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Perceptual Genius

Part 1 Dissertation 2000
Caroline O'donnell
Manchester School of Architecture Manchester UK
The dissertation starts with an introduction to the links between Architecture, philosophy and psychology and goes on to critically describe traditional theories of perception, including Gibson's ecological perception and the phenomenology of Merleau-Ponty. Chapter two develops a model of architectural perception based on Gibson and Merleau-Ponty. Chapter three describes methods of analysing the propositions and the test case - the Kunsthal, Rotterdam. This is followed by a chapter analysing the propositions in the light of people's responses to the Kunsthal and finally the model is reassessed in the light of this analysis, it is discussed in terms of its architectural relevance and some indications are gives as to its use in design.
Caroline O'donnell


This is an excellent dissertation showing great intellectual capacity. It is a model of clarity especially considering the texts upon which it is based.

A proposition is developed for a perceptual approach to Architecture based on the principal works of the French philosopher, M Merleau Ponty and the American psychologist, J J Gibson. This proposition is then examined against people's directed responses to the seminal work by R Koohhaas (Kunsthal, Rotterdam).

The dissertation is beautifully presented, being illustrated almost entirely with the author's own images.

2000
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