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In the Mood: Creating Architectural Atmospheres
MRIC 2008/09

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"In the Mood: Creating Architectural Atmospheres"

November 11th 
Randall Teal - Art & Architecture

Abstract: Architectural drawing did not fully emerge until the Renaissance. When it did, it proved to be beneficial to architects because it allowed them to explore and develop building designs on paper before anything was actually built. However, this “progress” also had its drawbacks, in that it also enabled designers to become detached from the buildings they were representing. As a consequence, bodily experience of the built environment was frequently forgotten. The effects of this loss can still be felt today in our cities which are regularly populated by objects that are less buildings than they are built drawings. Following in this legacy it becomes important that designers remember that a building is a three dimensional space for human encounter and not merely a formal composition.

Reestablishing human encounter in architectural representation begins with an understanding that when people enter a place, they experience it primarily as a mood in which they are immersed, and only secondarily as the actual elements that comprise this mood. Drawing on writings in philosophy and architectural theory, as well as examples of exercises that I use in my architectural studio courses, I will explore the challenges presented by architectural representation, and how mood can easily get lost when representation and building become undifferentiated in the designer’s mind. I will also suggest how viewing architecture as an embodied experience or atmosphere points the way toward a more holistic way of approaching design.

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