Phenomenology in Spatial Design Disciplines: Could it Offer a Bridge to Sustainability?

  • Emina Kristina Petrović
  • Bruno Marques
  • Natasha Perkins
  • Guy Marriage
Part of the Design Research Foundations book series (DERF)


This chapter proposes that the philosophy of phenomenology is highly applicable, if not necessary, for a deeper and more integrated approach to spatial design disciplines in a world that aspire to be sustainable. The chapter develops upon the frameworks established by Heidegger, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Merleau-Ponty, and the works since which have attempted integration of such ideas in architecture and design, such as those by Aalto, Norberg-Schulz, Pallasmaa, Frampton, and Zumthor. It evaluates key historical and more recent phenomenological concepts for their importance in contemporary spatial design. Reflecting on these diverse views this chapter focuses on two strands and evaluates their usefulness in facilitating the uptake of sustainability in architecture and design. Although the two notions explored are different, jointly they show that there are significant constructive implications for phenomenology within architecture and design.

The chapter discusses the phenomenological concepts, their inherent relevance for spatial design disciplines and supports that discussion through a series of contemporary student projects in landscape architecture, furniture design, and architectural construction. Especially significant is a conceptual interpretation of pro-sustainable efforts as inherently and deeply reflective of many values already captured in phenomenology, and that through the active use of phenomenological concepts a more pro-sustainable design becomes possible.


Phenomenology Architecture Landscape Design Sustainability 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emina Kristina Petrović
    • 1
  • Bruno Marques
    • 1
  • Natasha Perkins
    • 1
  • Guy Marriage
    • 1
  1. 1.Victoria University of WellingtonWellingtonNew Zealand

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