O. Bader and A. Peri-Bader - The Presence of Others and the Constitution of Extraordinary Architectural Space

This is one of the papers from our 2017 Annual Conference, the Future of Phenomenology. Information and the full conference booklet can be found at www.britishphenomenology.org.uk

Living with others is a key factor shaping our urban life. Their bodily presence scaffolds our social world and is involved in the way the built environment appears to us. In this article we highlight the influence of the embodied presence of other human beings on the constitution of a special type of urban architecture – the extraordinary architectural space such as museums, theaters, public libraries and central stations. Our analysis, which lies at the intersection between architecture, phenomenology and cognitive science, suggests that being in the direct presence of others constitutes this extraordinary architectural space in the sense that it transforms the built setting into a negotiated place and reveals for the subject some of its extraordinary properties. The architectural examples we discuss show that these intersubjective advantages are often embedded in and encouraged by the design of such built objects.

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