Affective Spaces

Affective Spaces

Architecture and the living body

Routledge, 2021

This book explores the notion of affective spacein relation to architecture. It helps to understand the first-person, direct experience of the environment and how it impacts on a person’s emotional states, influencing their perception of the world around.

Affective space has become a central notion in several discussions across philosophy, geography, anthropology, architecture, etc. However, only a limited selection of its key features finds resonance in architectural and urban theory, especially the idea of atmospheres, through the work of German phenomenologist Gernot Böhme. This book thus brings to light a wider range of issues bound to lived corporeal experience. These further issues have only received little attention in architecture, where the discourse on affective space mostly remains superficial. The theory of atmospheres, in particular, is often criticized as being a surface-level, shallow one, as it is introduced in an unsystematic and fragmented fashion and a mere “easy to use” segment of what is a wider and all but impressionistic analytical method. This book therefore provides a broader outlook on the topic and creates an entry point into a hitherto underexplored field.

The book’s theoretical foundation rests on a wide range of non-architectural sources, primarily from philosophy, anthropology and the cognitive sciences, which is strengthened through cases drawn from actual architectural and urban space. These cases thus make the book more comprehensible for readers not versed in contemporary philosophical trends.

Published November 23rd, 2020.

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Review by Jasna Sersic