Experiencing Architecture / Arch121

This week, our assignment was about Steen Eiler Rasmussen’s book, Experiencing Architecture. After that assignment, I decided to do research more deeply about Rasmussen since I thought that his ideas are really interesting in terms of architectural qualities. Also, in this reading, Rasmussen explains his ideas very clearly by using common examples.

Initially, he starts to explain his thought by mentioning relation between architecture and fine art. According to him, both of them interested in ”appearance” concerns, also their using techniques should be utilized and harmonized. Because architects work with form and mass like a sculptor, we may resemble this situation to painters who work with colors. However, for him, architecture is more abstract such as regulating lines which have already mentioned. He also added a statement which I like it so much, ”Architecture and art should not be explained, it must be experienced.” This is what we have mentioned since the beginning. That statement explains all architectural necessities like legibility, harmony, whether eyesore or not, utility and such.

In terms of creating new one, Rasmussen was thinking that when you are in a modern city, you should find a more suitable solutions in order to demonstrate your time’s quality if you are architect, like a Rasmussen’s statement, ”Building should be preferably ahead of it’s time when planned so that it will be keeping with times as long as it stands.” I totally agree with this statement due to using new techniques. If we prefer previous and more older architecture styles, it couldn’t express themselves in terms of reflecting own qualities.

Moreover, another thing which I loved, Rasmussen’s examples from cups to tennis racquets. Because all of them related to life and also ”experiencing”, they are really clear, understandable. Then I thought that this is a kind of observation in terms of lightness, softness, roughness and such. In that part, he emphasizes relation between observation and architecture. According to him, people started to observe their surroundings while they were children and this is not only surroundings but also functions of them. That’s why, it is quite significant to understand utility of architecture.

  • Rasmussen, S.E. “Basic Observations” in: Experiencing Architecture, Chapman & Hall, 1959, pp. 9-34.

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