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New Academic Year, New Studio- HOW DO WE SENSE SPACE?

Be sure to check out our work in progress on instagram @sensingspace_cuhk


Sensorial stimuli are crucial for our ability to perceive space. This allows us to process information about our surroundings so we can recognize our relationship to them. The signals received from the eyes, nose, ears and skin allow for the brain to create a mental image of our environment. We are able to calculate light, reverberation and echo, material quality, temperature and distance via these signals that situate us within our reality. Without them we would not be able to understand our relationship to space in the same way. The body then responds to these stimuli and negotiates itself within the environment. Our experience of space is directly linked to our perception of it. Manipulating sensorial experience allows for reinterpretations of perception and ultimately provides an exploration into other modes of perceiving ourselves within space and our relationship to other bodies. Allowing architecture to become more responsive provides an opportunity to create dialogue between perceiver and perceived, renegotiating the role of design as an active, rather than static or passive, participant in the production of experience.

"No artistic practice is spared the examination of the role of the human body in the work, whether the body is the subject, the tool or the negated presence."

-Madeline Schwartzman, See Yourself Sensing

Historically, humans have produced devices, whether as tools or through the built environment, that have allowed a manipulation of perception, using the respective technologies of the time period to do so. In a way, we have always been cyborg, incorporating various tools that augment our abilities to perceive. Architecture always, to some degree, augments sensory experience and has the capability to take on an even more active role in this through the implementation of new technologies and the development of more communicative and responsive attitudes with our built environment.

The production of experience directly has psychological implications, impacting subjectivity in space. From a sociological standpoint, it is also inherently biased - based on the experience and collective subjective histories of those that design it. The sensorial and perceptual qualities are a crucial part of this, and so, the studio questions our norms of designing space and reflects upon sensory experience and perception of it. While it is impossible to design anything that is not in some way biased- design will inevitably reflect the subjectivity of its designer- we must be conscientious of this fact so that we may become more critical of why or how we chose to design- what social histories are we perpetuating and why. This acknowledgment of the ‘other’ ultimately creates more equitable space that caters to a multiplicity of experience.

This studio seeks to challenge current modes of perceiving through the use of new technologies and proposes exploration into alternate models in order to design architecture for the multiplicitous body. It does this through three lines of related inquiry:

  1. the examination of human interaction with architecture and ways of producing more communicative structures;

  2. the examination of the cyborg and the production of sensorial and biometric devices that produce perceptual shifts;

  3. and the examination of the built environment and how it can be augmented through the production of narrative and world building that re-imagines Hong Kong.

The studio will build upon experiential theories of architecture and design, examining the responsive, sensorial, and immersive through 3 phases that build upon one another. We will be using various technologies and modes of representation to formulate critical standpoints on architectural issues in Hong Kong.


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