The material narratives studio focus on the tangible dimensions of spatial inhabitation. The active presence of the self in space is affected by both the movement of the body, the wandering gaze of the eye and the psychological constructs of the mind. Each of these dimensions is deeply rooted in the very material reality of the body, from the physiological construct of the eye, the neurological structure of our brains to the physical exertion of the body. The interaction is reciprocal, the material presence of a building interacts with the body in multiple ways. Thermal radiation, light, humidity, electrical radiation, and smells carried by air are all modulated by the building. When a building is entered, the body touches, smells and tastes that which exists within a space. Each sense inhabits different dimensions of the architecture, and with them, a comprehensive picture of an experience is created in the mind of the visitor. However, inhabiting a building is not a singular moment. Perception is only possible within the dimension of time. Perception is both a physical, cultural and a social act. As a visitor enters a building, it shapes the atmosphere of that experience for everyone within it – the visitor is both the audience and a key participant in the stage that the building offers within that ephemeral moment.
This studio offers students the opportunity to investigate the tools and strategies that are used to construct spatial narratives and architectural atmospheres. Through an experiment-based approach, students will investigate how design creatives, artist, architects and cinematographers engage our senses in order to convey ideas, emotions and stories. However, the studio is equally concerned with the precise material definition of the built form as it is with the ephemeral and constantly changing nature of perception.