Empathic Imagination: A talk by Juhani Pallasmaa at Bengal Architecture Symposium 02

Tue 15 Nov - Tue 15 Nov' 16

With an introduction by Marina Tabassum, Juhani Pallasmaa's talk transcends the boundaries of how we typically understand architecture to a phenomenological experience.

Renowned Finnish architect and writer Juhani Pallasmaa began his talk by sharing the view, that architecture is the choreography of life. There is interaction and resonance of life within it. He feels that not enough architects understand atmospheres in our consciousness and imaginations. He argued that perceptions have a distinct imaginative component.

Pallasmaa says that architecture is a combination of two realms— one which is a physical matter of execution and the other which is of mental imagery. According to him, buildings are products of execution of the mental imagery. Pallasmaa categorised imagination into two quantitative types: the formal imagination which is primarily engaged with topological facts, and the empathetic imagination which evokes multisensory, integrated, and lived experiences of the flesh. According to him, artistic works are not symbols or metaphors for something else, they are authentic realities. All art exists in two realms simultaneously – one of physical matter and execution and another of mental imagery. He believes that even the art of poetry is engaged with the material world and the body.