The smell of architecture

What do the city, space and life of the digital future look like? How will we live there and what opportunities and dangers does the digitalization of our world hold?

Man has five senses with which he perceives his environment. Architects and designers focus primarily on visual perception, but architecture and space also appeal to the sense of smell. Every material, every room or place has its own smell. This has a direct effect on our well-being and on our orientation. We associate scent, for example, with good and bad properties of a material, a room or a place.

Smells and scents have the potential to evoke emotions, awaken memories and facilitate orientation. Whether natural or artificially produced, whether emanating from a product or a material or perceived as a mixture of smells in a room or in the environment, they all have an immediate and direct effect via the brain. We all react differently to scents. Smell, which some find pleasant, can be distracting to others. Fragrances and scents stimulate our behavior and perception. They dig deep into the long-term memory, and are thus important reminder carriers.

Even without exact designation of fragrances we respond to known smells with feelings and mental images. Conversely, call a smell in memory images and situations. Who does not know the intense smell of pine cladded space. Or we recognize the smell of a school, a hospital, the staircases of our grandmothers or smell of our own home. All these odors are in any way acting consciously or unconsciously. Consciously controlled, they can make for a pleasant indoor climate, or else (possibly artificially enhanced) as scented advertising used for consumption purposes.

The aim of the series of lectures and exhibition is to consider the effect of fragrances on the people in space from different positions and individual perspective, and to get to know application areas and operation of fragrances in our everyday life, in the public space and the materials.

Architectural spaces and materials with matching fragrances.
architectural photography: Hans H. Münchhalfen, Basel
Fragrances: Andreas Wilhelm, Wilhelm Perfume, Zürich, Dubai

the event series takes place with the kind support of 'CMS Christoph Merian Stiftung'.