultural production, and it seems to weaken our capacity for empathy, compassion and participation with the world. The narcissistic eye views architecture solely as a means of self-expression, and as an intellectual-artistic game detached from essential mental and societal connections, whereas the nihilistic eye deliberately advances sensory and mental detachment and alienation. Instead of reinforcing one’s body-centred and integrated experience of the world, nihilistic architecture disengages and isolates the body, and instead of attempting to reconstruct cultural order, it makes a reading of collective signification impossible. The world becomes a hedonistic but meaningless visual journey.
This is one book definitely worthy of the shelves of an architect.