Moving (in) space
: the role of the body in architectural experience

  • Jule Anna Ulrike Kurbjeweit (Student)

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Space, being omnipresent, is as much taken for granted as it is formative for the experience of everyday life. Acknowledging the experiential dimension of space, architecture has seen an increased interest in its lived quality, as opposed to pure formalism or functionalism. The phenomenological critique of architecture in particular, with its beginnings in the 1950s, has called for a commitment to the aspect of human experience, emphasising the role of the body. In this view, the question of the role of the body in how we experience architectural space arises. Any thinking about the experience of space is necessarily informed by how space itself is understood. Indeed, the conception of space has seen a significant shift within both culture and science since around the middle of the last century, and with it the way in which architects and artists deal with spatial relations.Based on the research combining a theoretical investigation with interviews and a central case study, it will be argued that spatial and architectural experience is essentially bodily. Firstly, it is through the body that we are situated in the world and in space and secondly, it is the body’s own corporeality and spatiality that allows us to experience architecture’s physicality and spatiality. Finally, architecture stimulates movement, and the body responds to this stimulus with movement, expressing our capacity to act as subjects. Therefore, the body and space articulate each other in a reciprocal relation of mutual signification
Date of Award27 Feb 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Universidade Católica Portuguesa
SupervisorDiana Gonçalves (Supervisor)


  • Space
  • Architecture
  • Experience
  • Embodiment
  • Being-in-the-world


  • Mestrado em Estudos de Cultura

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