Sensing Spaces: A Body-oriented Architectural Design Education

Gul Kacmaz Erk, S. Goker, B. Pasin

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    The contemporary dominance of visuality has turned our understanding of space into a mode of unidirectional experience that externalizes other sensual capacities of the body while perceiving the built environment. This affects not only architectural practice but also architectural education when an introduction to the concept of space is often challenging, especially for the students who have limited spatial and sensual training. Considering that an architectural work is not perceived as a series of retinal pictures but as a repeated multi-sensory experience, the problem definitions in the design studio need to be disengaged from the dominance of a ‘focused vision’ and be re-constructed in a holistic manner. A method to address this approach is to enable the students to refer to their own sensual experiences of the built environment as a part of their design processes. This paper focuses on a particular approach to the second year architectural design teaching which has been followed in the Department of Architecture at Izmir University of Economics for the last three years. The very first architectural project of the studio and the program, entitled ‘Sensing Spaces’, is conducted as a multi-staged design process including ‘sense games, analyses of organs and their interpretations into space’. The objectives of this four-week project are to explore the sense of space through the design of a three-dimensional assembly, to create an awareness of the significance of the senses in the design process and to experiment with re-interpreted forms of bodily parts. Hence, the students are encouraged to explore architectural space through their ‘tactile, olfactory, auditory, gustative and visual stimuli’. In this paper, based on a series of examples, architectural space is examined beyond its boundaries of structure, form and function, and spatial design is considered as an activity of re-constructing the built environment through the awareness of bodily senses.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationLivenarch IV Proceedings
    EditorsS.O. Gur
    PublisherVizyon Printing Center
    Number of pages17
    ISBN (Print)978 975 01716-4-2
    Publication statusPublished - 2009

    Bibliographical note

    Taeching and Research


    • architectural space
    • design
    • bodily senses
    • visuality
    • organs

    Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Sensing Spaces: A Body-oriented Architectural Design Education'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this

    Kacmaz Erk, G., Goker, S., & Pasin, B. (2009). Sensing Spaces: A Body-oriented Architectural Design Education. In S. O. Gur (Ed.), Livenarch IV Proceedings (pp. 1207-1223). Vizyon Printing Center.