Alliesthesia is defined as the phenomenon which describes the relationship of the internal state of an organism and the pleasure or displeasure perceived. An organism undergoes a constant change in its internal state and any change in the environment or any stimuli that has a positive change will be perceived as pleasurable.

Based on the shift in perceived pleasure , we experience positive (displeasure to pleasure)and negative (pleasure  to displeasure)

Alliesthesia is experienced in various forms;

  • Thermal alliesthesia
  • Olfactory alliesthesia
  • Gustatory alliesthesia
  • Olfactory-gustatory alliesthesia
  • Visual/Optic alliesthesia
  • Auditory alliesthesia



Thermal sense is what enables us to experience warmth and coolness. We often associate thermal sense as something that enables us to measure temperature. But the thermal nerves never tell us the temperature of an object. They are heat flow sensors that monitor how quickly parts of the body in contact with the object gains or loose heat.

Nervous systems are attuned to the changes in environment and these positive changes makes the sensation more pleasurable. The effect of this positive alliesthesia can be experienced everyday and is what helps us enjoy the different flavors in a gourmet meal or enjoy the walk under a row of trees. The altering of positive and negative changes within the comfort range is more pleasurable and active in case of thermal comfort.

Thermal Alliesthesia

Source : Rooban N on Unsplash

In case of thermal comfort a steady thermal environment was always considered ideal and attaining this requires technological and engineering interventions that are not easy to attain. But this steady and static environment is never available in nature and yet we feel more comfortable outside during the comfort periods.

This arises a question as to weather this steady state is the most desirable condition for comfort. As mentioned in Lisa Heschong’s book titled ‘Thermal Delight in Architecture’, blue is proven to be the most restful color, yet most people enjoy a colorful world , rather than a monochromatic one.


Homeostasis is the state of steady internal, physical, and chemical conditions maintained by living systems.

This is the condition of optimal functioning for the organism and includes many variables, such as body temperature and fluid balance, being kept within certain pre-set limits.

Each of these variables is controlled by one or more regulators or homeostatic mechanisms, which together maintain life.


The adaptive approach to thermal comfort recognizes that people are not passive with regard to their thermal environment, but actively control it to secure comfort. Infact, people actively seek out contrast in their physical environment as a form of experiential delight.


People enjoy thermal extremes with their opposites close at hand.

A sunny day in beach followed by cold swim in the sea & Skiing in freezing mountains followed by a hot spring

The contrast in thermal environment also makes the thermal comfort more enjoyable. This can be seen in the Persian gardens where the high walls define the boundaries of the desert and enhances the comfort of the shading of trees and the fountains.
On the other hand a warm fireplace and cozy interiors can be more pleasurable with thought of the winter storm outside.


The high pitched and light sounds of Japanese wind chimes has a sensory association with cooling and reminds us of a light breeze playing over a surface.

Furin-saisai : Torafu architects


‘furin-saisai’ is an installation assembling 800 wind chimes .

The structure responds to the theme ‘the coolness of a japanese summer’, and is made up of 306 different types of chimes, spanning the first to third floor of the venue. a miscellany of the musical pipes are arranged and hung, divided one by one within a three dimensional lattice.

This design with the light swaying of the wind chimes with their high pitched sound helps the people enjoy the slightest of breeze or air movements, and evokes a sensation of cooling from other senses of sound and vision.



“Architecture is the art of reconciliation between ourselves and the world, and this mediation takes place through the senses”

Juhani Pallasmaa


The Blur Building, Switzerland, Diller Scofidio + Renfro


The pavilion is made of filtered lake water shot as a fine mist through 13,000 fog nozzles creating an artificial cloud that measures 300 feet wide by 200 feet deep by 65 feet high. A built-in weather station controls fog output in response to shifting climatic conditions such as temperature, humidity, wind direction, and wind speed.

Domestic Astronomy, Philippe Rahm

Domestic astronomy is the prototype of an apartment where you no longer occupy a surface, you occupy an atmosphere. As they leave the floor, the functions and furnishings rise: they spread and evaporate in the atmosphere of the apartment


They stabilize at certain temperatures determined by the body, clothing and activity. The design make allowances for these physical differences in the distribution of temperature in the space and to exploit them by changing the way of life



Alliesthesia, Thermal Comfort and Architecture is a presentation of IaaC, Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia
developed at Master in Advanced Computation for Architecture & Design in (2020/2021) by:
Students: Krishnanunni Vijayakumar, Marissa Ridzuan
Faculties: Jane Burry