SENSORY DESIGN ON TWO FRONTS – Architecture and Urban design

16 06 2009

Minu Lee, Bachelor of Architecture (Honours)

As part of my honours thesis this year, my research is based on the belief that if we as designers are to enhance people’s experience in the city, we need to broaden our spectrum of our senses such as vision, smell, sound, touch and taste. Senses have gained significant interest within design practice and design research over the past few decades, and it is true indeed, that we can no longer ignore the important role that senses play in the built environment.

At the same time, it is also true that this notion of sensory design has been significantly underplayed in the field of architecture and the broader urban design.

My purpose in carrying out this research is to provide a new perspective in the field of urban design and architecture by identifying literatures that provide an understanding of the senses in both fields by examining key precedents that lend insight into the potential for sensory-rich designs. Through analysing the values and ideas of the senses in the larger scope of urbanism as well as specific focus of architecture, the aim of this research is to explore and understand the engagement of all our senses, not just the visual, in attempting to see how we can change the way city is read.

My design proposal was to date, carried out in light of the literature reviews dedicated to the position sensory design have in the profession of architecture and urban design today.

The outcome is to produce a model based not just on relevant precedents carried out by different architects, it is also to best understand the City of Sydney Council’s recent, varying urban scale measures and guidelines that are increasingly emphasising the need to engage our senses in everyday life.

For the profession, the outcome would be a reflection of the significance in engaging our senses, not just to the individual architecture, but to a greater focus on our urban future and how we would be able to associate our human feelings in the midst of such rapidly changing city. For me, the success of this thesis will not be measured solely on gaining greater understanding and implementing such concepts.

As a student, through critical, in-depth analysis of diverse literatures, the ultimate aim is to test out how my perspective towards design improves in light of studying wide range of literatures.

As mentioned in the beginning, what I have gained throughout the process can be judged on its relevance to the intended outcome of providing a new perspective in the field of urban design and architecture by analysing the findings and, eventually, testing the findings by seeking to apply them to related built forms in Sydney.

There is no doubt much more thinking and analyses of the literatures are required, as well as detailed enquiry into selected precedent studies, which will be pursued in the following semester.




One response

25 01 2010

Hi Minu,
I agree sensory experiences often get over looked as their benefits are not quantifiable- This is an interesting project and I would like to know how you are planning to incorporate this into architecture.
I am focusing on a project “Wild the City”, looking into the factors that create a multipurpose complex city that embraces the wild. This project is a masters in Science Communication, through the lenses of a landscape architect.
wish you all the best, and looking forward to your progress
tess bunny.

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