Juhani Pallasmaa has not only served as a Pritzker Architecture Prize jury, but is also is a leading international figure in contemporary architecture, design, and art culture. Pallasmaa has written and lectured extensively throughout the world for more than 40 years on architecture and the visual arts, on environmental psychology, and on cultural philosophy. His architectural practice spans projects in urban design; building design; and exhibition, product, and graphic design.
As a philosopher, Pallasmaa’s writings are wide ranging, touching on aesthetics, phenomenology and the relationship between the human condition, art and place. His works are read in many architecture classrooms around the world:
- The eyes of the skin: Architecture and the senses
- The thinking hand: Existential and Embodied Wisdom in Architecture
- The Embodied Image: Imagination and Imagery in Architecture
- The Architecture of Image: Existential Space in Cinema
- Questions of Perception: Phenomenology of Architecture
Pallasmaa argues that the suppression of the other four sensory realms has led to the overall impoverishment of our built environment, often diminishing the emphasis on the spatial experience of a building and architecture’s ability to inspire, engage and be wholly life enhancing. Is the “gentle manifesto” that grew out of Pallasmaa’s concern about the “dominance of vision and the suppression of other senses in the way architecture was taught, conceived and critiqued.”
The book surveys the multiple essences of the hand, its biological evolution and its role in the shaping of culture, highlighting how the hand–tool union and eye–hand–mind fusion are essential for dexterity and how ultimately the body and the senses play a crucial role in memory and creative work. Pallasmaa continuesthe exploration he began in his book The eyes of the skin by further investigating the interplay of emotion and imagination, intelligence and making, theory and life, once again redefining the task of art and architecture through well-grounded human truths.
All artistic and architectural effects are evoked, mediated and experienced through poeticised images. These images are embodied and lived experiences that take place in ‘the flesh of the world’, becoming part of us, at the same time that we unconsciously project aspects of ourselves on to a conceived space, object or event. Architecture is usually analysed and taught as a discipline that articulates space and geometry, but the mental impact of architecture arises significantly from its image quality that integrates the various aspects and dimensions of experience into a singular, internalised and remembered entity.
Exploring the shared experiential ground of cinema, art, and architecture. Pallasmaa carefully examines five films: Hitchcock’s Rope and Rear Window; Kubrick’s The Shining, Antonioni’s The Passenger, and Tarkovsky’s Nostalghia. All of these have been written about quite substantially before, but Pallasmaa presents each one in a fresh and direct way, properly set in the context of its synopsis and production details.
In this special edition covering the work of Holl, Pallasmaa, and, Perez-Gomez, titled Questions of Perception. Their three individual essays presented in the book, are thematically linked; each one tries to explain the role man’s perception plays in architecture and also explores phenomenal accounts.
Have you read any of Juhani Pallasmaa’s books?