Architecture is a profession deeply dependent on the visual. It’s imagined, sold, critiqued and consumed almost entirely on the strength (or lack thereof) of drawings. We pick and prod at images presented at angles we’ll never be able to see, admiring the architectonic qualities of elements we’ll never actually experience.
Philippe Rahm: The Latest Architecture and News
This article was originally published on Metropolis Magazine as "Architecture You Can Smell? A Brief History of Multisensory Design."
What comes to mind when you encounter the term “sensory design”? Chances are it is an image: a rain room, a funky eating utensil, a conspicuously textured chair. But the way things actually feel, smell, even taste, is much harder to capture. This difficulty points to how deeply ingrained the tyranny of vision is. Might the other senses be the keys to unlocking broader empirical truths? Does the ocular-centric bias of art, architecture, and design actually preclude a deeper collective experience?
Sketch for Syria, a project initiated by by Marco Ballarin and Jacopo Galli at IUAV, Venice, has brought together 150 architects from 26 nations in a large-scale effort to "imagine, trace and share possible scenarios" for Syria, following the recent devastation of the lives of its citizens and a significant amount of its architectural heritage.
In response to the United Nations' (UN-ESCWA) drafting of an agenda on July 14th, 2016 to consider ways of reconstructing the country, this drawing project has attracted contributions from the likes of Álvaro Siza, Philippe Rahm, Peter Wilson, and Francisco Aires Mateus.