What is the Thinking Hand in Architecture (and why we, as architects, must defend the natural slowness and diversity of experience) #ilmaBlog #Discourse #Theory #Architecture #DesignPosted: October 7, 2018
In The Thinking Hand, Architect Juhani Pallasmaa reveals the miraculous potential of the human hand. He shows how the pencil in the hand of the artist or architect becomes the bridge between the imagining mind and the emerging image. The book surveys the multiple essences of the hand, its biological evolution and its role in the shaping of culture, highlighting how the hand–tool union and eye–hand–mind fusion are essential for dexterity and how ultimately the body and the senses play a crucial role in memory and creative work. Pallasmaa here continues the exploration begun in his classic work The Eyes of the Skin by further investigating the interplay of emotion and imagination, intelligence and making, theory and life, once again redefining the task of art and architecture through well-grounded human truths.
Pallasmaa notes that, “…architecture provides our most important existential icons by which we can understand both our culture and ourselves. Architecture is an art form of the eye, the hand, the head and the heart. The practice of architecture calls for the eye in the sense of requiring precise and perceptive observation. It requires the skills of the hand, which must be understood as an active instrument of processing ideas in the Heideggeran sense. As architecture is an art of constructing and physical making, its processes and origins are essential ingredients of its very expression…”
Linking art and architecture he continues, “…as today’s consumer, media and information culture increasingly manipulate the human mind through thematized environments, commercial conditioning and benumbing entertainment, art has the mission to defend the autonomy of individual experience and provide an existential ground for the human condition. One of the primary tasks of art is to safeguard the authenticity and independence of human experience.”
Pallasmaa asserts that,
“Confidence in future architecture must be based on the knowledge of its specific task; architects need to set themselves tasks that no one else knows how to imagine. Existential meanings of inhabiting space can be articulated by the art of architecture alone. Thus architecture continues to have a great human task in mediating between the world and ourselves and in providing a horizon of understanding in the human existential condition.
The task of architecture is to maintain the differentiation and hierarchical and qualitative articulation of existential space. Instead of participating in the process of further speeding up the experience of the world, architecture has to slow down experience, halt time, and defend the natural slowness and diversity of experience. Architecture must defend us against excessive exposure, noise and communication. Finally, the task of architecture is to maintain and defend silence. The duty of architecture and art is to survey ideals and new modes of perception and experience, and thus open up and widen the boundaries of our lived world.”
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The Allegory of the Cave is a story from Book VII in the Greek philosopher Plato‘s masterpiece The Republic, written in 517 BCE. It is probably Plato’s best-known story, and its placement in The Republic is significant, because The Republic is the centerpiece of Plato’s philosophy, and centrally concerned with how people acquire knowledge about beauty, justice, and good. The Allegory of the Cave uses a metaphor of prisoners kept chained in the dark to explain the difficulties of reaching and sustaining a just and intellectual spirit.
The ‘Allegory Of The Cave‘ is a theory put forward by Plato, concerning human perception. Plato claimed that knowledge gained through the senses is no more than opinion and that, in order to have real knowledge, we must gain it through philosophical reasoning.
Plato’s “The Republic Book 7” ‘On Shadows and Realities in Education’
As our interaction with technology accounts for more of each day, I cannot help but wonder if our perceptions of reality will shift as a civilization. What is real and what is an illusion?
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When I think of the “flow” of a space the first image to come to mind is the motion of the occupant and how he or she experiences the space. Of course the building itself (and/or site) can have a flow as well (visual flow) both outside with the facade (think strong horizontal/vertical features, or curved forms of aluminum panels for example) or inside with the finishes (think flow of flooring material/texture from one space to another), but to me the perception of the space through movement has a greater impact on the occupant’s perception and experience of the space. If the “space” is correctly designed by someone who understands the flows of a particular building type, it will certainly make for a joyous experience for the occupant. When this not the case the occupant will feel uneasy and will not be able to have a pleasant experience. A seasoned designer will be able to work simultaneously in plan and section to develop a design concept that will result in proper flow for the type of function being asked of the space that he/she is creating. When the layout of the space, the material/textures used, the colors used, the use of light, and the flow of movement of are properly executed the space just feels right.
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Frank Cunha III
I Love My Architect – Facebook
A.D.D. may be over diagnosed these days (especially in schools), but during Architecture School one of my professors wanted my friend to see how long I could stay at my drafting table (remember those? I’m dating myself here, although my class may have been one of the last to use them). After a few minutes I would get restless, now with social media I can work on several things at once which satisfies the A.D.D.
What we discovered (after several all-nighters) was a direct link between where I lived and the airplane “noise” I would hear subconsciously (after living under the flight zone my entire life my consciousness had completely tuned it out). I used the timing of the flights (every 2 to 3 minutes) to help inform my Architectural design theories. For example;
Here is a map of where I grew up:
Perhaps this helps shed some light on how I operate!
It seems it is all a dream
A pleasant mishmash of confusion
I was fine when I went to sleep
Now the pictures flash like an illusion
Beauty of body very bold
Images sharp over laid in folds
Sensuous, desirable, a story told
A woman’s beauty never grows old
The gentle brush of scented hair
Color, thoughts flashing about
Warmth and excitement fill the air
How will this dream work out?
Another flash, a clashing sound
The alarm set to kill dreams
Brilliant images falling all around
Back to sleep, should I try?
Try learn the girls name?
Get up and start my day?
I suspect I’ll never be the same
Not after meeting, the girls with no name
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Frank Cunha III
I Love My Architect – Facebook