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Gradient of Senses

Jelezniac Bianca-Ruxandra, Chirchiboi Maria-Alexandra & Stan Patricia

How can the architectural space create a multisensory experience for its users? By involving their senses, one by one, or all at once, architecture has the power to generate emotions. At the same time, museums are cultural spaces specifically based on the interaction between visitor and the visited environment, and the ways they can shape one another.

Our project revolves around the idea of a well-perceived Gradient of Senses - a space that can progressively touch the deepest human emotions. The Sensory Museum imagined by us is half buried in a mountain cliff near Tsambika Beach, Greece.1By choosing this site, we also aimed at creating a spatial gradient: from the artificial environment, hidden from the natural light, mysterious and dynamic, to the natural environment, with its transparency and openness to the landscape, experienced in a more subtle, familiar way. These two poles are touching human perception in different ways: the buried part of the museum focuses on the senses of sound and touch, offering an isolated experience for each of them, while the part opened to the natural landscape engages the senses of taste, smell and sight, creating a gradual fusion between them.

When it comes to the overall circulation within the museum, the spaces are slightly shifted from one another. In plan, this spatial pattern made possible for us to place the technical spaces around the perimeter of the museum, freeing up the central area, while in section, it led to a height interplay.
The museum can be accessed from the main road following the exterior stairs that lead visitors to a rooftop terrace with a small bar - a space designed for relaxation with a panoramic view of the seascape.
From there, people can continue going down the stairs, heading to the actual entrance of the building. The museum welcomes them in a small reception; after buying tickets, guests can already immerse themselves in the experience of the Gradient of Senses. They have the possibility to go straight to the room designed for the sense of Sight, where the transparent communication with the exterior world challenges feelings of inner peace and tranquility, or enter the room of Taste & Smell, where a whole culinary experience begins. Guests can enjoy the open buffet restaurant with a small bar designated for feeling the flavour of various foods and drinks. The next room surprises people with a drastic change in the sensory stimulation: from the social atmosphere of the food area, to a dark space where the only thing that guides them is the primordial sense of Touch. The slightly sloping bridge can be crossed with the help of some hanging ropes with different textures. Then, reaching a completely white, new space and meeting the sign at the entrance “Walk through Silence”, people get to experience the complete absence of Sound. The soundproof acoustic walls are forming a maze where visitors can let their intuition lead them to the exit; no other senses will be stimulated. By solving the maze, people are directed to the last room, where sensory stimulation reaches a higher level. After the complete silence, here people are slowly introduced to a world dominated by Sound - melodic rhythms, lights, colours. Different layers of perception announcing the end of the experience. In their way back to the reception, people get to move through the previous senses again, but this time with more knowledge and self consciousness.

The Sensory Museum offers visitors the chance to feel their own senses being gradually stimulated by different surroundings, while awaking distinct emotions and states of mind.

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