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Sensory Design

2003
Authors:

Joy Monice Malnar and Frank Vodvarka

Sensory Design

A revolutionary approach to the built environment that embraces all of our senses and modes of understanding.

Sensory Design explores the nature of our responses to spatial constructs—from various sorts of buildings to gardens and outdoor spaces, to constructions of fantasy. The authors consult the environmental sciences, anthropology, psychology, and architectural theory, and the result is a new philosophy of design that both celebrates our sensuous occupation of the built environment and creates more humane design.

This comprehensive, methodically developed study of the role of the senses in architectural imagery and experience is of great theoretical, educational, and polemical significance.

Juhani Pallasmaa, architect and professor, Helsinki

What if we designed for all of our senses? Suppose for a moment that sound, touch, and odor were treated as the equals of sight, and emotion considered as important as cognition. What would our built environment be like if sensory response, sentiment, and memory were critical design factors, the equals of structure and program?

In Sensory Design, Joy Monice Malnar and Frank Vodvarka explore the nature of our responses to spatial constructs—from various sorts of buildings to gardens and outdoor spaces, to constructions of fantasy. To the degree that this response can be calculated, it can serve as a typology for the design of significant spaces, one that would sharply contrast with the Cartesian model that dominates architecture today.

In developing this typology, the authors consult the environmental sciences, anthropology, psychology, and architectural theory, as well as the spatial analysis found in literary depiction. Finally, they examine the opportunities that CAVE™ and other immersive virtual reality technologies present in furthering a new, sensory-oriented design paradigm. The result is a new philosophy of design that both celebrates our sensuous occupation of the built environment and creates more humane design.

Sensory Design

Joy Monice Malnar, AIA, is associate professor of architecture at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She is coauthor, with Frank Vodvarka, of The Interior Dimension: A Theoretical Approach to Enclosed Space (1992).


Frank Vodvarka is associate professor of fine arts at Loyola University Chicago. He is coauthor, with Joy Monice Malnar, of The Interior Dimension: A Theoretical Approach to Enclosed Space (1992).

Sensory Design

This comprehensive, methodically developed study of the role of the senses in architectural imagery and experience is of great theoretical, educational, and polemical significance.

Juhani Pallasmaa, architect and professor, Helsinki

This is a serious body of work, and a rewarding object of study. Sensory Design is an important and thoroughly considered design polemic.

Architectural Review

Malnar and Vodvarka explore the nature of sensory response to the spatial constructs that people invest with meaning.

Art Book News Annual

Sensory Design

Contents

Preface

Acknowledgments

1. Spatial Constructs
2. The Mind’s Eye
3. Sensory Response
4. The Meaning of Meaning
5. The Talking Spring
6. There . . . and Back
7. Sensory Cues
8. No Mere Ornament
9. Objects of Our Lives
10. The Light Fantastic
11. Sensory Schematics
12. Getting Somewhere

Notes
Permissions

Index