Perception + Space

The experience of architecture is dependent on our corporeal existence and bodily movement in space. Here, sensory experience is both the recording of stimuli and, at the same time, an intentional act of projecting images, formal exigencies, bodily scale, and spatial cognition.

Rudolf Arnheim, 1998

Perceptual psychologist Rudolf Arnheim, recognised the relationship between architecture and our perception as dependent on a range of stimuli. He belonged with a number of scholars who analysed the impact of the environment on our behaviour, the way we feel, and how we think. To therefore understand the spaces that we value as individuals and as a society, and to design and develop new spaces to support wellbeing and performance it is essential to understand the relationship between human perception and space. This cross-disciplinary network considers the link between perception and architectural spaces from a broad perspective. In applying a variety of theories and methods our research seeks to:
1) gain a fuller understanding of how spaces were designed to alter our perceptions,
2) use progressive methods to examine the impact of space on individuals and societies, and
3) inform the preservation and production of built and natural environments.

Perception + Space brings together scholars in the fields of architecture, architectural history, heritage studies, and psychology. Members of the network seek to understand the assignation of value to modern buildings. Their studies wish to understand if and how modernism is perceived as part of cultural heritage. Other projects investigate the effects of different types of spaces on episodic memory and the effect of fa├žade designs in historic streetscapes on cognitive restoration.

Dr Tanja Poppelreuter

Lecturer in the History and Theory of Architecture

Dr Catherine Thompson

Lecturer in Cognitive Psychology