Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Integrating Sensory Experience in Parametric Architecture through a Phenomenal Lens

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posted on 2021-11-10, 18:53 authored by Lee, Yirao

‘Parametricism’ has come to play a major role in contemporary architectural design and is now considered the dominant style for avant-garde practice. This thesis argues that despite parametricism’s unique capacity to articulate programmatic complexity, visual and intellectualized imperatives at the loss of experiential imperatives have limited parametricism as a medium through which architecture is produced, promoted, and evaluated. Architect Juhani Pallasmaa believes that this leads to the deprivation of vital human existential questions that enable us to relate to our built environment and that provide meaning to that environment. This thesis explores how parametric architecture can further develop by addressing the deficiencies that Pallasmaa has described, to further incorporate a sense of temporality, experiential depth and personal belonging. Based on these critical examinations, the second half of the thesis includes design experiments which test the integration of sensory experiences within parametric design. Archives New Zealand has been selected as the vehicle for this design exploration because throughout history, archives have symbolically represented important spaces in cities to express the re-connection of our history and culture. Today, however archives are often perceived as little more than secular storage for objects and documents. The thesis tests how the interior design of a nation’s archives can be conceived through parametricism, while also incorporating symbolic and phenomenological imperatives. This thesis concludes with five interior design experiments that are each derived from this experimental design process. The five interiors illustrate the mediation between parametric and phenomenal imperatives. These experiments conclude that through critical application of sensory imperatives, we may reconnect our human existence within the parametric world.


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Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Master of Design

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Design


Brown, Daniel K.