This dissertation is an exploration into the familiar but little understood nonconscious/ intuitive processes. These realms, applicable to the creative process and architectural experience, are able be viewed as a phenomenon worthy of investigation. In architecture there are frequent references to the nonconscious creative process, perhaps mostly understood as a catalyst with a certain air of mystery attached.
Psychological literature provides a background to the nonconscious and intuitive/ insight processes. This overview utilises a post-Freudian theoretical base, focusing on an analysis of the adaptive unconscious. The way we filter information with relation to our daily interactions is discussed. Intuition/ insight is explored due to its profound connection to the creative processes. This thesis examines the experience of how space can affect us nonconsciously, through either attribution or misattribution. This background study creates a frame of reference for the creative process and the architectural experience.
Literature on the creative process is examined to establish the relevance of nonconscious processes and their application to design. Louis I . Kahn and Richard Serra's design methods are explored in relation to the nonconscious/ intuitive. These two designers contrasting techniques were selected for a more detailed examination due to the intrinsic motivation evident within their method. Their descriptions of the creative process openly discuss nonconscious/ intuitive processes examined here through a psychological framework.
The dissertation then progresses to a case study of the reported experiences of The Kimbell Art Museum and The Torqued Ellipse Series. These two examples highlight the nonconscious effect of a built environment upon the observer. Nonconscious/ intuitive design can be a directed process. The designer can be intentionally nonconsciously creative. By exploring the creative process with its resulting spatial outcomes a notion is created for practical application of this approach.
New knowledge and understanding in psychology and cognitive science allows a clearer understanding of the creative process and the experiential effects of architecture.