Public spaces now often exist in urban environments as places of fear and exposure. A lack of place-responsive stimuli limits interaction between users and their built environments. This dissertation argues the need for a redefinition of a ‘sense of place’ due to the social complexities of urban environments. This new sense of place is constantly shifting and uncertain due to technological advancements that increase the mobility of societies’ lifestyles. A reduction in the stability of the ‘home’ is returning, possibly, to a nomadic style of habitation.
The aim of this dissertation is to understand the potential architectural design processes have in encouraging interaction between people and their environment, by an improvement in the methods of architectural representation between architects and clients.
Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenological concept of the body as ‘object’ will provide the basis of understanding relationships between body and environment: the body is our only means of communication with the world. Knowledge of associated psychological and behavioural dynamics will draw on childhood cognition. Memories and experiences enable the body to become a vessel in the means of establishing physical connections within a greater context.
Acknowledgment of the sensual relationships that exist between people and their ability to move through space can be translated through contemporary mediums such as photography, film and digital information networks. Two-dimensional methods of architectural representation (plan, section and elevation) are difficult for the users of space to imagine a reality of the proposed space. Images that encourage an intimate relationship between user and architecture should promote the built forms capability of expressing movement and interaction. Architectural representation is now capable of stimulating the senses due to spatial, audio and visual representation techniques. To make dreams a reality, the client needs to be able to provide the architect with an adequate brief. The involvement of photography, film and other digital mediums of representation in the discipline of architecture enable the client to ‘paint’ a threedimensional environment through their architect. This enables the architect to create a virtual sense of place that the client can feel totally immersed in during the design process. They are not just positioned on the outside and looking in, but capable of being surrounded in a potentially interactive space.