The Phenomenological Unveiling
Type of DegreeLandscape Thesis
School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture
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As humans, we often experience the world around us solely through our eyes, which has hindered us in designing. This is not to state that all human senses are not important, but rather to point out that our potential to unlock a greater level of design has yet to be achieved due the influence of ocularcentrism in our culture. According to Webster Merriam Dictionary, this means that in our hierarchy of senses, vision has taken the primary role, relegating other, more interactive senses like touch, to secondary roles. Our interaction with the world around us must go deeper than vision; as architect Juhani Pallasmaa stated in The Eyes of the Skin, “we must go beneath the skin” when addressing our designs. As landscape architects, it is important that we use toolkits like sense of touch to help create deeper and more meaningful experiences in our designs of the landscape. This thesis design project explores how landscape architecture might be impacted by haptic design. When breaking down the definition of “haptic” it is described as the interaction that the human body has with both objects and spaces through the sense of touch. In Ervin Zube’s Themes in Landscape Assessment Theory, he emphasizes the importance of people being active participants in in the landscape rather than being fixed observers of the space. He states that the best way for us to gain an understanding of landscapes is if we treat the human form as an active participant in which the responses of the body to situations, texture and other variables helps us to analyze the quality of the landscape. As landscape architects, we can create enriching experiences for people through haptic investigations rather than solely visual ones. It is my hope that both the design and research that I have produced from this thesis project can be used as an example for creating toolkits to be used in the landscape architectural design processes.