material, sensory, wood, concrete, fabricate, material qualities, architecture
This thesis argues that an architecture embracing innate material qualities, deployed for choreographed sensory experiences, will open a more intimate dialogue between humans and their environment. This thesis is rooted in the idea that the most powerful experiences are those that stimulate all the senses at once. This is illustrated by architect Lisa Heschong, who explains that fire fascinates humans because it glows, crackles, smells of smoke, and gives off heat. This intimate sensory experience provides an archetype for the way users may be seduced into engaging affective environments through haptic materials.
In an investigation of material qualities (density, hardness, porosity, roughness, color, and reflectivity), wood and concrete were selected as common building materials to re-fabricate through techniques of deformation and deterioration such as burning, drilling, embedding and incorporating. Uncanny materials were of particular interest as they compel users to exploit multiple senses in order to understand them; such unfamiliarity frees users to savor visceral, affective experiences in their full complexity.
The designs were developed through a repetitious process of material experimentation, photography, and collage. Each cycle of studies furthered the understanding of innate material qualities as they are manipulated through lighting, spatial complexities, moisture, cleanliness, and time. Such an exhaustive understanding of materials enables the creation of captivating spaces that titillate and enthrall users through immersive environments.
Hughes, Rex and Mikesh, John, "A Material Affair: The Intimacy between Materials and Affective Space" (2019). Architecture Senior Theses. 503.
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Sinead Mac Namara