Essay on The Eyes of the Skin Analysis

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Pages: 4

The Eyes of the Skin of Architecture
Juhani Pallasmaa

This book was written by Juhani Pallasmaa with regard to ‘Polemics’, on issues that were part of the architecture discourse of the time, i.e. 1995. It is also an extending of ideas expressed in an essay entitled “Architecture of the seven senses” published in 1994.
As suggested by the title, this piece of literature attempts to highlight the importance of sensory experience in architecture. It is indeed a response to what the author terms as ‘ocularcentrism’ of Modern Architecture. Ocularcentrism is the act of prioritizing visual stimuli to all other sensory stimuli available to a human perception. He quotes famous German poet, Goethe, in his defense, “the hands want to see, the
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The text though very interesting, is a bit cumbersome, and requires frequent reference to the dictionary. The argument flows very clearly and systematically and highlights the disadvantages of ocularcentrism in comparison with each sense and how that made the Modern - cold and distant from man.
The entire argument is very well illustrated with both quotations, graphics and experiential reference - which add to and are very pertinent to the argument. The author saturates the text with examples. This makes the argument very convincing and becomes intimate with reader. The author also makes psychological and physiological references making this argument scientifically sound and not just something rooted in poetry. One of the major textual references that are made, are to Halls book - The Hidden Dimension. The author laments that architects today have forgotten it- and hence his written response to this ignorance.
The most appealing aspect of this text is that it can be understood by a lay person, due to the fact that all examples are such which belong to the life of all and do not use buildings to illustrate hence not limiting them to architects.
Qurat-ul-Ain Shamim
Eighth Semester


Pallasmaa, Juhani (2005) The Eyes Of the Skin – Architecture