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Atmosphere = Place + Memory + Senses + Emotion

Part 2 Dissertation 2011
Laura Fisher
University of Huddersfield, UK
Atmosphere is something which can be found in abundance in some places, yet not at all in others. It bonds you to a place and imprints itself on your being, stirring up emotion and changing your view of a place. Yet it cannot be described as well as it can be felt. It is not something which can be quantified or discussed in a scientific manner.

As a result, in order to study the subject of atmosphere, I have chosen not to attempt to explain it in terms of clinical definitions. Because it is a poetic and experiential subject, to attempt to dissect, unravel and diagnose it completely would ruin its inherent delight and mystical essence. In order to write in such a way as to do justice to the subject and the mood evoked, I have chosen to portray atmosphere in poetic, personal and experiential terms. I have therefore attempted to explain the Subject by discussing my experiences of a trip I took through Europe in the summer of 2010 where I visited four buildings which I feel exemplify a strong sense atmosphere. As a result, this dissertation is a personal journey which attempts to study atmosphere by simply observing.

These visits and experiences are discussed in the form of letters, written on my journey and sent to a friend back home. Each letter describes the atmosphere I experienced from notes and sketches taken at the time of my visit and immediately after. My research through the summer led me to a hypothesis of what qualities may contribute to eliciting atmosphere.

Each topic was studied individually and my findings were used to help understand the atmosphere of each building and more generally. These four subjects were then brought together in my conclusion where my experiences were used to test my hypothesis.

Laura Fisher

Mr Gerard Bareham
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