1st Edition

Touching Architecture Affective Atmospheres and Embodied Encounters

By Anthony Brand Copyright 2023
    250 Pages 96 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    250 Pages 96 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book is about perception, emotion, and affect in architecture: how and why we feel the way that we do and the ways in which our surroundings ​and bodies contribute to this.

    Our experience of architecture is an embodied one, with all our senses acting in concert as we move through time and space. The book picks up where much of the critique of architectural aestheticism at the end of the twentieth century left off: illustrating the limitations and potential consequences of attending to architecture as the visually biased practice which has steadily become the status quo within both industry and education. It draws upon interdisciplinary research to elucidate the reasons why this is counter-productive to the creation of meaningful places and ​to articulate the embodied richness of our touching encounters. A "felt-phenomenology" is introduced as a more​-than visual alternative capable of sustaining our physical, emotional, and psychological well-being.

    By recognising the reciprocal and participatory relationship that exists between atmospheric affect and our (phenomenological) bodies, we begin to appreciate the manifold ways in which we touch, and are touched, by our built environment. As such, Touching Architecture will appeal to those with an interest in architectural history and theory as well as those interested in the topic of atmospheres, affect, and embodied perception.

    Introduction: Touching Architecture 1. Towards a More-than Visual Architecture 2. Embodied Encounters 3. Haptic Visuality and (Syn)Aesthetic Perception 4. Affective Architecture 5. A Matter of Making Atmospheres (case studies) Epilogue: Scenography, Architecture and Affect


    Anthony Richard Brand is a Lecturer in ​architecture history and theory at The School of Architecture and Planning at the University of Auckland, New Zealand.

    "Anthony Richard Brand presents his case delightfully well. We enact the built and natural worlds through our bodies, through our whole bodies. Armed with this new understanding of hapticity and mood, the next generation of designers will imagine lived environments quite different from what we uncritically accept today."

    Harry Francis Mallgrave, PhD Hon FRIBA, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Illinois Institute of Technology, USA

    "This book participates in a current conversation questioning the assumptions of architecture as both a gratuitous aesthetic object, and as a mere optimized device for human shelter. Extending insights from new phenomenology and the neurosciences, and through a careful analysis of important contemporary design practices, Mr. Brand expounds on the concept of atmosphere for an architecture responsive to qualitative places and cultural values, introducing new insights about the centrality of touch at the basis of perception."

    Alberto Pérez-Gómez, Emeritus Professor, McGill University, Montreal, Canada

    "Focusing on the claim that touch is the most intimate human sense, architectural theorist Anthony Richard Brand delineates elements of a tactile phenomenology of buildings. His central question is ‘how we are touched, moved, or affected by our architectural encounters.’ To answer this question, Brand draws on a wide range of studies, including neurological research and phenomenological work on the lived body, synaesthetic encounter, and environmental atmospheres. He grounds his conceptual argument via perceptive case studies of buildings by eminent architects Steven Holl, Peter Zumthor, and Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron. Brand’s book is an important contribution to the growing literature on a phenomenology of architectural hapticity."

    David Seamon, Editor, Environmental & Architectural Phenomenology, Professor of Environment-Behavior and Place Studies, Department of Architecture, Kansas State University, USA

    "This is a timely and powerful manifesto for a multi-sensory architecture, for buildings that appeal to the user as a living, moving, embodied participant, immersed in a 3-dimensional space unfolding in time. As well as introducing the conceptual tools necessary for understanding architecture in this way, it also applies them to a series of well-researched case-studies. Essential reading for anyone interested in this vitally important area."

    Jonathan Hale, Professor of Architectural Theory, University of Nottingham, UK