On the Nature of Public Interiority

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Issue Vol 3 No 1 (2020)
Published Jan 24, 2020
Section Articles
Article downloads 356
DOI https://doi.org/10.7454/in.v3i1.72
Submitted : Sep 30, 2019 | Accepted : Dec 20, 2019

Liz Teston


This essay explores the intersection between interiority, urbanism, and human perception. I view interiority as a condition of the senses rather than an indoor place. Revelations of interiority can be discovered within the urban realm, in public spaces, and in intimate interior conditions. I am especially interested in “public interiority” or these cases of interiority that can be found in exterior urban places. Understanding interiority as a perceived condition grounds the built environment in phenomenology, varied human experiences, and everyday conditions. Herein, I begin with an ontology of interiority, which focuses on various ways of perceiving the nature of things—phenomenology, structuralism, and object-oriented-ontology (OOO). From there, I will analyse a taxonomy of public interiorities, including various strains of form-based, programmatic, atmospheric, and psychological public interiorities. Using real-world examples from my previous research in Bucharest, Romania, New York, and Knoxville, Tennessee as well as well-established examples in art and design, I will then analyse various urban experiences of interiority, and the way built conditions shape experience. In this way, I will bring the interior to the city.

Keywords: public interiority, phenomenology, atmospheres, urbanism, ontology

Article Details

How to Cite
TestonL. (2020). On the Nature of Public Interiority. Interiority, 3(1), 61-82. https://doi.org/10.7454/in.v3i1.72
Author Biography

Liz Teston, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, USA

Liz Teston is an associate professor in the School of Interior Architecture at University of Tennessee. Her area of research includes the politics of design, and the impact of memory and cultural identity on everyday design contexts.

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