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Pallavi Ajmani

The Architecture of Awe

An exploration of how to best aide the pursuit of rendering awe in spaces, without excluding any classes or creeds.

By 2050, 68% of the global population will be living in cities. Relatedly, there are studied indications of a relationship between developed schizophrenia and living in urban environments. Yet, as new cities rise, New York City continues to be the pinnacle of what living in a city should look like. But we can live with a much better understanding of how to live in our cities. Using what we know about the relationship between space and awe, how might we render such feelings in NYC’s constrained spaces, without rejecting any class or creed?



I spoke to several researchers, designers, and impacts. I utilised four tactics: reading, seeing, listening, and learning. Reading was critical to comprehending what happens when awe is rendered, as well as understanding aesthetic judgement. Seeing was critical to understanding how urban impacts have learned to render awe and beauty in their own homes, or how they’ve failed to do so. Listening and learning was ultimately the most valuable, as it helped me create a greater empathy complex for the impacts of these spaces.



I reached two conclusions: one, spaces are subjective to the impacts, and two, awe-inspiring spatial design is a holistic science. This led me to ask: how might we empower people from all backgrounds to create awe-inspiring spaces? Prior to COVID-19, the culmination of this project would have been a video that would serve as an intimate guide, accompanied with a book of guiding principles. Post COVID-19, I have compiled a book of tactics with comprehensive, but easy-to-consume verbiage to better help guide consumers.

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