Liminal Spaces

When modern society’s obsession with productivity leads to increasing stress and anxiety, the possibility to experience the present moment and to connect with oneself becomes more and more important. The bodily senses provide a direct connection to our immediate surroundings and enable awareness of our environment. Sensory experiences influence our perception of space. As Maurice Merleau Ponty states: The body is our general medium for having a world.

Juhani Pallasmaa talks about this body experience. Our bodies and movements are in constant interaction with the environment; the world and the self inform and redefine each other constantly. The percept of the body and the image of the world turn into one single continuous existential experience; there is nobody separate from its domicile in space, and there is no space unrelated to the unconscious image of the perceiving self.

Moving through the urban environment means being exposed to constant stimulation, which can be overwhelming and stressful. Using the concept of phenomenological thresholds allows rethinking urban situations through broader sensorial narratives. Bernard Tschumi’s spatial sequences encourage understanding architecture as being structured through transitions of different experiences.

Bodies not only move in but generate space produced by and through their movements

Bernard Tschumi

This sequence of explorations proposes liminal spaces as a tool to design within experiential landscapes. Juhani Pallasmaa’s research into the ocular-centralised society speaks about bringing attention to other senses. Therefore, the research projects focus on different senses: the visual and the non-visual, the acoustic, the haptic and tactile. Might specific experiential thresholds allow us to step out of overstimulation towards relaxation? Might isolating particular senses hold potential for experiential awareness, offering thresholds in the city, through isolation, disruption, or enhancement of specific sensual stimulations? The work explores this field through both the proposal of speculative interventions within the city fabric and the questioning of the common language of drawing which surrounds design


  1. Stephanie Brown. Speed: Facing Our Addiction to Fast and Faster—And Overcoming Our Fear of Slowing Down. Berkley (2014).
  2. Maurice Merleau-Ponty. Phenomenology of Perception, (1945).
  3. Juhani Pallasmaa. The Eyes of the Skin: Architecture and the Senses. Wiley (2012).
  4. Bernard Tschumi. Architecture and Limits III. In : Art Forum (March 1981, Vol. 19, No. 7)
A Choreography of Fog

Fog has the facility to change our vision and present us with new perspectives. It can influence our way of moving through, interrupting routine, slowing us down, becoming more aware, more mindful. These explorations focus on the development of an architectural drawing method, that would allow to design with and through fog.

Slowing Down

An investigation into perceived alteration in perception as moving through Bergen streets was analysed through a  series of sequential drawings in Bergen. The work indicated that our peripheral vision and frames of focus as we move through a narrow space that opens into a wide space effect our sense of speed. This understanding was then harnessed to create an intervention in Toronto.

A Place for Relaxation

A focus on sound revealed the possibility of acoustic thresholds to generate a space where one steps away from the city. The work evolved the potential of a sound space, where the acoustic of the water became the focus for the mind. The proposal developed an opportunity for a private place to step out from the city and recalibrate connections to the environment.