Welcome. A Multisensory Approach to Architecture

Kunst, Performance, Vortrag, Roma

Entrance: via Liguria 20
Collateral Event of the Biennale Architettura 2021

Kunst, Performance, Vortrag

Entrance: via Liguria 20
Collateral Event of the Biennale Architettura 2021

The talk will be held in English and it will take place at H19:00, Central European Time (CET). 
Register here to participate.

Istituto Svizzero
Via Liguria 20, Rome

Welcome. A Multisensory Approach to Architecture

Istituto Svizzero presents a discussion with Alice Hollenstein and Isabella Pasqualini, moderated by Evelyn Steiner (Salonnière Salon Suisse).
The talk will be framed by the performance Si tu vivais ici tu serais déjà chez toi (‘If you lived here, you would already be at your place’) by Romy Rüegger with performer Giulia Crispiani.

Through neuroscience, cognitive science, psychiatry, and philosophy, we have learned more about our biological selves in recent decades than in the rest of human history, but the understanding of how design influences our mental and physical states is still very crude. In Western thought, although space appeals to the full spectrum of perceptual phenomena, a visual understanding of the art of building prevails. How can we design living spaces that incorporate and stimulate all senses and that permit a multiplicity of interactions beyond social-distancing orders? What can different disciplines such as architecture, phenomenology, and neuroscience learn from each other? Is it possible to design spatial gestures that welcome us? Urban psychologist Alice Hollenstein and scientist Isabella Pasqualini discuss how the built environment affects our behaviour, thoughts, emotions, and well-being, and why it is crucial to comprehend the designed qualities that elicit our feelings, evoke empathy, and engender community.

Following the discussion, the artist Romy Rüegger presents her performance Si tu vivais ici tu serais déjà chez toi (‘If you lived here, you would already be at your place’). In her performative works, the artist deals with space as a physical experience. How do built spaces affect the conception of identity? With Si tu vivais ici tu serais déjà chez toi, Romy Rüegger focuses on a new housing estate built in Zurich for single and working women in the 1920s by the architect Lux Guyer, who was the first woman in Switzerland to run an independent architectural practice. Using text and archival documents, the artist explores how architecture determined ideas about working women and the reality of their lives.

The event is presented within the framework of the Salon Suisse 2021, titled Bodily Encounters. It is an official Collateral Event of the Biennale Architettura 2021 organised by the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia. It offers a series of lectures, talks, performances, and cultural events.

More information here.


Alice Hollenstein (*1982) lives in Zurich and is the founder of Urban Psychology Consulting & Research. She is also the Deputy Managing Director of the Center for Urban and Real Estate Management at the University of Zurich and a lecturer in urban psychology at the University of Zurich and TU Berlin. She holds an MSc in psychology, economics, and environmental sciences. She is passionate about using an evidence-based approach for the development of cities and buildings for people – beyond the dichotomous worldview of culture and nature.

Isabella Pasqualini is an architect and a scientist. Through her work, she explores the mutual and intimate relationship between body and space using immersive and interactive multimedia, with a particular interest in the multisensory enhancement of the user’s horizon. She has a PhD in architecture and cognitive neuroscience, and she obtained a prestigious fellowship grant from the Cogito Foundation (2013) for her post-doctorate project Visual touchestouching views at the EPFL Center of Neuroprosthetics.

Romy Rüegger (*1983) lives in Zurich and Berlin. Her performances, texts and audio pieces have been featured in solo and group exhibitions, at festivals and in publications, most recently at Sonsbeek (Arnhem, 2021), ARé Performing Arts Festival (Yerevan, 2021), Badischer Kunstverein (Karlsruhe, 2020), ar/ge Kunst (Bolzano, 2019), Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen (Oberhausen, 2019), and Chinretsukan Gallery (Tokyo, 2019). Her publication Language is Skin – Scripts for Performances appeared in 2018.

Evelyn Steiner (*1981) is an architect, art historian and curator. After completing her architectural studies in Zurich (ETH) and Buenos Aires, she worked in various architecture practices in Rome, Barcelona and Zurich. In 2012 she received an MA in art history at the University of Bern. She has curated several architectural exhibitions such as Aristide Antonas. Protocols of Athens (2015), Constructing Film. Swiss Architecture in the Moving Image (2016) and the Swiss adaptation of the show Frau Architect. Over 100 years of women in architecture (2020).

In accordance with current regulations, the public is required to present a Covid Green Certificate at the entrance in order to access the event. This includes one of the following:

  • • You have received the anti-COVID-19 vaccination, with proof that you have received the first dose of vaccine at least 15 days previously or that you have completed the vaccination cycle;
  • • Recovery from COVID-19 within 6 months prior to the date of the event;
  • • Present a rapid antigenic or molecular test with a negative result within 48 hours prior to admission.