Architecture and the Senses
Luis Montalvo
Expository Writing
Professor Handy

In Juhani Pallasmaa’s essay The Eyes of the Skin: Architecture and the Senses, Pallasmaa argues that the world around us, specifically architecture, “touches” us. Pallasmaa emphasizes that humans must be willing to use all their senses not just their vision in order to experience the world and be touched by it. Unfortunately, many of Pallasmaa’s ideas and thoughts are contradicting and hard to grasp. For example, Pallasmaa contradicts himself regarding the importance of vision. In the beginning of the essay, he argues how people without vision are and at a major disadvantage because of their lack of sight. Pallasmaa goes as far as quoting great Greek philosophers Plato and Aristotle describing vision as “the mind’s eye” (Pallasmaa 283). In other words, knowledge and wisdom are coherent with the ability to see. Yet as one continues to analyze Pallasmaa’s essay, one can’t help but notice him endorsing and encouraging the reader to be open to using all of his or her senses. He insinuates that people who only use their vision are narrow-minded and power hungry. Pallasmaa’s desire for a pan-sensory engagement is not only extremely complex but also rather unrealistic. Despite this fact, Pallasmaa does present many valid and practical arguments to the reader including the over emphasis on vision, the magnificent manner in which architecture can touch us, the significance of darkness and shadow, and the importance of being open to using each and every one of our senses.
In the beginning of the essay The Eyes of the Skin: Architecture and the Senses, author Juhani Pallasmaa details and journeys the importance and significance of vision. Pallasmaa’s ideals appear to be biased in the first section entitled Vision and Knowledge. The author quickly relates light and vision to the “truth” (283). He also notes the connection between vision and intellect.   Pallasmaa says of vision “It...

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