Oral Architecture

10 July, 2018

"The most archaic origin of architectural space is in the cavity of the mouth."

Juhani Pallasmaa, Architect and Writer

If I place smooth, polished onyx next to rough cast concrete in a bath, I employ sensations for touch and comfort for the skin.  The same employment of dichotomous material relationships of silky and rough remind me of the textures I feel in my mouth while eating.  I admit to certain architectural materials looking delicious and on occasions I have felt compelled to taste them.  Holding a glazed crystal cubed brick of venetian glass makes me what to eat it and my tongue feels compelled to test the texture.

As young children, we explore the new world through touch and taste.  Everyone can recall the will of a young child to explore anything and everything through the placing of objects in their mouth.  The cavity of the mouth is like the early cave dwelling - a place where we can retreat to -  as a physical void within ourselves that can be sized and stroked by the tongue.  Our hands can touch and survey a cave in a similar way.  I enjoy textural variations while eating, a good chicken caesar salad,the juxtaposition between fineness and roughness, coarseness and smoothness creates an intermixture of texture within the cavity of my mouth.  The neurones in my brain create the image of the food within my mouth through information gathered by my tongue and mouth.

Architecture has a similar capacity to evoke a texture within oneself, it is just experienced through different senses other than taste.