Finish National Romanticism In Pallasmaa's The Eyes Of The Skin
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The Eyes of the Skin depicts a classic theory of architecture. The way it is written reflects the author’s inspiration by the Finish National Romanticism movement in the early twentieth century. In this book, the author, Pallasmaa defends the importance of touch in the comprehension of our everyday spaces. He discusses the hegemony of touch and how the other senses are an extension of it. In this book, Pallasmaa expands his arguments in two long essays. The way he organizes his debates, shows his obvious interest in the National Romanticism of Finland, which includes experiencing indigenous art, and mimicking primitive nature.
Showing influence from philosophers such as Merleau-Ponty, Heidegger and Husserl, the first part of the book is aimed both toward criticizing the visual-based thinking of Western culture, and advocating touch. He also argues against visual-based Western architecture. He shows his fascination with traditional architecture, which unlike Western architecture, was based on the wisdom of the body. He writes that “Construction in traditional cultures is guided by the body in the same way that a bird shapes its nest by the movements of its body” (P.26)
Following that the second essay emphasises the importance of multi-sensory perception in architecture. He claims that multi-sensory perception of architectural construct induces a sense of living space, memory and imagination, home, and silence. He believes that an understanding of architecture should be achieved through the conscious experience of looking at an architectural task through the sensory impression it makes, and it is not the result of morphological characteristics or stylistic features.
He explains the significance of Hegel’s notion of touch. Accord...
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...is kind of environment, wearing glasses can shift reality to virtuality and the final perception is nothing except an accumulation of illusion.
Both of those approaches are unbalanced. One with its poetic regrets and sorrow for going back to nature and building with mere natural materials, and the other by concentrating on vision and the illusion of reality and building with virtual technology, which are barely liveable.
Although Pallasmaa’s excessive interest in looking at an object from inside results in his failure to see his own argument clearer from outside, the Eyes of the Skin is still a valuable reference of architectural theory. It is written with a pen of someone who considers architecture as a work of art. Despite its classical context, it is a tasteful work, which tries to apply the critical philosophy of ocularcentrism to the architectural precinct.