The atmosphere of a room may be oppressive, the atmosphere of a valley may be joyful. But on the other side you can argue about atmospheres and you even can agree with others about what sort of atmosphere is present in a certain room or landscape.
—Gernot Böhme, The Aesthetics of Atmospheres.
This thesis highlights our perception of atmosphere in architecture by creating a simulation of an art museum, devoid of artwork yet containing all the trappings of its contemporaries. The project is situated in Basel, which has its multitude of galleries and museums referenced in the design. This process results in what is essentially a model of signs that encourages the imagination—the catalyst for the perception of atmosphere according to Juhani Pallasmaa. The simulated museum promotes a pervasive sense of atmosphere by creating didactic, spatial gradients and juxtaposed, sudden clashes of different museum spaces. These experiences incite ambiguous associations that make one conscious of their own aesthetic memories, and focuses visitors’ minds inward. One stops looking at objects and elements and instead probes their subconscious, transforming the typical museum experience into its antithesis. The project is an experimental context to ask, is the feeling of atmosphere enhanced or weakened by personal associations, and how obvious or vague must they be in order for this to happen?