NORDSCI Conference proceedings 2018, Book 1

Education and educational research

DEVELOPING SPATIAL AESTHESIS THROUGH PHENOMENOLOGICAL APPROACHES TO TEACHING ARCHITECTURAL HISTORY

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Raluca Manoliu

ABSTRACT

In recent years, major schools of architecture have considered that teaching architectural history has become obsolete, for it could not possibly respond to the crisis our contemporary buildings and cities are facing, a crisis that derives, as increasing research demonstrates, from breaking apart architecture from its user, the human being.
Architectural history represents, simplistically expressed, the account of centuries of interaction between human beings and the spaces they created.
This paper will present a novel pedagogical methodology that uses a phenomenological approach in teaching history of architecture, its purpose being to progressively and intuitively help students realize spatial perception is not a high abstraction, a complicated notion, but an objective biopsychological human feature they can access at any time and use to feel, understand and create spaces that will become places imbued with meaning.
Contemporary architectural pedagogy is preponderantly focused on cultivating spatial intelligence through a series of conceptual studio projects and theoretical courses dealing mainly with abstract notions. Even architectural phenomenology, when and where it is taught, remains at a theoretical level. Pedagogy focused on conceptual architecture creates architects with highly skilled aptitudes to produce only geometrically feasible and sound spaces, spaces that are not necessarily places to be inhabited in the sense Husserl, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, Norberg-Schulz, Alvar Aalto, Juhani Pallasmaa, Tadao Ando or Kengo Kuma would have meant them to be.
In such a conceptually-driven studio culture, using historical architectural precedents, analyzing them and extracting the essential, objective and unchanging principles they hold, and using those principles discovered through analysis in joint studio projects, has proved to offer interesting and unexpected benefits in students’ ability to sense space, to understand the inherent qualities of various types of spaces and to subsequently make use of the acquired spatial experience in their projects, the results being architectural places, not just architectural spaces.
Though studying the different ways in which physical spaces have been artfully created and used, programmatically speaking, throughout the history of architecture, students are given the opportunity to understand how those spaces and their interrelations objectively affect humans as conscious beings, regardless of the culture they come from or the language they speak, and offer them a deeper understanding of the spatial “alphabet” some architects write dry prose with, while others create profound, meaningful poetry.

KEYWORDS

history of architecture, phenomenology, methodology, space, aesthesis

REFERENCE

NORDSCI Conference Proceedings 2018 Book 1, Conference Proceedings, ISSN 2603-4107, ISBN 978-619-7495-00-3, DEVELOPING SPATIAL AESTHESIS THROUGH PHENOMENOLOGICAL APPROACHES TO TEACHING ARCHITECTURAL HISTORY, 85-94 pp, DOI paper 10.32008/nordsci2018/B1/V1/9