Michael K. Yirenkyi, '22, has a major in Art & Art History and a minor in geology. His interests are in architecture and design and he aspires to work in the industry. His curiosity to challenge the accepted design of our built environments led him to pursue this summer project to explore how space impacts our experiences, habits and behaviours, and our views in life. This is what architectural phenomenology is about. After completing this summer project, he continues to read literature on the topic and is looking to pursue these interests in a graduate program next fall.
From the perspective of architectural phenomenology, our built environments have a greater influence on us than we realize. They have an impact on our physical, emotional, and psychological well-being, particularly now as we spend the majority of our time indoors. These spaces inform our habits, moods, and behaviors, as well as our perspectives on everyday life. The meanings and experiences we gain from this interaction strengthen not only our relationships with others, but also our relationships with our surroundings.
What are some of the ways that architecture can address this? The principle of wabi-sabi embodied in Japanese architectural and design aesthetics is one particularly effective way. According to Wabi-sabi, the best way to experience our everyday life is by letting go of the chaos and distractions that take away from these experiences. Wabi-sabi argues that when we do this, we become more conscious of our interactions with others and our environments. These shared experiences become far more precious to us, and this is the key to a fulfilling life. This relationship between space and finding meaning and purpose in our lives is what this project aims to examine.