Architecture and Senses
“I exist in a life only on the condition that I see” Well le Corbusier.
If it is, then how would a blind person live in this world? Or are they part of the less fortunate community? What kind of experience does architecture offer to someone without sight? Sadly, with the great influence of visual and print media, architecture has focused its concentration on the visual effects of buildings. We have neglected all the other senses. Though media has its advantages, it comes with adverse effects too. When you open a magazine you can’t smell the building, you can’t feel the air movement, you can’t sense the volume and you can’t feel the cozy warmth of the building. It’s impossible to convey all that through photographs only. And this leads architects to focus their designs on visual styles and neglect all the other important factors that express the true meaning of architecture. Charles Moore was successive in his task on designing a house for a blind client. He found it the most delightful project he was ever assigned to. “The house was oriented by series of rooms containing scented plants, which contained water, things that made noise and gave you a sense of smell. There was within the room, things to touch to remind you of the room that you were in, helping you to find your way around”. This made his design a wondrous one, summing all the senses in one building. For a building to be truly meaningful, it must awaken all the senses. We as human beings, move, smell, touch, listen and even taste within a space- It is when all this is achieved that architecture comes to life.
So architecture should let us not only see its beauty, but also feel it. We could be touched by a building placing a water wall near its entrance, inducing us to feel it; giving us a revivifying sense, it feels as though renewal is happening all the time, and it is gratified by a different balance in the air.
Another factor that resembles good architecture is one of the late Byzantium periods. If you walked into the mosques of those ancient periods, and stamped your foot or clapped your hands the whole room would resound, inducing its sound effect and letting its chords penetrate the deepest parts of our souls, embracing the importance of religion into our hearts. The buildings were judged by their sound, not just their visual appearance.
At the end I would say that the main thing that anyone could do is to give his/her divine time to think and wonder about everything that surrounds us and just live with it. Try and feed that sense, and then gratify it so that we’re not almost dead in our sensibilities.