Buildings as a Means to Intersubjectivity

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Abstract

Philosophers, psychologists, and sociologists have long been interested in how we can overcome the inherently subjective nature of human existence to share experiences with others. A range of different ways of transcending the limits of the individual human body have been proposed, from empathy to sexual relationships. Using examples drawn from traditional Japanese architecture, this article argues that, as a form of cohabitable surrogate body, buildings can also be a means of achieving this goal. To this end, it demonstrates how the tectonic practices of enclosing space, establishing artificial ground planes, and screening inside from out can effectively disperse three fundamental existential experiences usually defined by and limited to the individual human body: here, this, and now.