• Emina Čamdžić

Psychology of Architectural Experience


Author: Emina Čamdžic, BA Dip. Arch. MA


An experience of place is one of the most important factors in sense of place. Can we identify with the spaces that surround us, the buildings we live in, or the road we walk everyday? Do we perceive architecture as a being with body and soul?

If cities could speak, what stories would they whisper to us? Would they be happy, sad, angered on the people who lived there, who built their houses and who believed in the future? Is a place in a city a black and white movie or do we see things a bit more complex? The fact is that people alongside everyday life are still devoid of emotions when it comes to space in which they live or are washed out of emotions and robotized.

Winston Churchill believed that architecture influenced us, and vice versa. He perceived the built and natural environment, and conveyed that through many of 500 paintings of buildings and landscapes which he painted.

We often talk about the soul of a city and our need to identify ourselves with the city we live in. What is the way a place contributes to personal or community identification and vice versa? Those places in Bosnia- Herzegovina might be connected to the Olympic games '84 in Sarajevo; current change of Skenderija, the first underground mixed-use development in Sarajevo with its history as cultural space during the Siege of Sarajevo which is now to be totally changed to a skyscraper; the fall or rebuilding of the Old Bridge in Mostar; meaning of the sentence „The Museum is Closed“ on the door of the National Museum BH, a building with its treasure as is Sarajevo Hagada from 500 years ago. Youth are now enjoying meals in Revolucija1784 next to the place where bombs killed people waiting for bread in heart of Sarajevo.

Architects and spatial planners have a role and a task that should not be neglected or subjugated and a role that is not just local and doesn't just shape an interior for better feel of home, but should influence social and economic processes, shape industry innovations, technology growth, and also question the use of architecture on our daily habits and behaviour.

The 1990s War in BH and the siege of Sarajevo resulted in a complete annihilation of Sarajevo's built environment. This broke down the city's infrastructure and denied thousands of civilians food, water, medicine.

And today two decades later Sarajevo has no water at night. Is this what makes a 21st century resilient, sustainable city? Do we take architecture for granted in cities where social needs are higher and the visible becomes invisible? In early Modernism architects thought they could change societies.

In contemporary societies due to changes in people’s lifestyles and development of technological advances, places convey no meanings anymore and people suffer from a sense of ‘placelessness’. In conclusion, it's inevitable to realize that cities need to have richness of psychological and socio-cultural meaning in relation to physical comfort, safety, and performance criteria. Photos below are courtesy of Emina Camdzic's work and publications.

Ovaj naučni članak je iz 2017. godine i još je aktuelan. Dio je projektne dokumentacije za RA simpozij (Royal Academy of Arts).


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