ARCHITECTURE THROUGH OTHER EYES
“The eye is a dictator”, says one of the main characters in the picture and audio book ‘Architecture Through Other Eyes’ (Architectuur door andere ogen). The central theme in this project is the experience of architecture outside of the visual sense. What do you feel, smell and hear in a building? Does a building tell more than what you see in the first instance? Does a building have a soul and how do you experience that?
Radio makers wander with blind people through buildings for this project. The blind person listens to, sniffs and feels the space and gives his or her judgement about it. The acoustics of a space determine to a great degree how a blind person feels in a certain place. Therefore, much attention is given in the audio reviews to the acoustics of the spaces, whereby the strolls become real listening experiences.
In this audio review, radio maker Bente Hamel walks with the American singer-songwriter Raul Midón through the Haka-building in Rotterdam. The building was designed around 1930 as head office for a cooperative wholesaler’s organization. Currently, the building is home to various businesses and institutions that work in the field of water and energy. Midón plays his guitar, listens carefully, touches a wall made of clothes and is excited by rough edges.
‘Architecture Through Other Eyes’ is a beautifully designed picture and audio book in which eight blind/visually challenged people and eight buildings are in focus. Written portraits give an image of the youth of the main characters, the way they got to know the world and how they now experience the built surroundings around them. The history of the buildings is also described in ‘Architecture Through Other Eyes’. The book further contains portrait photos and various tactile printing methods which make ‘Architecture Through Other Eyes a tangible publication’. The audio reviews have been added to the edition on CD. Finally, the book contains a technical operating manual with pointers for designers, architects and policy makers in behalf of sensorial architecture.
In the past, you would call this publication a Gesamtkunstwerk. Nowadays, it is called a crossmedia project. Moreover, the audio reviews tempt the sighted person to walk with closed eyes through buildings and to let their ears do the work.
Selected for the International Feature Conference in Leipzig.
Published by De Kunst.
‘Architecture Through Other Eyes’ is an initiative of Bastiaan van de Kraats, architect and owner of architecture agency 1meter98, and Martijn Jordans, active for years in the field of public communication. Joost Wilgenhof, freelance journalist/radio documentary maker, submitted this project for the 40th IFC. Chief editor Marloes Ehlings, mastering Arno Peeters.