|Lots of soft materials dampen sound reverberation|
and create a sense of coziness. It's one reason
we perceive this window seat to be so inviting.
At best, this fixation on appearance leads to flashy but uninvolving designs; at worst, it can produce an architecture of oppression, as Modernism’s own mania for visual order so often demonstrated.
While the look of a building may be the first thing we perceive, senses other than sight must also be brought into play, or the architectural experience is sadly incomplete. Here are just a few ways in which the senses add dimension to architecture:
|The sound of a tiny trickle of water|
can transform a patio into an oasis.
Other sounds that we probably take for granted contribute as well: the crunch of a gravel path underfoot; the brassy click of a well-made door latch; the sound of rain drumming on a skylight. How about the chirp of birds in a window box, or the trickle of water in a fountain? A good design capitalizes on such simple ways to add sound to the architectural experience.
|A two-fer: This window box can provide|
lovely fragrance and the equally lovely
sound of birds at breakfast.
| This unusual corridor provides tactile contrast in the extreme.|
Who could resist running a hand along both sides? Not me.
Rather than limiting yourself to a single texture, however, try using contrasts—rough versus smooth, warm versus cool—to entertain the sense of touch. Frank Lloyd Wright was a master at juxtaposing such finishes: stone against stucco; plaster against wood; concrete against glass. It’s one reason his works remain so powerfully involving to this day.
• And about employing the sense of taste in architecture: A friend of mine has this two-year-old. . .