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    Structures of experience: media, phenomenology, architecture

    McKim, Joel (2016) Structures of experience: media, phenomenology, architecture. In: Rodgers, Scott and Markham, Tim (eds.) Conditions of Mediation. Peter Lang, pp. 149-159. ISBN 9781433137297.

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    The increasingly interwoven status of media and the built environment is significantly altering the everyday experience of the city. From mobile communication technologies, to public screens and digital design tools, these changing urban processes are the subject of much recent thought in both architectural and media studies. Interpretations of “augmented,” “mediated” or “soft” spaces have often involved the transfer of media theory into the realm of architecture and urban planning via the writing of such figures as Lev Manovich, Friedrich Kittler and Alain Mons. The movement of ideas has rarely traveled the opposite direction; the possibility that architectural theory might, in turn, contribute to our understanding of these new forms of “spatialized media” has remained largely unexplored. This paper will chart one possible link between architectural thought and current developments in urban public media by examining an often overlooked current of design theory, that of architectural phenomenology. A precedent to postmodern and poststructuralist design practice, the philosophy of phenomenology was a significant influence on the architectural discourse of the 1960s and 70s. Figures such as Jean Labatut, Christian Norberg-Schulz and Kenneth Frampton shared the conviction that the social “meaning” of buildings must be accessed primarily through bodily and sensory experience and that these recognizable patterns of experience produced by the built environment constitute a culture’s historical “habitus” or “lifeworld.” Given the current interest in phenomenological approaches to media studies, it seems a particularly appropriate time to consider what architectural phenomenology might teach us about the experiential and social implications of our contemporary media environments. From Labatut’s development of an architecture of visual communication and intensified movement to Norberg-Schulz’s acute technological skepticism, this paper will outline both the anticipatory and critical lessons offered by this design movement from the past.


    Item Type: Book Section
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Architecture, Digital Media, Phenomenology, Environmental Media
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Creative Arts, Culture and Communication
    Research Centres and Institutes: Architecture, Space and Society, Centre for, Birkbeck Interdisciplinary Research in Media and Culture (BIRMAC) (Closed), Vasari Research Centre for Art and Technology
    Depositing User: Joel McKim
    Date Deposited: 03 Jul 2017 09:50
    Last Modified: 09 Aug 2023 12:42

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