Mediating new individual-environment relations through experimentation on ambiance

Publications: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-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 the ecological theory of perception, examples of contemporary experimental architecture and the ethics of ambiance.
We explore our hypothesis with two experimentations on ambiance. 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. The 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 ambiance research and shift the research focus to mediation of new individual-environment relations.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number4
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • atmosphere
  • ambiance
  • affordances
  • primitive hut
  • explorative behavior

Artistic research

  • No

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