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“I dwell in the city and the city dwells in me,” Juhani Pallasmaa writes in The Eyes of the Skin: Architecture and the Senses. Meandering through phenomenology—the philosophical study of experience—Pallasmaa argues for a holistic architecture, one that considers not only the way spaces look, but the way they feel; for haptic qualities that quicken the pulse, for silence that brushes the nape of one’s neck or, as excerpted here, for spaces that impact all five senses of the human body.

Silence, Time and Solitude

The most essential auditory experience created by architecture is tranquillity. Architecture presents the drama of construction silenced into matter, space and light. Ultimately, architecture is the art of petrified silence. When the clutter of construction work ceases, and the shouting of workers dies away, a building becomes a museum of a waiting, patient silence. In Egyptian temples we encounter the silence that surrounded the pharaohs, in the silence of the Gothic cathedral we are reminded of the last dying

  • Words:
    Juhani Pallasmaa

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