Architecture as Perception. Forms, Spaces, and the Human Body Symposium

Venice, Deutsches Studienzentrum in Venedig, Palazzo Barbarigo della Tarrazza, San Polo, 2765/A, May 25, 2016

On the occasion of the 15th International Architecture Exhibition at the Venice Biennale

The proposed symposium will address the ways architecture and the built environment is perceived and the various ways it interacts with our brain and alters our mental states. This is most obvious in the direct perception of architecture as architecture, yet goes beyond that. The
layout of buildings and rooms as well as the cities we live in change the perception of the people and objects they contain as well as that of our own bodies. Such changes in body perception directly influence our conscious experience and cognitive capacities. Beyond that, the built environment might also have the power to change our physical bodies over evolutionary and developmental time spans. As french sociologist and philosopher Henry Lefevbre – renowned for his reflections on the politics and production of space and for his critique of the ‘quotidien’ – has been asserting: the ‘body serves as a metronome’, it is a collection of embodied histories and of rhythms with different tunes that result from history, facilitated by the calling on all senses, drawing on breathing and blood circulation, just as much as heart beats and speech utterances as landmarks of this experience.

Despite its pervasive impact on the way we feel and think, architectural experience rarely has been in the focus of experimental
approaches in psychology and neuroscience. Yet, the inquiries and reflections on body and space have always been central in artistic
practices and critical studies. By bringing together architects, art historians, historians, neuroscientists, psychologists and philosophers
on the occasion of the 15th International Architecture Exhibition at the Venice Biennale we will address the questions of how we experience
space and architecture, and how architecture alters our bodily states by exploring possible lines of convergence between different research


13:30 / 13:45
Welcome / Introduction

14:00 – 16:15
Roundtable discussion with short presentations by Juliet Koss, Simona Malvezzi, Isabella Pasqualini, Philippe Rahm, Ana Tajadura-Jimenez

16:15 – 17:00 Coffee and Refreshments

17:00 – 18:00
Kurt W. Foster: Schinkel, Scharoun and Gehry: Architecture as Perception

Elena Agudio (Artistic Director, Association of Neuroesthetics)
Joerg Fingerhut (Einstein Group “Consciousness, Emotions, Values”)
Jörg Trempler (University of Passau)


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