Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Manipulating Emotions: A Study of Emotional Evocation in Architecture

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posted on 2021-11-15, 06:16 authored by Due, Katherine

Architecture is understood to inspire awe and affect our emotions and moods. This thesis aims to focus these effects through our emotional sensibilities, questioning the capability of architecture to act as an emotional evocation. The objective of this work is to challenge some current practice within architecture of irreverent and careless applications of atmospheric qualities, where little appreciation is given to the emotional impact these decisions have on the occupants of the spaces. This thesis will outline the use of atmospheric conditions in the creation of an architecture of emotional evocation that presents spaces of two emotional states, proving with this, the existence of particular atmospheric conditions and the emotional impact inherent within them. The result is a design that incorporates spaces embodied with the characteristics associated with either grief or love- emotions chosen to limit the scope of this work. The qualities within these spaces are transferable and felt by the occupants through expression theory and the personification of architectural elements and qualities. A theatre programme tests the design of these emotionally evocative spaces, creating an affiliation between the performance of theatre and the performance capacity of architecture. This thesis concludes with the understanding of the necessity and reliance of associating emotional states to characteristics that can be qualified within an architectural situation. Perception and psychology of emotions are used as a theoretical basis for the understanding of the personal and subjective nature of architectural experience. Concepts of perception and sensation are also imperative in the development of the architectural project in its totality, creating a full experience through the combination and dialogue between the different spaces. The associations and connotations of materials, forms and proportions create a framework for the analysis of case studies attributed to either emotion. These case studies formulate the spatial character of each emotion, incorporating material, form, volume and light as key qualities alterable to produce appropriate emotional atmospheres. Design progresses from sketches of concepts utilised in these case studies and the literature to create two 'languages' according to the two emotional states. These 'languages' are tested in the final design, where the communication between the two emotions is vital in the narrative and experience of the building. The architecture of emotional evocation proves the emotionally stirring qualities of particular architectural atmospheres and the capacity and power of architecture to evoke these emotional states within the occupants. Utilised terms within this thesis include evocation and languages. 'Evocation' implies a passive transference of emotion through the representation of associated qualities within the architecture. 'Languages' is used to envelope the production of these associated qualities, with this thesis creating separate 'languages' for grief and love.


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Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Degree Name

Master of Architecture (Professional)

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Architecture


Campays, Philippe