Spatial Fragments, Visual Distortions and Processes of Sense Making


  • Gabriele Knueppel RMIT University



Multi-sensory, Spatial design, Interior architecture


A series of conversations between a group of blind and visually impaired participants and myself about non- visual and multi-sensory spatial encounters is used as the ground for discussion in this design research paper. Specific issues examined include the role of the visual, the auditory and the tactile in relation to the human body, movement, memory, sensory landmarks and processes of sense making. Within the participants’ stories of their experiences, spatial and temporal interiors emerge that are mostly based on non-visual encounters with architectural environments, yet may evoke visual imagery in the reader. Their accounts inspire a consideration of new ways of thinking about interior architectural practice and the tools and techniques used in the design process. Writing and drawing are positioned as important methods for exploring, presenting and designing multi-sensory interiors. The main questions investigated are how to communicate qualities of spatial environments that are encountered and remembered in non-visual ways in the context of interior architecture and how such accounts are capable of inspiring interior architects to think about their practice differently and therefore create new knowledge for the discipline.


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Author Biography

Gabriele Knueppel, RMIT University

Gabriele Knueppel completed a PhD by Project in the School of Architecture and Design at RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia, in 2010, which was supported by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). She has since relocated to Berlin, Germany, to pursue her interior architectural practice and postdoctoral research activities. Gabriele’s research interests focus on responsive spatial design, social interaction, multi-sensory qualities of spatial environments, connections between the visual and the auditory and the use of digital media technologies in design and designing.




How to Cite

Knueppel, Gabriele. 2012. “Spatial Fragments, Visual Distortions and Processes of Sense Making”. Idea Journal 12 (1):112-21.



Design Research Paper