Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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[re]presentation: A critique on architectural representation through the agency of the body and image

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posted on 2022-07-28, 01:36 authored by Caballes, Claire

Architecture is more than just an object, and we are more than just a subject. This commonly perceived relationship between body and architecture is the result of representation. Over time, this model has reduced common understanding of architecture to an image, and we, as eyes which view it. This attitude is more prevalent than ever as our society is dominated by screens exploiting images which we consume at face value.

The intention of this is thesis to critique the distanced and sterile relationship between body and image through the affective lens. This thesis approaches research in two ways; ‘research for design’ and ‘research through design’. The former begins by understanding the role of the body and image in affective discourse and examines a few case studies which employ these positions. Juhani Palasmaa argues for the acknowledgement of the body as one which is active, visceral and experiential and as such, architecture must be designed accordingly. The case study on Diller and Scofidio’s ‘projectories’ highlights how the image can offer affective qualities when used correctly. These are key arguments identified in the research for design phase and is referred to a source material throughout the duration of the research.

‘Research through design’ extends these positions towards the body and image through three design tests. Each of these tests increase in scale which is the methodology used throughout this thesis. The increase of each scale poses the need for more architectural complexity. The installation focuses on how a sense of embodiment can be intensified through design while the domestic scale explores how images can be re-appraised to offer an affective charge. In the public scale test, both these ideas are developed through a train station design which offers an experience that engages the body through re-appraised images. This thesis results in a speculative design which offers a relationship between body and image that departs from the static representational model. It aims to “re-present representation”.


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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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Master of Architecture (Professional)

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Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Architecture


Twose, Simon