Mediating new individual-environment relations through experimentation on ambience

Polina Chebotareva, Nina Rask

Research output: Journal Article or Conference Article in JournalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


This article presents an exploration of two previously overlooked aspects of atmosphere. First, that atmosphere lies at the intersection of the natural, built and social environments. Second, that architectural design can bring an existing atmosphere to users’ attention. We present the hypothesis that by bringing an existing atmosphere to users’ attention, architects can stimulate explorative behavior and the formation of new relations between individual and environment. This hypothesis is based on ecological theory of perception, examples of contemporary experimental architecture and the ethics of ambience.
We explore our hypothesis in two experimentations on ambience. The first experimentation follows the method of narrative inquiry and presents a reconceptualization of ‘the primitive hut’ by Marc-Antoine Laugier. Results from the experimentation show how elements such as a gush of wind can be perceived as an architectural quality. The second experimentation follows the method of research by design and presents the theoretically-driven design process of the installation Urban Carpet. First results show that the installation made users more aware of their body-in-space, and users started interacting with the site in a new way. The experimentations introduce new methods to ambience research and shift the research focus to mediation of new individual-environment relations.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number4
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018


  • atmosphere, ambience, affordances, primitive hut, explorative behavior


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