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Architecture of the Skin: Understanding Space through Touch ︎ Master of Interior Design Thesis

IDES 660
Spring 2020 ︎

Interior Design

Reem Aladham

Heather Scott Peterson

The connection between sensory response and our perception of space is an underexplored theme in design and architecture, but can help develop a much deeper understanding of how humans interact with, perceive, and use spaces. The human body works with multiple resources to understand spaces and environments around itself. Through the use of vision, smell, touch, hearing and taste, a wide variety of sensory information is captured and processed. Sight seems to be the primary and dominant sense in terms of perception and initial instinctive response. However, other senses like touch, smell and hearing can provide deeper insight from, and interaction with, the physical environment.  In The Eyes of our Skin, Juhani Pallasmaa says, “All sense can be considered as part of the sense of touch, relating to the skin. There is a connection between the skin and the environment.” This thesis explores architecture and the haptic condition of touch, and how it works together with the other senses to produce an understanding of space. Various materials, temperatures, textures and design techniques will be controlled and manipulated to stimulate the senses and generate a corresponding response.

Catalog Description

The culmination of the Master of Interior Architecture, students pursue their self-directed theses in collaboration with a faculty advisor and a selected expert resource. Continual self-assessment and synthesis of the knowledge and skills developed in the program is exercised as part of the thesis development process in order to demonstrate mastery of the critical focus and practice of the discipline.