Understanding the Built Environment: Experience and Interpretation as Weaving between the Object and the Work

By Levent Kara.

Published by The International Journal of the Constructed Environment

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

As a vessel that sustains the continuity of a meaningful life for the society, the built environment has an inevitable symbolic nature beyond its utilitarian and pragmatic aspects. While it emerges socio-historically at the intersection of various modes of cultural production, as the melting pot of a multiplicity of different modes of cultural experience, its concrete presence as a particular spatio-temporal construction poses a question of specificity for our experience and interpretation of our surroundings beyond how we use them. In this paper, I will outline a notion of interpretation of the built environment in terms of the first-person phenomenal experience and argue that an aesthetic modality of lived object experience precedes other layers of our understanding of the built environment as a cultural work.

Keywords: Built Environment, Architecture, Interpretation, Experience, Phenomenology, Text, Object, Constructed Environment, Symbolic Meaning

The International Journal of the Constructed Environment, Volume 1, Issue 2, pp.1-6. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 757.096KB).

Dr. Levent Kara

Assistant Professor, School of Architecture and Community Design, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL, USA

Dr. Levent Kara joined the University of South Florida School of Architecture and Community Design in 2010. He received his B.Arch and M.Arch degrees from Orta Dogu Teknik Universitesi (Turkey) and his Ph.D. from the University of Florida. Dr. Kara is a registered architect in Turkey where he practiced for several years before coming to the University of Florida for doctoral studies in 2002 with a full four-year Alumni Fellowship. His practice in Turkey involved commissioned design work, competition entries, and construction supervision. Prior to his appointment at USF, Dr. Kara taught design studios and theory and history courses in the School of Architecture at the University of Florida as a tenure-track Assistant Professor. Dr. Kara’s research investigates architectural design as a critical practice in the production of culture. To this end, his scholarship mainly concentrates on the epistemology of design thinking, from the fundamental modalities of architectural design in terms of the relation between thinking and making, to the contemporary dilemmas surrounding the theory/practice dichotomy. This main focus on the epistemology of architectural design is further supported by lateral research on the interfaces between architectural design and other modes of cultural production including formal philosophical investigations in natural epistemology, aesthetics and culture theory, and pedagogical investigations in architectural design and theory. Dr. Kara’s writings range from formal philosophical subjects in epistemology, aesthetics, and culture theory, to architectural design, theory and criticism, and architectural pedagogy.