Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Literary Dose #24

A Book of Ideas
"I believe that many aspects of the pathology of everyday architecture today can ... be understood through an analysis of the epistemology of the senses, and a critique of the ocular bias of our culture at large, and of architecture in particular. The inhumanity of contemporary architecture and cities can be understood as the consequence of the negligence of the body and the senses, and an imbalance in our sensory system. The growing experiences of alienation, detachment and solitude in the technological world today, for instance, may be related with a certain pathology of the senses. It is thought-provoking that this sense of estrangement and detachment is often evoked by the technologically most advanced settings, such as hospitals and airports. The dominance of the eye and the suppression of the other senses tends to push us into detachment, isolation and exteriority. The art of the eye has certainly produced imposing and though-provoking structures, but it has not facilitated human rootedness in the world. The fact that the modernist idiom has not generally been able to penetrate the surface of popular taste and values seems to be due to its one-sided intellectual and visual emphasis; modernist design at large has housed the intellect and the eye, but it has left the body and the other senses, as well as our memories, imagination and dreams, homeless."
- Juhani Pallasmaa in The Eyes of the Skin (Wiley-Academy, 2005).


  1. I think Juhani needs a hug and a good trip to Ikea.

  2. Just read Eyes of the Skin for my history, theory, and criticism class at Ball State University for my Master of Architecture and I found it an interesting read. Architecture must be much more than a visual experience.

    I check out the site every day and always enjoy it.

  3. Excellent passage. This book has been on my "to read" list for a while now.
    Thanks for sharing.


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