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More-than visual approaches to architecture. Vision, touch, technique

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Geography's relationship with architecture in particular, and the built environment in general, is fraught with tensions concerning the embodied experience of place, and a profoundly visual bias is present. Likewise, previous geographic readings of phenomenology such as humanistic geography are now regarded as retrograde, unable to address the specificities of bodily experiences (gendered bodies, physical impairments, queer bodies etc.) when attempting to articulate architectural encounters. A worthwhile task within a more comprehensive critical geography of architecture, then, is to re-examine the experience of built spaces from a more-than visual perspective, one that attends to a range of sensory-somatic and affective experiences that include, but crucially are not limited to, the visual. In terms of material-spatial experiences and performances, and given the limitations of (especially visual) 'representation', we look to several parallel disciplines to investigate the role of the haptic, the optic and the somatic in the apprehension of architectural spaces. How are such haptic or 'more-than visual' knowledges conceptualised and operationalised, whether implicitly or explicitly, by practitioners?

Keywords: architecture; biogram; haptic; optic; somatic

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: School of Geography, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK

Publication date: May 1, 2011

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