How Differing Models of Perception Affect Design Decisions

By Stephen Temple.

Published by The International Journal of Architectonic, Spatial, and Environmental Design

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: April 11, 2014 $US5.00

Relationships between perceivers and environments are constructed within human perception, and they structure how we come to know the environment. Environment design is highly influenced by designers’ knowledge of how they think perception works, which, in turn, has consequences for design decision making and meaning. Unconsciously held assumptions about perception cause design decisions that configure the environment consistently only with particular modes of perception. Assumptions like “mind/body dualism” and “sense-data” impact perceptual experiences in everyday life. If uninspected, these concepts become unwitting determinants of aesthetic decision making that prefigures other design determinants (i.e., materials; parametrics; even stylistic determinants). Conscious understanding of perception enables a designer to distinguish issues, such as what is real from imagery within more purposeful design methodology sustaining unanimity of both the experiential and imaginary. Objectives of this paper focus on the relevance of a working understanding of models of human perception as underlying actors on effective cognitive frameworks that contribute to aesthetic appearances. This paper investigates the interrelationship of a knowledge base on theories of perception to design theories and discusses aesthetic preferences as consequence of a lack of a designer’s understanding or consideration of understanding theories of perception. Discussion is supported by analysis of designed environments in which a designer’s comprehension of perception plays a role in forming aesthetic decisions.

Keywords: Perception, Architectural Design, Philosophy, Design Process, Aesthetics

The International Journal of Architectonic, Spatial, and Environmental Design, Volume 7, Issue 3, April 2014, pp.1-10. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: April 11, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 262.808KB)).

Prof. Stephen Temple

Associate Professor of Architecture and Design, Department of Architecture, University of Texas, San Antonio, Texas, USA

I am an instructor and researcher in architecture and interior design who also builds to explore theory. My primary interest is in design processes as a precursor to "environmental aesthetics", and its implications for design education, especially beginning design. I teach architectural design, beginning design, and aesthetics, and have established “making” as a principle foundation design experience. My research interests include architectural design theory and process research; the psychology of learning; philosophy of perception; visual perception; phenomenology; beginning design education; digital media integration; design / build; photography; woodworking; furniture design; and furniture making. Using education psychology as a basis for teaching design of the constructed environment is my primary research. I recently published a book, Making Thinking: Beginning Architectural Design Education (KendallHunt 2011)