Juhani Pallasmaa: ART AND ARCHITECTURE AS EXPERIENCE – the mental reality of art
Juhani Pallasmaa, Architect, Professor Emeritus, Dr h.c., Writer, SAFA, Hon.FAIA, Int.FRIBA
Art and architecture theories, education and practices have regarded these art forms in terms of formal, visually aestheticized material objects and spaces. Yet, already in 1934 John Dewey argued that art is constituted in human experience, not in the physical object. The phenomenological view is now shifting the emphasis to the experience and the complex interactions of perception, memory, imagination, emotion and identification. At the same time, the interest is turning from form and geometry to formless and immaterial ”quasi-things”, such as atmosphere, feeling, resonance and attunement. The emphasis on experience is also questioning the hegemony of focused vision and pointing at the central significance of the embracing and omni-directional senses. The experiences of the world and architecture are fundamentally tactile, embodied and existential. Our most important architectural sense may well prove to be the existential sense of being and self.
Juhani Pallasmaa has authored more than fifty books relating to the multisensory and existential dimensions of experiencing art and architecture. He is former Rector of the Institute of Design, Helsinki, Dean of the Faculty of Architecture at the Helsinki University of Technology, and Director of the Museum of Finnish Architecture, Helsinki. He has had Visiting Professor positions in a number of US universities, and lectured and conducted workshops in numerous universities in Europe, North, Central and South America, Africa, Asia and Australia. He has received a number of prizes and awards for his architecture and writings in Finland and abroad.