Man’s relationship with architecture is not intellectual, but associated
with our emotive subconscious. The quality of space, as defined by
architecture, is personified and evaluated through the experience it
orchestrates. The investigation aims to uncover the process of choreographing emotive
experiences through design. These pertain to the writings of renowned
Swiss architect, Peter Zumthor, who manages to design evocative
spaces, architecture that embodies definite atmospheres. Zumthor
explains in his manifesto Thinking Architecture, that atmosphere is
measured through man’s emotional sensibility, rendering experience
and emotion as tools for designing spatial quality. Architecture is not abstract, but concrete matter, an assemblage of quantifiable substance, and thus, the architectural palette exists within emotion. Beyond its physicality, architectural elements embody
sensory potential in its application, arrangements and composition. The architect orchestrates the infinite architectural palette to provoke the senses, which defines experience. Finnish architect, Juhani Pallasmaa, better known for his writings on architecture and the senses, writes extensively on the non-cognitive realm of architecture as experienced, not only through the traditional senses measured by sight, sound, smell, touch and taste, but includes the human body in its dimensionality as it
relates to its surroundings, ergonomically and spatially. The architectural premise lead to an investigation into the lost landscape of Pretoria’s Central Business district, where spatial and material degradation have abandoned various sites in hostility. The forsaken lot on the corner of Pretorius and Sophie de Bruyn Streets, currently offers its users, the South African National Police Service (SAPS), nothing more than a parking space. The vastness of emotion in which the architectural palette exists, focused the exploration on a specific emotion as derived from the users of the identified, abandoned lot. As a result of a media-generated perception, members of the SAPS have been alienated by society. Alienation, translated into architectural terms, means ‘to be outside’. The architecture is informed by the contrasting experiential conditions of alienation and belonging, outside
and inside, danger and safety, chaos and cosmos. The architecture becomes the transitional medium. The Inner City Police Retreat fills the empirical void in a series of orchestrated experiences, in an attempt to inspire and transform the day to day existence of its users.
Dissertation MArch(Prof)--University of Pretoria, 2014.