Touching Materials Visually: About the Dominance of Vision in Building Material Assessment
Lisa Wastiels, Hendrik N. J. Schifferstein, Ine Wouters, Ann Heylighen


Designers’ visual way of knowing and working tends to be highly valued in design research. In architecture such an approach is increasingly criticized. Since people experience buildings with all their senses, architects’ visual focus is said to the run the risk of disregarding non-visual aspects. This study focuses on the visual and tactile assessment of building materials. Analyses show that architecture students assess several experiential qualities differently by touch than by vision. Vision dominates the overall assessment, yet does not always anticipate touch correctly. Moreover architecture students seem to be unaware of how common building materials feel, and are unable to identify them by touch only. This identifies the need for a more elaborate consideration of non-visual aspects during design in general and design education in particular.

Full Text: PDF HTML