The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, London
Space, emotion and architecture. Unit 18. Colin Fournier
The film 'Lost in Translation' catches perfectly the mood of alienation and boredom felt by the two main protagonists. The director achieves that effect not only through the performance of the actors, but also by controlling the physical setting, the desolate atmosphere of the generic hotel bar in which man and girl meet, turning their backs to a city that will forever remain remote and incomprehensible to them.
While film directors are expected to use all the means at their disposal to manipulate the emotions of spectators, architects, with a few notable exceptions, are generally more reticent to use explicitly the tools of their trade to provoke passionate feelings and reactions from clients and users. Architectural space can also have strong emotional connotations, be it fear or nostalgia, anxiety or excitement, happiness or revulsion, wellbeing or discomfort, etc. Both media use spatial design as their primary tool and while architecture does not usually make full use of the additional impact of narrative, it has other means at its disposal to achieve dramatic effect.
In an academic environment where one is free to explore all of one's desires, why not experiment with feelings and explore the proposition that the search for emotion might be, after all, the underlying aspiration of architecture?
Tackling this question is not an easy task. This year, the range of emotions has varied and included the sense of freedom, fear of technology, grief, yearning for the past, nervous expectation, isolation, vulnerability etc. Feelings that have each lead, through the choice of individual briefs and sites within the city of Tokyo, to a wide range of architectural project.
My chosen emotion: Nervous Excitement. Design: Kendo Dojo
Two lone warriors crouch, ready to face off; they rise, their swords poised, ready to attack. The air is thick with tension, and the only audible sound is their steady breathing.
The design is for a Kendo Dojo loctaed in Tokyo, Japan. Like a Kendoka warrior, at first sight the building is to appear aggressive and menacing, but its poetic and graceful nature will be revealed as one discovers the unfolding spaces.