Architecture and poetry are related. They both rely on design and the two employ repetition and variation. The Finnish architect Juhani Pallasmaa considers architecture also a form of mental space.
The mental space of poetry is one that I seek. Poetry creates an associational field of energy that is driven by breath, by sound, and by form. The lines of poetry have tension and release, and they propel the reader into a mind space that is one of discovery. It's possible to speak of the things that cannot be articulated in any other way.
In an interview on an architectural website, Archdaily, Pallasma provides some insight into his work. He has two books about architecture: The Thinking Hand and The Eyes of the Skin. These reflect on the importance of the physical senses and the sense of touch in his work:
There is a rather wide agreement in science that our amazing hands are not products of our spectacular brains, but we have our amazing brains due to our spectacular hands. The body and the hands participate in everything we do, perception, remembering, thinking and imagining, not to speak of physically making something.
In my view, everything is related with everything else, and as an architect you can nourish your mind through philosophy, poetry, art and the sciences. The important thing is that your mind keeps seeking for new things and their interrelationships. Besides, the best medicine against the negative consequences of aging is to maintain your sense of curiosity.Of writing, he says:
Writing has turned into a journey or adventure for me. After I have written the first sentence, the process begins, and I even frequently end up eliminating my first sentence or changing the title several times. My writing always arises from my personal observations and thoughts. I do use a lot of quotes, but that is for the purpose of creating a layering of thoughts from various historical eras. I quote thinkers, writers, scientists, artists, etc, because of my respect for what they have established and to place myself in that continuum of tradition.
Early on I also became conscious of what I was aiming at in my work, too conscious, I would say today. A high level of self-consciousness can become a problem as it interrupts the unconscious flow of thought.
Details ultimately articulate and define the idea. A sense of tactile intimacy is important for me, and I attempt to detail my buildings and objects so that they are inviting in a tactile sense. The same applies to writing; an essay can be too straight forward, rationalized and forcefully persuasive. I like my thoughts to meander instead of being too logical. I wish my writings to have an unexpectedness and non-linearity, that could bring somewhat surprising views into focus.
I also like my sentences to include ideas that I never intended or aimed at.Tom Emerson, in a book review, wrote of Pallasmaa:
The ability to absorb knowledge into one's whole being before forgetting is Pallasmaa's obsession and provides a timely, poetic conception of architecture as both haptic – represented by craft – and linguistic – fine art and literature in particular. In short it is a meditation on the existential use of knowledge in making the world.In Dwell Magazine (Oct 2015) Pallasmaa said:
In advertising and much of the commercial world, human minds are manipulated to become even more obsessive consumers. In my view, the task of art and architecture is to liberate individuals, not to manipulate. Art and architecture have to be open-ended, and that is why the poetic dimension is so essential. Only poetry can empower people in a liberating manner.Pallasmaa is a writer, teacher and artist interested in the haptic -- he pays attention to touch and the hand. The doorknob is the handshake of the house, he says.
Writing usually comes through the hand, and a book provides a sensual object for the reader to hold. Haptic poetry is poetry that relies on the sense of touch and texture to provide meaning. It is sculptural. There are examples of this form online, see http://www.bmstroud.com/haptic-poetry.html.
In poetry, Pallasmaa's ideas can also be applied. Architecture and poetry both seek emotional resonance. The architect and the writer search for a form that is liberating.