top of page

Sense and Sensibility of Architecture

Architecture based on senses, ©Amodini Allu

As we all assume Architecture is about doors, windows, walls, etc., but in the actual world, it conveys a much deeper meaning than that. Talking about the term ‘Architecture’ in terms of senses can be an eye-opener to all of us.

Have we ever thought, how human senses can have an impact on a built space? Well, a built space such as home, shopping complex, theatre, and anything will definitely be stored in every people’s mind who visits or resides there. It is stored in our minds as a memory. Irrelevant of what type it may be, but it gets stored deep down.

The human senses which are majorly associated with Architecture are Visual, Auditory, olfactory, and haptic senses. Sense of taste cannot be applied directly yet they have a connection through memory for eg, a hotel, or a place where you had the best feast, etc.,

Visual sense

As we all know, any building built or designed in a locality will be based on the visual character of the façade. When it is easy to identify a building visually, the location of doors and windows and other architectural elements must be used in such a way that it serves the function in some way from the internal realm as well. And, it is important to note that it serves its sole purpose of function in the building as a whole.

Illustration showing visual sense of Architecture, ©Amodini Allu

Hence, it is obvious that is the first noticeable character of a building. Although it is quite direct to design a façade with a pleasing door and window, it is still important to document the impact that will have on our senses.

Auditory sense

This is the feeling you get when you enter a space, where the sense of silence, noise and music is heard and felt. Considering a person living by the mountains listening to the sound of leaves and breeze can lead a serene life compared to the person living in the heart of the city. There are some marvelous structures around the world that were designed in order to serve the auditory sense of humans through resonating some kind of sounds produced from the structures itself. One such beautiful living example is the Musical pillars of Meenakshi amman temple situated in Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India.

Sound resonating pillars of Meenaskhi amman temple, ©Amodini Allu

One of the oldest examples is the caves of Lascaux. Depicting bison fight in the early period of human era.

Olfactory sense

We as humans tend to have a strong connection with olfactory sense, because that has an immediate reaction on us. This can be directly applied to a space or can be connected with the function of the space. A better example can be quoted from an Urban study that was documented while studying a commercial market in Trichy, Tamil Nadu. During the documentation, few highlighted spots were studied to understand the type of smell produced there and it seemed to have nostalgic connection with the human minds. That made them remember a few particular incidents about the place.

©Amodini Allu
©Amodini Allu

©Amodini Allu
©Amodini Allu

Haptic sense

One thing to always remember is that a person is 24*7 times constantly in contact with the ground which means he / she is connected directly with the world and the places they travel.

As quoted by the author JuhanniPalasma in his book ‘The eyes of the skin’,

“Architecture articulates the experiences of being-in-the-world and strengthens our sense of reality and self; it does not make us inhabit worlds of mere fabrication and fantasy."

The author strongly writes that a place or a building is strongly remembered by a human brain only when it has a strong sensory impact on them. That can be a stone pathway, a ceramic door knob or beautiful door, window or a wall.

Haptic sense is considered to be mother of all the other senses of Humans, as it is developed at an earlier stage compared to the other senses.

©Amodini Allu

It is becoming a crucial condition to utilize all the sensory characters while designing a building or a space, yet Architects and designers around the world are experimenting to combine and bring in the senses into their designs as much as possible. Such that it creates a strong mental image in their minds and remains in their memory for a longer period of time.

As Architects and designers, it is our responsibility to design life-enhancing interactive spaces that will build a sensory engagement with one another.




Amodini an amateur enthusiast, who is an Architect by day and an observer as a whole, pushes her limits to explore herself as an artist and relating her works with Architecture. She truly believes that studying Architecture has laid her a basic platform to try every possible thing to exhibit her ideas. Practicing as a full time Architect for almost 2 years now, along with designing she also developed her new found interest towards which she is truly happy about. During her free time, she enjoys reading and making quirky illustrations.


bottom of page