Disclaimer: This is an example of a student written essay.
Click here for sample essays written by our professional writers.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of UKEssays.com.

Phenomenology Through the Passage of Time

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Philosophy
Wordcount: 2150 words Published: 14th Nov 2016

Reference this

Phenomenology through the passage of time

Today architecture has become extremely dependent on people’s visual experience. Writers, poets, philosophers, artists, and experts from diverse areas of life have noticed the increase in the quantity as well as the speed of visual imagery which affect our society. In the context of this observation they have commented by saying the following statements. Italo Calvino (1988, p. 57) has written about ‘the unending rainfall of images’, in addition to which Richard Kearney (2002, p. 383) talks about the ‘image addiction’, and furthermore Roland Barthes (1964, p. 38) suggests that its ‘the civilization of the image’.

Get Help With Your Essay

If you need assistance with writing your essay, our professional essay writing service is here to help!

Essay Writing Service

Through the passage of time, the way we perceive architecture has changed. As the world has evolved, our means of interpreting what we see have evolved with it too. Earlier, during the renaissance period, architecture and art were perceived through static portrayals of paintings, whether it were within the architecture itself or on a canvas. In order to experience the architecture, one had to physically visit the space, which in turn changed the experience one had within the space. The speed and quantity of images during that time period were comparatively lower. As compared to the era of the renaissance, today, art and architecture are perceived through fast moving images, bright LED screens, and flashing signboards. The modern architect has skipped the static era and interprets architecture through the mobility of images. In order for one to know about a famous work of architecture, one doesn’t necessarily have to physically visit the space. The increase in the quantity of images today makes it easier to transport images as compared to buildings. Through the infinite amount of images that are available via various resources, the way we perceive architecture today has become extremely different as to how we perceived architecture back in time. In the context of architecture today, Juhani Pallasmaa (2011, p. 119) has written:

‘Architecture is increasingly turning into the fabrication of seductively aestheticized images without roots in our existential experience and devoid of authentic desire of life. Instead of being a lived and embodied existential metaphor, today’s architecture tends to project purely retinal images, architectural pictures as it were, for the seduction of the eye.’

Since the early part of the twentieth century the basic principals of the theory of phenomenology were moderately applied to architecture, but as an acknowledgement towards modernity the theory emerged as a workable alternative for architectural thought, and more recently the theory has gained a following amongst architects and writers.

It is an established fact that the relationship between the architecture and its image is profoundly entwined amongst one another, although there is a another topic that is quite frequently discussed in architecture that rotates around whether there should be a constant need for new innovations or the quest for architecture that already exists amongst us. These two opposing sides of architectural theory were coined the following terms by Peter Eisenman, zeitgeist and genius loci respectively. Those in the favor of the theory of phenomenology towards the approach of architectural design support the genius loci, which in simple terms talks about the spirit and distinctive atmosphere of the place. Therefore this also means that they associate unconventional and new innovations in the field with temporality, hence according to their methodology they prefer informed and descriptive design which they affiliate with the deep understanding of the context of the place.

One of the core principles of phenomenology today is that the way we experience architecture is ongoing. That it is a dynamic experience. We experience it with all our senses. This experience in totality is dependent, culturally on where we come from. It differs person to person. The axiom of phenomenology revolves around the successful ability to design and build spaces, through the process or reverse engineering experiences, or by obtaining the crucial requirements that the space needs through personal intuition. One of many experts who have written about this percept, Japanese author Jun’ichirō Tanizaki’s in his work writes about how coming from different cultural backgrounds can immensely effect the experiences that people go through while visiting an architectural space. Similarly many other literature pieces have strongly been favorable towards the theory that the personal experiences that one goes through are unique and differ person to person when it comes to space and context. Furthermore, many theorists in the field of phenomenology also argue that while experiencing an architectural space, one needs to have grounding in relation with the context of the space, as well as ground with the genius loci. Theorists argue that this grounding is extremely necessary as it changes the experience for the better, and that if one experiences the space with no prior knowledge of the context of the space, the experience is not as profitable as the prior.

However, I disagree with this theory. I do not agree that grounding is entirely necessary when it comes to experiencing a space. Phenomenology as a theory does not just talk about grounding in relation with context and space but talks about the experiences we feel while we are within the space. It is not about the architecture as much as it is about the people that inhabit the architecture. I think that the experiences that we go through are most definitely effected by where we come from, what our cultural backgrounds are, and what we, as individuals have experienced so far in our life. Going back to the context of this essay, the theory of phenomenology impacts the experiences we have while being within the spaces, but these experiences also change with time. If one experiences a certain range of emotions through their senses while visiting an architectural space, it is not necessary that they will experience the same set of emotions if they visit the space at a different point in their life. As time passes, we grow, we mature, and we get exposed to different outlets which in turn change the way we look at things. Our opinions change with time, and so does out perspective.

Like many other experts in his field, Martin Heidegger wrote about the theory of phenomenology. His work (1927) broadened the scope of the theory as he suggested to include the semiconscious activities as well as the unconscious mental activities that were related to rational and practical activities. The way Heidegger approached these ideas were more practical than those of Edmund Husserl. He favored to find truths in relation with deep understandings of being. Through his work Heidegger secured a link between the theory of phenomenology and the practice of architecture, which has continued to influence experts from both these fields till today, theorists as well as architects.

Find Out How UKEssays.com Can Help You!

Our academic experts are ready and waiting to assist with any writing project you may have. From simple essay plans, through to full dissertations, you can guarantee we have a service perfectly matched to your needs.

View our services

Numerous philosophers, writers, architects and theorists have condemned the analytical debate about the influence phenomenology has on architecture and design. Many architects have been linked to the theory with the work that they’ve put forward into the field. Although the extent of this relationship between the theory and their practicality while building varies. Some of these architects include: Alvar Aalto, Peter Zumthor, Hezrog and De Meuron and Louis Kahn. Individually they have all practiced changing the theory into practicality through their respective experiences. They have done this by studying the precise context and culture in relation with their design for the spaces, the aim of these works are to impact the users of the space in the same way that the architects were impacted, and in order for the users to imitate these experiences in the way that these architects has intended to put across.

Opinions of the experts on the theory of phenomenology vary from person to person. The opinions on how the practice of this theory on architecture should adapt to times today differ as well. Pallasmaa (2009) insists that we should do the following, ‘Instead of participating in the process of further speeding up the experience of the world, architecture has to slow down experience, halt time, and defend the natural slowness and diversity of experience. Architecture must defend us against excessive exposure, noise and communication.’ But I think that in reality the world is constantly moving at a fast pace which makes it extremely difficult to slow down experiences and time with it. Even though this would be the ideal way to approach meaningful experiences that people would go through while visiting a space, it is very difficult to achieve. In this context Rem Koolhas has said the following quote in an interview with the a magazine (Icon Magazine 2004) ‘Any architectural project we do takes at least four or five years, so increasingly there is a discrepancy between the acceleration of culture and the continuing slowness of architecture.’

I think that throughout time architecture has come up to be one of the most impactful and crucial reflection of cultures across the world. Whether we talk about historical monuments such as Coliseum in Rome, the Taj Mahal in India or whether we talk about modern day iconic buildings such as the Guggenheim Museum and the Empire State Building, each building reflects a different story of a different period of time that we have passed. While older cities have retained their essence and transport us back to a different time and era, modern day metropolitan cities are constantly moving at a fast pace, they don’t give us the time or the essence to look back and feel experiences about our past. They in turn project a vision of the future, and push us towards that future.

Similarly phenomenology through time reflects different emotions on us at different points in our life. In this context it is not necessary that one must absolutely have prior knowledge about the context and genius loci of the space. A completely fruitful experience can also be achieved as architecture appeals to our senses, and its only a matter about what those senses do to our emotions. These emotions can vary due to various aspects at that point in time. It could be affected by the experiences we have previously encountered in our life, or it could trigger a range of emotions that have been enforced upon us while we visit the space. These range of emotions do not need to be grounded to the context of the site in order to felt. They can be affected by the essence of the space, just the way old cities have a different atmosphere to it. Although what I feel it is not necessary that the person I visit the place with feels the same while being within the space. These experiences also differ due to our cultural backgrounds and upbringings. I do believe that phenomenology as a theory plays an important role in experiences we feel while being within spaces, but I also think that the theory is almost flawed.

Personally I think that thinking, processing and designing through the theory of phenomenology requires to envelope the ideology that it is extremely difficult to design spaces and just based on practicality and rationalization, but it is not that that difficult that an essence cannot be effectively felt through basic intuition and through the study of knowledge that we have but its just subconsciously or unconsciously there within our reach to access. To achieve a space that works functionally yet embodies the essence that is meant to trigger a set of emotions, both of the prior ways need to be combined and be constructively applied through design methodology. Only by doing this can a designer or an architect create a space where there is ambiguity and instinctiveness, as well as senses that are not visual which act as perfect tools to experience the architectural space.

To conclude my essay, I think that through time as we grow and evolve, we are exposed to far more experiences which slightly change the way we look at things every time. The more exposure we get the more we grow spiritually and emotionally. This changes the way we experience spaces. I think that phenomenology is deeply intertwined with the concept of time and growth. It is also deeply intertwined with the speed at which we experience things. Through the passage of time we experience architecture differently and that phenomenology plays an extremely vital part in the equation of experiencing spaces.


Cite This Work

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing stye below:

Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.

Related Services

View all

DMCA / Removal Request

If you are the original writer of this essay and no longer wish to have your work published on UKEssays.com then please: