Public defence in Design, Mgr. art. Veronika Dlabáč, MLitt

Public defence from the Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Department of Design

The title of the thesis: Spaces of Embodiment: A practice-based investigation towards a new design typology for urban public spaces

Doctoral student: Veronika Dlabáč
Opponent: Prof. Ladislav Tkáčik, Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava, Slovakia
Custos: Prof. Guy Julier, Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Department of Design

Spaces of Embodiment examines how citizens can experience intimacy, embodiment and spirituality in the radically changing city. The research is situated within the fields of design and architecture, and it derives from a personal quest for a public space that enhances spiritual and embodied behaviour in a highly urbanised society. This thesis investigates the meanings and practices of contemporary, Western embodied experience, leading to a new design typology through practice-based research. It addresses the questions: What are the features of a new typology of ‘spaces of embodiment’ in the urban context? How can knowledge of the embodied experience inform the design of public space? 

The research builds on Veronika Dlabáč’s previous training as a visual artist and a placemaker. It involves a critical analysis of contemporary cities related to digitalisation and disembodiment. It brings together innovative examples through architectural art projects such as Cultural Sauna (Kulttuurisauna, Helsinki) and King’s Cross Pond (London) that offer new ways of looking at multifunctional public spaces in contemporary cities, but also rural areas such as Therme Vals (Vals, Switzerland) in relation to art and the notion of the body. The aim of this practice-based thesis is to make a contribution to knowledge within and beyond academia, via an art practitioner’s lens, by creating a design typology for ‘spaces of embodiment’. 

The findings of this doctoral research project concentrate on how the knowledge of embodied experience can inform the design of a new typology of ‘spaces of embodiment’. In this process she learned how architectural language differs from the language of designers and artists. According to the architects, the question of the ‘type’ is usually characterized by a formal structure with no relation to sensual experience. However, in this research, Veronika Dlabáč was able to apply a different approach and to explore the nuances of the typology of a space that architecture is unable to capture. 

Thesis available for public display 10 days prior to the defence at:

Contact information:

Email  [email protected]
Mobile  +421910583120

See also:

Link to the doctoral thesis:

Doctoral theses in the School of Arts, Design and Architecture:

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