In this book Pallasmaa progresses his case for a multi-sensory approach to architecture, espoused in The Eyes of the Skin , by taking a wider view of the role of embodiment in human existential reactions, experiences and expressions as well as the processes of making and thinking. ' The Thinking Hand ' is a metaphor for the characteristic independence and autonomous activity of all our senses as they constantly scan the physical world. Many of our most crucial skills are internalised as automatic reactions that we are not consciously aware of. Even in the case of learning skills, the sequence of movements in a task is internalised and embodied rather than understood and remembered intellectually. Prevailing educational philosophies continue to emphasise conceptual, intellectual and verbal knowledge over this tacit and non-conceptual wisdom of our embodied processes, which is so essential to our experience and understanding of the physical and the built.
Juhani Pallasmaa is one of Finland's most distinguished architects and architectural thinkers. His previous positions include: Rector of the Institute of Industrial Arts, Helsinki; Director of the Museum of Finnish Architecture, Helsinki; and Professor and Dean of the Faculty of Architecture, Helsinki University of Technology. He has also held visiting professorships in several universities internationally. Pallasmaa is the authoreditor of 24 books, including The Eyes of the Skin: Architecture and the Senses (Academy, 1995 and John Wiley & Sons, 2005), The Architecture of Image: Existential Space in Cinema (Helsinki, 2001) and Encounters (Helsinki, 2005).