, Volume 16, Issue 2-3, pp 285-301
Date: 01 Oct 2010

Dwelling In-Between Walls: The Architectural Surround

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Abstract

The title of this paper might evoke claustrophobic associations. In other words, architecture in a very immediate sense can affect our behavior and feelings. In more mediated ways, architecture is also capable of influencing humans and putting their environment into perspective. Consider, for example, how a penthouse apartment can literally elevate people’s emotions and unfold a new perspective on city life, which some people are willing to pay millions of dollars to attain. In this paper I will explore how architecture frames human experience from a philosophical point of view. My aim is to offer key elements of a new typology of architecture. For that purpose I am going to reflect and expand on key insights into technology of one of the funding fathers of contemporary philosophy of technology, Don Ihde. Through a life time, Ihde has been probing and investigating the relation between humans and their world as it is mediated through technology. In doing so he has concentrated on examining and understanding the role of scientific instruments. This paper is dedicated to showing how Ihde’s significant postphenomenological concepts not only can be translated to another domain and serve a better understanding of architecture, but also how his work can help us to relate to architecture in multiple constructive ways. The succeeding experimental translations of Ihde’s understanding of technology to architecture are also meant as a guide to design more adequate and fascinating built environments. I will begin with a broad overview of Ihde’s postphenomenological project; subsequently I shall endeavor to translate this work onto architecture through a number of case-studies, some of which are detailed and others less so.