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Visual Understanding Of Architecture Cultural Studies Essay

Architecture is an instrument by which we associate ourselves to this world, we relate ourselves to time and space. This connection is manufactured through architecture, which has experience by our senses. If we isolate ourselves from experiencing space and time, we remove our being (the 'I') nowadays. Structures is the representation of self applied. Architecture which stimulates senses not only improves the grade of building and space but also boosts and strengthens the whole being of humans upon this earth.

Experience of a space through our five senses change according to dominance of one particular sense. Before 16th hundred years people just didn't first see but smelled and heard. During renaissance there is a shift from this and the visual became the prominent sense of all and the same is common till now, visible dominates over all other senses. This dominance of visual can be observed in the writings of Plato, Aristotle, and Heraclitus etc. , how they consider vision and perspective as the supreme present for the living beings. But as Juhani Pallasma writes and identifies in his book, 'Eyes of the epidermis', Tactile sense as the utmost significant sense of all and the rest of the senses including perspective as its expansion, if this holds true then how come aesthetic sense so dominating ?

Architecture is highly afflicted incidentally it needs to be experienced. Dominance of a particular sense over others influences the whole architecture. Similarly, as the dominance of a feeling affects architecture, loss of a specific sense also affects it. Say if a building is usually to be experienced by only those who are aesthetically impaired then its architecture should represent it. So architecture to be universally experienced by all sorts of people should be multi-sensory.

The reason behind dominance could be a lot of things. Among the examples for this dominance could be technological advancements. In the world of technology where most people spend the majority of the time on internet, it is the look of an building that becomes the most crucial as images are what will be seen than it. Benefits of computer software's that assist making organic forms also in some way helps bring about the dominance of visual sense. So, what's the role of technology to advertise the dominance of visual sense over others?

This dissertation briefly aspires to question the dominance of aesthetic sense over other senses, and what role will structures play in invoking the other dormant senses of human beings, or to say is there a role to play?

To understand the dominance of visual sense and its effects on architecture, this dissertation intends to understand the Non-visual conception or blind people's Perception of architecture because they by default don't possess this factor of visible sense. It isn't that because of the lack of visible sense their other senses get amplified, however they do have a better sensual experience a normal person. By understanding there experience we can see where we lack in providing a multi-sensory architecture. So, this brings us right down to the primary question which this dissertation intends to answer - How do we enhance the experience of structures through our senses by understanding the Belief of Structures through Non-Visual senses ( Blinds Notion of Architecture ).


How can we enhance the experience of architecture through our senses by understanding the Conception of Architecture through Non-Visual senses (Blinds Belief of Structures).


Our experience of space and time through our senses is being polluted by the life span style we follow today. Pollution and the fast jogging life barely leave any experience for our senses. There's a strong need for an architecture which invokes the dormant senses and defines what a multi-sensory experience is.

A need to understand our senses (specially other four senses) and their role in attaching one with the structures around.

Architectures role has to examine in rousing our senses and creating structures and space which make up our loss of experience, due to your lifestyle or the whole city (e. g. Traffic).


This Dissertations immediate scope is concerned with learning five senses - Eye-sight, Tactile, Olfactory, Taste and Acoustic and there role in understanding and relating one with structures, and thus showing the discussion of the dominance of visible sense. An extremely limited dialogue will be offered on all nineteen senses jointly; in any other case this dissertation will be limited to only five senses mentioned above. Perceptual facet of Non-Visual structures or blinds architecture comes under the scope, leaving the complex facet of it.


Due to limited connections with blind people and limited time frame, I might not have the ability to do justice to the complete issue.

For case studies I plan to take help from blind students of institute for blind, take them to famous buildings in Delhi and observe there experience. Thus the inferences made out of the research study will depend to certain level on the understanding and co-operation of people involved in the study and exactly how well they have got understood the procedure of research.

Covering the questions posed above at length won't be possible in this limited time frame. So the primary question - dominance of visible sense and understanding of the non-visual understanding will be covered in detail and others will be only used to complement the study.

To understand blind perception, I will undergo a couple of books on psychology of blind and mainly rely on summaries and reviews of the literature.


A in depth and exhaustive books study on senses and perceptions related to Visible and Non-Visual senses and around it will be done, which will give a data base to begin the dissertation.

Defining and Classifying senses and clearly marking the five senses brought up in the opportunity and understanding where they lie on the entire set of Nineteen senses and there role in experiencing structures.

Tracing the history of senses in humans and culture and the shifts that happened in the dominance of 1 sense on another over enough time and the changes that took place in architecture scheduled to it.

Understanding blinds mindset and perception of architecture through four Non-Visual senses.

Getting the true picture of architectural belief by doing case studies and interviews (which will be a comparison and analysis of the reading of a space by way of a blind person and myself ) and then analysing the accumulated data and the true picture together to attain to the ultimate conclusion.

Chapter II


This section mainly deals with the release of senses and notion and relates these to architecture. Defines and classifies senses and briefly traces its history through time. This then also shows the relation between senses and structures. This chapter fundamentally builds a base where further discussion or dialogue will be grasped.

II. I Senses and notion - definition

This section has meanings of sense and perception. Then it will establish the five senses which will be covered in this dissertation.

II. II Classification of senses

This chapter broadly classifies all the nineteen senses and perceives where in fact the five talked about senses lie. What are the receptor organs of the five senses and how the complete sensory system of the five senses works.

II. III Shifts in the Dominance of senses - Short History

This chapter briefly traces the annals of senses of humans through culture and time and shows how the dominance of one senses or the hierarchy of senses modified through time, its reason and impact on the architecture and art of that time.

II. IV Senses and architecture

This section relates structures and senses and shows how architecture is experienced or perceived through our senses.

Chapter III


This chapter identifies visual perception of architecture. Record of visual conception through time will be briefly tracked. Dominance of visible sense will be question and before that the complete argument of its dominance will be set up through writings of famous philosophers, architects, designers etc.

"I exist in life only when I can see - Le Corbusier"

"I am and I continue to be an impenitent visual; everything is in the aesthetic - Le Corbusier"

Peripheral eyesight will be described and its Importance and choice over focused vision will be highlighted, where it'll be shown how peripheral perspective makes the knowledge of an area more including all senses and concentrated eye-sight exclusive.

III. I Dominance over other Senses

This section traces the history of aesthetic sense and its own dominance over other senses.

III. II Loss of Architecture

This section deals with the loss which architecture encounters, by being aesthetically experienced and not being multi-sensory.

III. III Peripheral Perspective over focused Vision

Here peripheral eyesight is compared to focused eyesight and reasons for the inclination of peripheral eyesight over focused eye-sight will be produced.



Street PerceptionG:\structures\WORK\fourth yr\dissertation\LIT Study\chandni_chowk. jpgG:\structures\WORK\fourth yr\dissertation\LIT Study\250px-The_tree_lined_Lodhi_Road, _New_Delhi. jpg

a. Chandni Chowk

b. Lodhi Property road

Organised Eating spaceG:\architecture\WORK\fourth yr\dissertation\LIT Study\food-court-big. jpgG:\structures\WORK\fourth yr\dissertation\LIT Study\images. jpg

Delhi Haat

Food court docket in a Mall

G:\architecture\WORK\fourth yr\dissertation\LIT SURVEY\india_habitat_centre_exterior. jpg

Reading a Modern day building- IHC


The main purpose of these case study and selecting these particular places and properties is to do a comparability between famous spots or structures under a same category in terms of their reaction to sensory perceptions of an aesthetically impaired person (Blind) and Aesthetically abled person. E. g. Chandni Chowk is a place with levels of visual images and things occurring on the street in a chaotic way in comparison to Lodhi property.

All the properties and spaces talked about will be studied by me and a blind person and the studies will be overlapped to see the common areas between both.


Primary research ( Review done by me - Visually abled )

Understanding the motion routine in plan, Entrance into the building, transition from outdoors to inside. Just how do these things relate to our senses or activate our senses.

Analysing the components of the space in terms of most five senses. This will include reading of textures present in the space (tactile or Aesthetic), acoustics quality, and smell.

Interviewing regular guests of that place about how they feel about the space.

Secondary Study ( Analysis done by using a blind person )

Noting how the building starts itself to a blind person in terms of its activity pattern, Access, etc.

Noting how a Blind person perceives the components of the area through his Non-Visual senses.


Overlapping both the studies and seeing the overall picture of the way the space responds to all or any our five sense, or does indeed the visual really dominate over other senses. This will likely show the normal areas where the perception of visually impaired and aesthetically abled person differs or are normal. This may also show how much the building is able or designed to stimulate our senses.

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