The sense of embodiment

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Street, Gubbio, Italy

Arcade outside Vicenza, Italy

We all can discern space textures, borders, centers and flows as we orient ourselves in perceived and embodied space. Some natural or built areas harmonize with our perceptions and desires, and some do not. Architects, and the landscape architects and interior designers, learn how to emphasize, and create, such perceptions and effects. They can "create places" that possess different kinds of moods and flows.

The sense of embodiment in an area can be enabling or oppressive on its own quite aside from whether the design fits the use of the place. Design in that familiar sense remains very important, and difficult to do well.

But the "places" so created or improved are not necessarily places in the sense that I want to study, for they may or may not have social grammars. While it would be very unusual that designers would set to work on an area that was not to have a social grammar, it would be possible to do so, perhaps as a kind of artwork, perhaps for individual satisfaction, perhaps in the hope that the area or building would later become a "place" in the social sense. However, skills at emphasis and moulding often lag behind the new kinds of unities that social places are trying to show. We are struggling, today, to find appropriate architectural moves and tactics that will emphasize and help create the new kinds of unity.