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The Eyes of the Skin: Architecture and the Senses Hardcover – 13 Apr 2012
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From the Back Cover
First published in 1996, The Eyes of the Skin has become a classic of architectural theory. It asks the far–reaching question why, when there are five senses, has one single sense sight become so predominant in architectural culture and design? With the ascendancy of the digital and the all–pervasive use of the image electronically, it is a subject that has become all the more pressing and topical since the first edition s publication in the mid–1990s. Juhani Pallasmaa argues that the suppression of the other four sensory realms has led to the overall impoverishment of our built environment, often diminishing the emphasis on the spatial experience of a building and architecture s ability to inspire, engage and be wholly life enhancing.
For every student studying Pallasmaa s classic text for the first time, The Eyes of the Skin is a revelation. It compellingly provides a totally fresh insight into architectural culture. This third edition meets readers desire for a further understanding of the context of Pallasmaa s thinking by providing a new essay by architectural author and educator Peter MacKeith. This text combines both a biographical portrait of Pallasmaa and an outline of his architectural thinking, its origins and its relationship to the wider context of Nordic and European thought, past and present. The focus of the essay is on the fundamental humanity, insight and sensitivity of Pallasmaa s approach to architecture, bringing him closer to the reader. This is illustrated by Pallasmaa s sketches and photographs of his own work. The new edition also provides a foreword by the internationally renowned architect Steven Holl and a revised introduction by Pallasmaa himself.
About the Author
Juhani Pallasmaa is one of Finland s most distinguished architects and architectural thinkers. His previous positions include: Rector of the Institute of Industrial Arts, Helsinki; Director of the Museum of Finnish Architecture, Helsinki; and Professor and Dean of the Faculty of Architecture, Helsinki University of Technology. He has also held visiting professorships at several universities worldwide. Pallasmaa is the author/editor of over thirty books, including The Eyes of the Skin: Architecture and the Senses (Academy, 1995 and John Wiley & Sons, 2005), The Thinking Hand: Existential and Embodied Wisdom in Architecture (John Wiley & Sons, 2009) and The Embodied Image: Imagination and Imagery in Architecture (John Wiley & Sons, 2011).
Peter MacKeith is Associate Dean and Associate Professor of Architecture at the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, Washington University in St Louis. He has held academic positions and worked in design practices in both Finland and the United States, and has written and lectured extensively on Finnish and Nordic architecture.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
The main theme of the book, is that our cultural fixation with our eyes, neglects the importance of the other human bodily sensors, such as touch, smell, hearing, to the detriment of our built environment. This detriment to our other senses, besides vision, is manifest, according to the author, in our thoughtless architectural surroundings, which is symtomatically displayed in societies obsession with the screen, our ultimate scopic fixation.
"The Eyes of the Skin" is not an original topic of contemporary concern. Ocular fixation has been investigated by many other writers including Hal Foster and Martin Jay for example. To Pallasmaa's credit he does have extensive reseach included in the book by these various authors. What may be original about this book besides Pallasmaa being a practicing designer/architect, is that he has poetically penned his investigations to help his readers understand the interrelationship of the built environment to the human condition.