Architecture In Juhani Pallasmaa's The Eyes Of The Skin
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Juhani Pallasmaa in his book ‘The Eyes of the Skin’ focuses on concerns that were related to architecture at the time its writing. It is considered a continuation to his ideas expressed in an essay written earlier titled ‘Architecture of the seven senses’.
The main aim of Pallasmaa is to bring out the importance of experiencing architecture through the senses. He challenges what is called ‘Ocularcentrism’ in modern architecture. The problem with ‘Ocularcentrism’ is that it prioritizes the sense of vision compared to all the other senses that could be experienced by a human. In order to make his point clear, he quotes Goethe, the famous German poet, “the hands want to see, the eyes want to caress”.
To begin with, Pallasmaa brings to our attention the fact that ‘Ocularcentrism’ deprives the senses. It creates a gap between the human and architecture. This distance stops us from experiencing the fullness of architecture. Further to this, today’s architecture does not take into account the peripheral vision and argues saying, “It has housed the intellect and the eye, but left the body and other senses, as well as our memories, imagination, dreams homeless”.
Moreover, he considers how visual dependence has become a cultural norm. It has developed to the point that the eye itself is now biased becoming what he calls ‘Narcissistic or Nihilistic’. This results in our sense of vision being isolated from the rest of the senses causing a lack of emotional dialogue.
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