Benjamin Daniel Fisher
Benjamin Daniel Fisher
Bachelor of Arts, Psychology, Minor in Business, Carleton University, 2006 Bachelor of Technology, Architectural Science, British Columbia Institute of Technology, 2011
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Architecture
in The Faculty of Graduate Studies, School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, Architecture Program
Bill Pechet, BA, BFA, BArch; Arch 548 Supervisor + Arch 549 Chair Hanako Amaya, M Civil Eng, MLA, BCSLA, CSLA, HAPA Collaborative. Alec Smith, Principal Architect, AIBC, SHAPE Architecture.
The University of British Columbia, April 2016, ÂŠ Benjamin Daniel Fisher
In the fast pace and over-stimulation of our digital age, it has 1 Converso Transitum, Michelle become increasingly difficult to focus on meaningful and pertinent Durazzi, 2015. information. As we live life through a screen and more isolated from our peers and ourselves, disastrous effects on our physical and mental health emerge. Modernity has caused a shift away from the fundamentals of human experience, where the body has been neglected in favor of sensory, digital and tectonic flatness. Much of contemporary architecture has reflected this zeitgeist. Thus, human connection and self awareness become increasingly important for maintaining in ter-personal well being and psychological balance, where community is grounded in meaningful experiences within the public and private domains. Mindful architecture is a method and practice of architectural discovery. It seeks to reverse this trend and redirect our focus back to the duality of the mind and body by focusing on the tactile and visceral qualities of the physical world. Architecture can contribute to well being as a form of therapy by evoking contemplative states and heightened internal and external awareness through mindfulness. Both Western and Eastern ideas about the body and representations in contemporary art, give us a broad understanding of how we perceive, relate and understand the human body. This project seeks to examine how architecture, when viewed as a human body, can become a network of meaningful experiences, interconnected and complementary to a larger whole. When subjectively experienced, Mindful architecture , can help us better understand our place within the universal spectrum and our relationship to the city, our community and, most importantly, to ourselves.
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Abstract . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . list of figures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Acknowledgment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . dedication . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Preface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
v ix xiii xv xvii
Part 1 Consciousness, Spatial Sensation and the Mindful Body introduction. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 social context . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 The Paradox of Our Time By Jeff Dickson, 1998. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7 Sensual Neglect . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9 Mental Illness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11 The Denial of Death . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17
ideas About the body . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Western Medicine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25 Yin - Yang . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .29 The Five Elements. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .31 Qi (Chee) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .31 The Art of Life Through the Four Seasons By Maoshing Ni, Ph.d. . . . . .35
representations of the body . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 The Objected Body . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .39 The Fragmented Body . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .45 The Abstracted Body. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .49 The Performing Body . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .51 The Experiencing Body . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .55
the body as a Mediator . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59 the dialectics of the Mind and the body . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73 Architecture as a Mindful body . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85 Time is Money, Space is Money By Gunter nitschke . . . . . . . . . . . 87 Place . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .93 MA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .95 Atmosphere. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .101 Mindfulness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .105 Materiality + Weathering / Space + Time . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .107 The Dialectic of Light + Shadow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .119 Memory, Emotion + Imagination . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .123
between sacred and Profane . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 135 Religion + Spirituality. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .139 Nature the Divine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .143
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Mindful Presence through the senses: Precedents . . . . . . . . . . . . 147 The Garden and the Room By louis Kahn . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .147 Arthur + Yvonne Boyd Education Centre . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .151 2011 Serpentine Pavilion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .153 Mount Rokko Chapel. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .155 Casa Delle Bottere . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .157 Ingelheim Funeral Chapel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .159 Nitobe Gardens Restoration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .161 House for Trees. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .163
the site . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 165 Site Pathology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .175 The Neighborhood . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .177
Program as a Mindful body . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 181 Architecture as Therapy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .187 The Voluntary Architectural Simplicity (VAS) Manifesto By Dr. Julio Bermudez . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .192
Approach and working Methodology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 193
Part 2 The Dialectics of Contemplation the collective and the intimate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 201 The Collective . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .205 The Intimate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .207 Spatial Simplicity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .207 Experiential preparation + Threshold. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .209
diagrams . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 211 Circulation Network . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .212 Threshold + Preparation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .213 Balanced Spatial Network. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .216
drawings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 219 Urban Context . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .221 Plans . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .223 Sections, Experiences + Details . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .229
Model . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 239 bibliography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 249 vi | vii
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35
Converso Transitum, michelle Durazzi, 2015.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . v Where is my mind?, Witchoria, 2015. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Ville Radieuse, le corbusier, 1924. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 One Pacific, iBi architects + concord Pacific, Vancouver, 2015 . . . . . . . 9 David, michelangelo, 1501-1504 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Mental Pollution, 2015. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Justin Beiber, calvin Klein, 2015 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Anaconda, nikki minaj, 2014 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Illusion, 2015 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Boys in NYC play near a dead horse, unknown, 1900. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 A Days Catch, englefield Bay Bc, 2014 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Anatomy Charts, anatomical chart company. 2002. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Man as an Industrial Palace, Fritz Kahn, 1927 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Microsystem of the whole body, Giovanni maciocia, 2005. . . . . . . . . . . . 29 Qi, 2015 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 Yin-Yang, the Five Elements and Qi, 2015 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 With Dead Head, Damien hirst, 1991 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 The Virgin Mother III, Damien hirst, 2005. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 Picture for Women, jeff Wall, 1979. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 Un bar aux Folies BergĂ¨res, Ă‰douard manet, 1882. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 Execution, Yue minjun, 1995. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 The Execution of Emperor Maximilian, edouard manet, 1868-69. . . . . . . 43 Self-Portrait (Frieze No. 2, Four Panels), john coplans, 1994 . . . . . . . . . . 45 Nude descending a staircase no.2, marcel Duschamp, 1912 . . . . . . . . . . 45 Hollow: Reversal Cradle, motohiko odani, 2009. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 Unique Forms of Continuity in Space, umberto Boccioni, 1913, cast 1972. 47 Untitled (Stairs). rachel Whiteread, 2001. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49 Bang. ai Weiwei, 2010-13. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49 Trans-fixed, chris Burden, 1974. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51 To Raise the Water Level in a Fishpond, Zhang huan, 1994. . . . . . . . . . . . 53 Bust of Michelangelo, Daniele da Volterra, 1564-66. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53 Shalechet (Fallen Leaves), menashe Kadishman, 2001. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 Obliteration Room: before + after, Yayoi Kusama, 2002 - present. . . . . . 57 Koa Rothman at Teahupoo, tim mcKenna, 2014 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61 Making Hands, unknown, 2012 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63
LIST OF FIGURES
36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70
Ciudad, carlos maritel, 2015 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65 The Modular, Francis D.K. ching, 2015 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67 The Five Points of Yogatecture, 2014 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67 House in Kyoto, tamaki architectural atelier, 1997. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69 Body heat sensation, 2015 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71 Undiscovered Talent, 2015. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75 The Assertoric Gaze, 2015 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77 The Aletheic Gaze, 2015 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79 Conscious Threshold, 2015 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81 The Artist is Present, marina abramovic, 2010. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83 7 different â€œbottles of lightâ€™ in a stone box, steven holl, 1997 . . . . . . . . . . 89 From Stonehenge to Cenotaph, 2015 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91 Fletcher - Page House, Glenn murcutt, 1998 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 93 Self-Portrait (Frieze No. 2, Four Panels), john coplans, 1994 . . . . . . . . . . 95 Fragmented Villa: Images of change over time, 2015 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 95 Ma Space: emptiness between heaven and earth, 2015. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 97 Spirit of Place, 2015 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 99 Bruder Klaus Field Chapel, Peter Zumthor, 2007 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 101 Koshino House, tadao ando, 1984 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103 Domestic Mac, claire saskun, 2015 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105 Hallway at Koshino House, tadao ando, 1984 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 107 Ageless perfection: A beautiful day for Architectural vomit, toronto, 2013 109 Serena Young exploring Band, richard serra, 2006 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 111 The Pierre: Excavated room, olson Kundig, 2010 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 113 The Pierre: Building Section, olson Kundig, 2010 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 113 Josef Albers at the Bauhaus 1928, josef and anni albers Foundation. . . 115 Salk Institute for Biological Research, louis Kahn, 1964 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 117 Ronchamp, le corbusier, 1954 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 119 Dhatu, james turrell, 2009 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 121 Boy falls from tree, jeff Wall, 2010 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 123 CaixaForum, madrid, herzog & de meuron, 2008 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 125 Domestic Astronomy, Philippe rahm, 2009. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 127 Domestic Astronomy: Plan + Section, Philippe rahm, 2009 . . . . . . . . . . . 127 The Pantheon, rome, 118 - 128 aD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 129 Body movement and memory through spatial Suggestion, salk institute. 131
viii | ix
71 Spatial Imagination and Curiosity, salk institute. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 131 72 Wondering Wandering, 2015 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 133 73 Mall of America, Bloomington, minnesota, 1992 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 137 74 New Museum of Contemporary Art, new York, sanaa, 2007. . . . . . . . . . 139 75 Temple for Atheists, tom Greenall + jordan hodgson,alain de Botton . . 141 76 Between Cathedrals, alberto camp Baeza, cadiz, spain, 2009 . . . . . . . 143 77 Luis Barragan House, tacubaya, mexico, 1948 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 145 78 Precedents of a balanced system . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 149 79 Precedents of a balanced system Criteria . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 149 80 Portion of Goadâ€™s Fire Insurance Map, 1912. city of Vancouver archives. . 167 81 View of Waterfront + Heatley Wharf, 1920. city of Vancouver archives. . . 169 82 View of Waterfront from the Heatley St. overpass, 2015. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 169 83 Pioneers at the Heatley Avenue Station, 1945. coV archives.. . . . . . . . . . 171 84 Under the Heatley Street overpass, 2015. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 171 85 Rail Tracks to the North, 2015 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 173 86 Overlooking the site from the Heatley St. Overpass, 2015. . . . . . . . . . . . . 173 87 Site Pathology, 2015 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 175 88 Alexander Street Character, 2015. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 177 89 Referbished McLennan & McFeely warehouse, 2015 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 177 90 View East looking from the Heatley overpass, 2015 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 177 91 Proposed site: Pathologies and context, 2015 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 179 92 Influence of Breath, 2015 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 183 93 Balancing architecture and program, 2015 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 185 94 Architecture as the inverse of Activity: a balancing table, 2015 . . . . . . . . . 187 95 Arrival to Activity: People to Qi, 2015 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 187 96 Teshima Art Museum, ryue nishizawa, takamatsu, japan, 2010 . . . . . . . 189 97 Beneath the known surface, 2015 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 191 98 The design process as cyclical and balancing,2015 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 195 99 Controlled Celebration, 2015 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 197 100 No Worries, No Fears, 2015 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 203 101 Emancipation of the Malcontent, 2016 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 205 102 Thresholds from the community to the intimate, 2016 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 207 103 Mind, Body + Spirit, 2015 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 209 104 circulation network . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 213
list of figures
105 threshold + Preparation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 213 106 threshold Vignettes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 215 107 Balanced spatial network . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 217 108 context plan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 221 109 Ground Floor Plan. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 223 110 Program legend . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 225 111 lower Floor Plan. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 225 112 Promenade Plan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 227 113 stepped long section . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 229 114 community hall section Detail. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 229 115 lobby - Promenade section Detail . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 229 116 activity space section Detail . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 229 117 section D community hall . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 231 118 community hall experience . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 231 119 section B activity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 231 120 activity experience . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 231 121 section c lobby . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 233 122 lobby experience . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 233 123 lobby View experience . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 233 124 Water court . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 235 125 rock + sunken Gardens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 235 126 Garden court . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 235 127 community Plaza . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 237 128 entry + Promenade stairs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 237 129 roof amphitheater. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 237 130 3D printed form work . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 239 131 1:200 scale . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 241 132 lit up volumes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 242 133 rockite casted base + volumes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 243 134 roof amphitheater + garden court . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 244 135 light + shadow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 245 136 Detail of finished cast . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 246 137 south east aerial View . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 247
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Thank you to my friends and family for the continued love and support throughout this process and for tolerating my absense for prolonged periods. To my colleagues who provided immense reciprocity in the pedagogy of architectural education and for setting the bar for success. You all contributed to an enriching and transformative few years. To the faculty who broadened every aspect of my architectural perspective. Each individual brought value and has left an impression on me in some way. To my committee, Hanako and Alec. Your influence was exceptional and helped shape the basis of this project. Thank you for taking the time to help, criticize, complement and transform . Finally, to Bill, for your mentorship and guidance from my first days at SALA and beyond. I thoroughly enjoyed it all. Thank you Bill.
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For Tedi. Without you this wouldnâ€™t exist. Down the path of discovery, you have guided my incomplete thoughts and amidst the uncertainty, your patience and sensitivity has grounded me through the muddy waters. Once the light appeared, so did your true colours and for everything, I am grateful. Thank you my love, this is for you.
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This book is organized into two parts. Part 1: Consciousness, spatial sensation and the mindful body, is the accumulation of my GP1 research and writing. The intention is to pinpoint the connections between the mind and body in relation to our psychological position within contemporary society and how the human body can be a metaphor for architectural exploration. The transition into GP2 was difficult with such a broad array of research in part 1 so the design project was simplified. For part 2: The dialectics of contemplation, the conceptual range was narrowed down in order to test out how the mind and body can connect through intimate and communal contemplative activity. Together, the research (GP1) and the practice (GP2) become a value to the discourse in phenomenological understanding of the contemporary human condition.
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PArt 1 consciousness, sPAtiAl sensAtion And the Mindful bodY
our experiences of the world are mediated through the sensuous 2 Where is my mind?, Witchoria, 2015 abilities of the human body as it navigates, interprets and influences our perception. eastern and Western ideas about the human body influence form, space and perception through different representations of the body as a cultural artifact. these differences have distinct spatial implications and permit a broad understanding of the human body. architecture designed around the senses can elevate perception into a state of transcended consciousness, in touch with ourselves, our society and our environment. this â€˜conscious architectureâ€™ can become therapeutic, improving the social, mental and physical well being of the human condition.
“the sages lived peacefully under heaven on earth, following the rhythms of the planet and the universe. they adapted to society without being swayed by cultural trends. they were free from emotional extremes and lived a balanced contented existence. their outward appearance, behavior, and thinking did not reflect the conflicting norms of society. the sages appeared busy but were never depleted. internally they did not overburden themselves. they abided in calmness, recognizing the empty nature of phenomenological existence. the sages lived over one hundred years because they did not scatter the disperse their energies.”1
Ni, Maoshing, Ph.D. The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Medicine: A New Translation of the Neijing Suwen with Commentary. Boston: Shambhala, 1995. P.4.
The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees, but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness. We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom. We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often. We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life. We’ve added years to life not life to years. We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We’ve done larger things, but not better things. We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We’ve conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less. These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are
The Paradox of Our Time By Jeff Dickson, 1998
the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete. Remember, spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever. Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side. Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesnâ€™t cost a cent. Remember, to say, â€œI love youâ€? to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you. Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again. Give time to love, give time to speak, and give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind. Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.
“Throughout our world, consumer goods propelled by hyperbolic advertising techniques serve to supplant our consciousness and diffuse our reflective capacity...Today the depth of our being stands on this ice.” Steven Holl
3 Ville Radieuse, Le Corbusier, 1924.
The modern movement was a technological and spatial revolution that changed our relationship to nature, production and the human body. Inadvertently, the movement bequeathed a paradoxical culture of sensual neglect. Material accumulation and obsolescence has arguably contributed to social inequality, racial segregation and a prevalence of psychological issues. The allure of the machine aesthetic has created a techno-centric built environment based on economy while neglecting the human body and the senses. As Alvar Aalto put it, “such short sighted utopianism, however, is no longer fashionable.”2 Le Corbusier’s proposal for Ville Radieuse, while revolutionary, exemplifies human - centric thought and sensual neglect. Unfortunately, almost a century later, we are still witnessing this practice, specifically in downtown Vancouver where One Pacific is currently under construction. This ‘extrinsic’ architecture prides itself on access to views and courtyard amenities, but both have contributed to psycho-sensory nausea. Privacy concerns and the human scale have been ignored. There is uncomfortable spatial Pacific, tension and the proximity of glazed walls contradict basic dwelling 4 One IBI Architects + needs. Concord Pacific,
Contemporary society is saturated with noise. On-line viral content and social media have explicated the busyness of our age, while the limitless nature of mass media creates waves of saturated information that engulf our consciousness. Distinguishing between pertinence and insignificance has become difficult. Our physical bodies have been neglected throughout the fundamental nature of our existence. Ursula Franklin attributes this trend to the application of prescriptive technology in our daily lives and processes.3 This has 2 3
Aalto, Alvar. Alvar Aalto in His Own Words. Edited by Göran Schildt. Translated by Timothy Binham. New York: Rizzoli, 1997. P.270. Franklin, Ursula M. The Real World of Technology. Toronto, Ont.: Anansi, 1999. p.17.
“There are differences between machine and mind. Computers can blink but they can’t wink. They can’t convey the wealth of information provided by a look, a nod, a shrug, a smile, or a twinkle in the eye...” Alan Fletcher
created a “marked decrease in the reliance of people on their own 5 David, Michelangelo, 1501experience and their own senses.”4 Furthermore, Gernot Bohme 1504 articulates the digitization of the human body and the sensual flatness of our social connections. “We are no longer present as actual people, but as connections. Home-pages, Internet addresses and mobile phones are preconditions for our being able to take part in the social game.”5 The virtual world has allowed immediate transfer of information where global connections occur at the tap of a finger. Individuals can editorially express their ideal selves with narcissistic glory, competing for the infinite attention of the on-line world. Ernest Becker defines this as our search for cosmic significance. “[Man] must desperately justify himself as an object of primary value in the universe; he must stand out, be a hero, make the biggest possible contribution to world life, show that he counts more than anything or anyone else.”6 Mental Illness Our individualistic and hyper sexualized culture has bread unrealistic and unobtainable expectations through the omnipresence of curated Imagery. This idealization of the body as a fetish object has been seen throughout Western history and exemplified in Michelangelo’s David. “The fetish object represents the magical means for transforming animality into something transcendent and thereby assuring a liberation of the personality from the standardized, bland and earthbound flesh.”7 This search for individualism has lead to, what Susan Sontag calls, ‘mental pollution’. She refers to citizens of industrial society as ‘image-junkies’ who possess “the 4 5 6 7
Franklin. Op. Cit. p.31. Bohme, Gernot. “Atmosphere as Mindful Physical Presence in Space”. In Sfeer Bouwen / Building Atmosphere, edited by Klaske Havik, Gus Tielens, and Hans Teerds, 21-32. #91 ed. OASE Foundation. Rotterdam: Nai010 Uitg., 2013. p.21. Becker, Ernest. The Denial of Death. New York: Free Press, 1973. p.3-4. Becker, Op. Cit. P.235.
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most irresistible form of mental pollution. Poignant longings for 6 Mental Pollution, beauty, for an end to probing below the surface, for a redemption 2015 and celebration of the body of the world.”8 our realistic cumulative perception of the human body has been skewed “by furnishing this already crowded world with a duplicate one of images, photography makes us feel that the world is more available than it really is.”9 When reality doesn’t meet or exceed those expectations, negative mental ailments, such as, anxiety, depression and low self esteem can develop. When discussing the influence of pornography on pop culture, ran Gavrieli explains that “mainly for young boys and men, porn is teaching us that as a man you are solely valued in sex by having a large penis and an eternal erection…which we don’t possess.”10 also, “young girls and women get the message not only from hardcore porn but from a porn influenced main stream culture… so girls get this notion that if you want to be worthy of love, first and foremost you have to be worthy of sexual desire.”11 this false self representation is magnified by materialistic advertising and “the more materialistic we are, the poorer our quality of life.”12 materialism has expanded far beyond the acquisition of ‘things’ and into the enhancement of the personal identity. superficial marketing campaigns have made us dissatisfied with what we have, creating an inner struggle to obtain more ‘stuff ’ and psychologically, we become dissatisfied with who we are. richard eckersley says that “as it seeks evermore ways to colonize our consciousness, the market both fosters and exploits the restless, insatiable expectation that there must be more to life.”13 But this is not reality. 8 9 10 11 12 13
Sontag, Susan. On Photography. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1977. P. 18. Ibid. Gavrieli, Ran. “Why I Stopped Watching Porn.” YouTube. October 26, 2013. Accessed October 01, 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gRJ_QfP2mhU. 9:03 Ibid. 10:06 Eckersley, Richard. “Is Modern Western Culture a Health Hazard?” International Journal of Epidemiology 35, no. 2 (2005): 252-58. Accessed July 18, 2015. p.253. Ibid.
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“Accept - then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it. Make it your friend and ally, not your enemy. This will miraculously transform your whole life.” Eckhart Tolle
Justin Bieber and Nikki Minaj do not represent satisfaction or a 7 Justin Beiber, Calvin Klein, 2015 meaningful existence. Instead, they expand the desultory attention towards material acquisition and extrinsic goals. This emphasis on superficiality has profound effects on the human psyche. Eckersly maintains that, “people for whom ‘extrinsic goals’ such as fame, fortune, and glamour are a priority in life experience more anxiety and depression and lower overall well-being than people oriented towards ‘intrinsic goals’ of close relationships, self-knowledge and personal growth, and contributing to the community. People with extrinsic goals tend to have shorter relationships with friends and lovers, and relationships characterized more by jealousy and less by trust and caring.”14 Furthermore, “Human needs for security and safety, competence and self-worth, connectedness to others, and autonomy and authenticity are relatively unsatisfied when materialistic values predominate.”15 Alain de Botton summarizes: “our innate imbalances are further aggravated by practical demands. Our jobs make relentless calls on a narrow band of our faculties, reducing our chances of 8 Anaconda, Nikki Minaj, 2014 achieving rounded personalities and leaving us to suspect (often in the gathering darkness of a Sunday evening) that much of who we are, or could be, has gone unexplored. Society ends up containing a range of unbalanced groups, each hungering to state its particular psychological deficiency, forming the backdrop against which our frequently heated conflicts about what is beautiful play themselves out.”16
14 Ibid. 15 Ibid. 16 Botton, Alain De. The Architecture of Happiness. New York: Pantheon Books, 2006. P. 157.
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social context “...the essential, basic arch-anxiety (primal anxiety) [is] innate to all isolated, individual forms of human existence. In the basic anxiety human existence is afraid of as well as anxious about its “being-in-the-world”...Only if we understand...[this can we] conceive of the seemingly paradoxic phenomenon that people who are afraid of living are also especially frightened of death” Dr. Menard Boss (quoted by Ernest Becker)
The Denial of Death
9 Illusion, 2015
as discussed earlier, the curated world of contemporary society has profound effects on human perception. this curation also exacerbates the fear of death as “death has become a rarely witnessed, foreign event”17. “modern medical advances have made death seem more like an option than an obligation...our culture has come to view death as a medical failure rather than life’s natural conclusion.”18 craig Bowron describes the shift into urbanization and the rise of affluence as the turning points in our separation with death. “When death comes [to rural dwellers], they are familiar with it. they’ve seen it, smelled it, had it under their fingernails...living off the land strengthens one’s understanding that all living things eventually die.”19 When we are removed from the daily process of death, we forget how to relate and accept its eventuality. the ego learns to disassociate itself from mortality and develops, what eckhard tolle describes as, the illusory sense of self. the ego exists as part of being human and its “needs are endless. it feels vulnerable and threatened and so lives in a state of fear and want...it is always seeking for something to attach itself to in order to uphold and strengthen its illusory sense of self.”20 “Fear seems to have many causes, fear of loss, fear of failure, fear of being hurt, and so on, but ultimately all fear is the ego’s fear of death, of annihilation.”21 the biological basis of fear was an important survival tool. Fear was harnessed to catch food, to defend ones tribe and domicile 17
18 19 20 21
Bowron, Craig. “Our Unrealistic Views of Death, through a Doctor’s Eyes.” Washington Post. February 17, 2012. Accessed November 13, 2015. https://www.washingtonpost. com/opinions/our-unrealistic-views-of-death-through-a-doctors-eyes/2012/01/31/ gIQAeaHpJR_story.html. Ibid. Ibid. Tolle, Eckhart. The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment. Novato, CA: New World Library, 1999. P.47 - 48. Ibid. P.44.
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and to avoid threat from enemies and predators. Today, fear is 10 Boys in NYC play near a dead horse, no longer required for survival, however, the associated emotions Unknown, 1900. are still present. For many, fear is developed and channeled as unnecessary suffering created by the mind. In Vancouver, we have segregated perceived unpleasantness into ghettoization of the near - death in the Downtown East Side (DTES). External influences, such as, city planning, zoning and social perception have contributed to the unbalanced pathology of this neighborhood. Dr. BJ Miller describes how “man’s fears are fashioned out of the ways in which he perceives the world.”22 A perspective that develops with age and influence. The good thing about one’s perspective is that it can evolve and transform from a negative ailment into a positive attribute. Perspective is “that kind of alchemy we humans get to play with, turning anguish into a flower.”23 Conscious understanding of fear, mental illness and primarily, our denial of death can have transformative and appreciative effects on our lives. Luis Barragan describes the importance of an understanding of mortality. “The certainty of death is the spring of action and therefore of life, and...in the works of art, life triumphs over death.”24 Similarly, the sensual neglect we experience in contemporary spaces can become a point of departure. A shift in architectural perspective, ultimately transforming the urban landscape into “sensuous, aesthetic gratification, where in a moment, in an instant, we are rewarded for just being. So much of it comes down to loving our time by way of the senses, by way of the body -- the very thing doing the living and the dying.”25 22 23 24 25
Becker, Op. Cit. P. 18. Miller, BJ. “An Accidental Doctor: A Profile of B.J. Miller, MD.” YouTube. November 19, 2012. Accessed November 13, 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DxdC9tav4kY. 7:48 Barragán, Luis. “1980 Laureate Acceptance Speech.” Speech, Pritzker Architecture Prize. Accessed December 1, 2015. http://www.pritzkerprize.com/1980/ceremony_ speech1. Miller, 2012. Op. Cit. 14:03
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Social Context “The most up-close death my urban-raised children have experienced is the occasional walleye being reeled toward doom on a family fishing trip or a neighborhood squirrel sentenced to death-by-Firestone. The chicken most people eat comes in plastic wrap, not at the end of a swinging cleaver.” Craig Bowron
Dr. Miller is a triple amputee who was injured by an electric 11 A Days Catch, Englefield Bay BC, current from a trolley car while in school at Princeton. He runs 2014 the Zen Hospice Project in San Fransisco with the philosophy that dying happens to all of us because dying is a part of life. “Illness, disability and death are not only normal, but integral parts of the human condition, parts of a life well lived, fully lived. In fact, these phenomena connect us. It is connection that we thrive. Indeed struggle is the very source of beauty, not pain, not joy.”26 The eloquence of Dr. Miller and of Jeff Dickson’s The Paradox of Our Time, resonate through every fiber of modern existence and articulate important, yet under valued aspects of the human condition. It is here where Ideas about the body can influence architecture to activate the sensuous abilities of the human body and help create balance. Addressing the intangible ailments within society and the human condition.
Miller, 2012. Op. Cit. 5:13.
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IDEAS ABOUT THE BODY
our ideas about of the human body effect the approach to mental health and wellness. the differences in eastern and Western philosophies have distinct spatial implications and permit a broad understanding of the human body. this can translate into architecture that has the ability influence cognitive transformation and rekindle a natural balance between humans, the earth and the universe.
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Ideas About the Body “If you keep your attention in the body as much as possible, you will be anchored in the NOW. You won’t lose yourself in the external world, and you wont lose yourself in your mind. Thoughts and emotions, fears and desires, may still be there to some extent, but they won’t take you over.” Eckhart Tolle
Western Medicine “Healthcare was designed with diseases, not people, at its center. Which is to say, of course, it was badly designed.”27 “Western logic is based upon the opposition of contraries”28 and has a distinct separation of the body and mind. “This disconnect..has directed the clinical evolution of Western Medicine and also affected how patients are perceived and are treated.”29 This simple and compartmentalized approach is less personal and more reactionary, responding globally to clinical symptoms without foreshadowing unverified issues. The human body is seen as separate from the mind but also from its constituent parts. A study of anatomical charts reveals a clear separation of bodily systems, when in reality, one could not exist independently. Furthermore, the coinciding Twentieth century advancements in Western medicine and industrial technology created a mechanized vision of the body as a machine. Fritz Kahn’s illustrations of man as an industrial palace, are “a direct functional analogy between human physiology and the operation of contemporary technologies.”30 Pharmaceutical prescription is modernity’s answer to physical and mental illness. “When painkillers, alcohol, or drugs are taken to self medicate,”31 it only masks the symptoms and deregulates our biofeedback abilities to reduce unhealthy conditions and symptoms of illness. This short 27 28 29 30 31
Miller, BJ. “What Really Matters at the End of Life.” TED. March 2015. Accessed November 13, 2015. http://www.ted.com/talks/bj_miller_what_really_matters_at_the_ end_of_life#t-123193. 2:02 Maciocia, Giovanni. The Foundations of Chinese Medicine: A Comprehensive Text for Acupuncturists and Herbalists. 2nd ed. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 1989. P.3. Finston, Peggy, MD. “Why Are Eastern and Western Treatments so Different?” Acu-Psychiatry. Accessed October 06, 2015. http://acu-psychiatry.com/what-is-worldmedical-wisdom/basic-differences-between-eastern-and-western-medicine/. Lederer, Henning M. “Some Facts and Information about the Project: Der Mensch Als Industriepalast [Man as Industrial Palace].” INDUSTRIEPALAST. 2015. Accessed October 06, 2015. http://www.industriepalast.com/. Brown, Kirk Warren, and Richard M. Ryan. “The Benefits of Being Present: Mindfulness and Its Role in Psychological Well-being.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 84, no. 4 (2003): 822-48. Accessed October 6, 2015. doi:10.1037/0022-35126.96.36.1992. P. 824.
12 Anatomy Charts, Anatomical Chart Company. 2002.
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Ideas About the Body
sightedness doesn’t address the underlying reasons, and instead, 13 Man as an Industrial Palace, perpetually demote them in the hierarchy of societal attention. This Fritz Kahn, 1927 can be attributed to the overall mindlessness of Western culture, exemplified in our view regarding mortality. Brown and Ryan denote mindlessness as “the relative absence of mindfulness, can be defensively motivated, as when an individual refuses to acknowledge or attend to a thought, emotion, motive, or object of perception.”32 As discussed, the confrontation with death is far removed from daily life and anything resembling or questioning our mortality is avoided. Earnest Becker articulates “the healthy minded argument” for the “terror of death” as a conditioned response, developed from a young age, to fear death. This “fear of death is something that society creates and at the same time uses against the person to keep him in submission”.33 Submission refers to the inability to develop coping strategies to confront negative events, illness or the thought of death, and thus we avoid the topic. As the global population and our understanding of mental illness increases, the strain on our medical system can be exacerbated if our perspective and approach to treatment doesn’t evolve. We must create a sustainable system that includes social, economic and holistic elements. This mindful paradigm will confront the underlying issues and create a society “free of the fear of death because it would not deny naturally vitality and would leave the child fully open to physical living”.34
32 33 34
Ibid. P.823. Becker, op. Cit. P. 13 - 14. Ibid. P. 14.
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Ideas About the Body
“The physical being of the human being cannot be discharged from the influence of yin and yang.” Maoshing Ni
On the other hand, Traditional Eastern Medicine is a more patient 14 Microsystem of the whole body, specific and preventive approach that targets underlying issues Giovanni Maciocia, 2005. and imbalances. This view unifies the mind and body into a single energy source and each part of the body is a micro-system of the whole. Therefore, pathological changes of the whole body can manifest themselves in different, seemingly unrelated areas of the body.35 Eastern traditional medicine is the combination of different yet complementary theories of Yin-Yang, the Five Elements and Qi. Yin - Yang The theory of Yin-Yang is the foundation of Eastern medicine and seeks a unified balance. Dr. Maoshing Ni has noted that “the law of yin and yang is the natural order of the universe, the foundation of all things, mother of all changes, the root of life and death. In healing, one must grasp the root of the disharmony, which is always subject to the law of yin and yang.”36 Yin and yang represent opposite but complementary and interdependent and intertransformational qualities found in all aspects of the universe. “Each phenomenon may belong to a Yang stage or a Yin stage but always contains the seed of the opposite stage within itself.”37 YinYang has a relationship with states of matter, seasons and parts of the human body. Yin is the physical form of matter, the winter season and is associated with the body’s interiority. Alternatively, Yang is the abstract, the summer season and the body’s exteriority. “Although opposite, Yin and Yang can change into one another. This transformation does not take place at random, but is determined by the stage of development and by internal conditions.”38 Yin and Yang cannot exist alone or be fully separated. Combined with the theory of the five elements, yYin - Yang is the major perspective of 35 36 37 38
Maciocia. Op. Cit. P.228 Ni, Op. Cit. P. 17. Ibid. P.5. Ibid. P. 16.
28 | 29
iDeas aBout the BoDY “The principles of the five elements would help you understand all transformation in the universe...metal can cut down wood; water can put out fire; wood can penetrate earth; fire can melt metal; earth can contain water. These transformations can be applied to the myriad things of the universe.” Maoshing Ni
eastern medicine. The Five Elements
15 Qi, 2015
this theory reflects a comprehensive template of natural law and organizes all universal phenomena into five master ‘elements’ or patterns found in nature. the groups are Wood, Fire, earth, metal and Water and each includes categories such as seasons, emotions, human senses, colours, polar directions and human organs. the five elements describes the interconnectivity and search for balance within our bodily systems, environment and natural world. the theory is complex and can be used to explain any universal phenomena.39 Qi (Chee) the concept of Qi is probably the most abstract and unsubstantiated facet of eastern medicine. the connection between body and mind is a result of the interaction of certain vital substances (energy). “the body and the mind are nothing but forms of qi.”40 Qi is the life force within the human body and in space. “When you break solid matter down into smaller and smaller portions, there is nothing solid or physical about it at all - its just invisible energy. so the basic ‘building block’ of everything in nature and the universe, including our own bodies, is energy.”41 maoshing ni explains the constant dynamics of qi and the correlation between the human body, nature and health. “the yang qi moves like the sun. as the sun begins to rise at dawm, the yang qi begins to move to the outer body, and the pores open. the peak of the yang qi is at noon, and when the yang qi is most active it is advisable to relax and stay quiet so that the yang qi does not escape. as the sun sets, the yang qi moves inward 39 40 41
Maciocia. Op. Cit. Chapter 2. Ibid. P. 41. “The Miracle of Qi.” TCM World Foundation. Accessed October 06, 2015. http://www. tcmworld.org/what-is-tcm/the-miracle-of-qi/.
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Moon Generator Path
Aggregation Dense Material
HEAVEN Dispersion Non - Material
HEART SMALL INTESTINE
LUNGS LARGE INTESTINE
LIVER GALL BLADDER
EARTH Aggregation Dense Material
Sun Moon Generator Path Seasonal Sequence
Ideas About the Body
and the pores begin to close. At this time it is harmful to engage 16 Yin-Yang, the Five Elements and Qi, in strenuous physical activity or expose oneself to cold, damp , 2015 mist, or fog. If one violates the natural order of the yang qi as it rises, peaks, and sets, the body with gradually be weakened by pathogenic factors and be subject to disease and degeneration.â€?42 Overall, the Eastern philosophy is an integrated and balanced idea of the human body where Qi (energy) eternally flows in searching for equilibrium (Yin-Yang) while the body relates to the universe and its cyclical components (The Five Elements). This relationship is summarized in figure 16. Unquestionably, Western medicine has improved quality of life, cured disease and increased life expectancy. If humans are to fully evolve into the complexities of the 21st century, it will require an integrated approach that combines body and mind. Architecture has the ability to influence and develop this approach to increase overall mental health and well being and rekindle the natural connection between man, earth and the universe.
Ni, Op. Cit. P. 10.
32 | 33
Huang Di said, “The three months of the spring
encompasses late summer, which corresponds to the
season bring about the revitalization of all things in
earth element Problems in the summer will cause injury
nature. It is the time of birth. This is when heaven and
to the heart and will manifest in the autumn.
earth are reborn. During this season it is advisable to
retire early. Arise early also and go walking in order
all things in nature reach their full maturity. The grains
to absorb the fresh, invigorating energy. Since this is
ripen and harvesting occurs. The heavenly energy
“In the three months of autumn,
the season in which the universal energy begins anew cools, as does the weather. The wind begins to stir. and rejuvenates, one should attempt to correspond
This is the changing or pivoting point when the yang, or
to it directly by being open and unsuppressed, both
active, phase turns into its opposite, the yin, or passive,
physically and emotionally.
phase. One should retire with the sunset and arise
“On the physical level it is good to exercise
with the dawn. Just as the weather in autumn turns
more frequently and wear loose-fitting clothing. This
harsh, so does the emotional climate. It is therefore
is the time to do stretching exercises to loosen up the important to remain calm and peaceful, refraining tendons and muscles. Emotionally, it is good to develop
from depression so that one can make the transition to
equanimity. This is because spring is the season of the
winter smoothly. This is the time to gather one’s spirit
liver, and indulgence in anger, frustration, depression,
and energy, be more focused, and not allow desires
sadness, or any excess emotion can injure the liver. to run wild. One must keep the lung energy full, clean, Furthermore, violating the natural order of spring will and quiet. This means practicing breathing exercises cause cold disease, illness inflicted by atmospheric
to enhance lung qi. Also, one should refrain from both
cold, during summer.
smoking and grief, the emotion of the lung. This will
prevent kidney or digestive problems in the winter. If
“In the three months off summer there is an
abundance of sunshine and rain. The heavenly energy this natural order is violated, damage will occur to the descends, and the earthly energy rises. When these
lungs, resulting in diarrhea with undigested food in
energies merge there is intercourse between heaven winter. This compromises the body’s ability to store in and earth. As a result plants mature and animals, winter. flowers, and fruit appear abundantly.
“During the winter’ months all things in
“One may retire somewhat later at this time nature wither, hide, return home, and enter a resting
of year, while still arising early. One should refrain from period, just as lakes and rivers freeze and snow falls. anger and stay physically active, to prevent the pores This is a time when yin dominates yang. Therefore from closing and the qi from stagnating. One should not
one should refrain from overusing the yang energy.
overindulge in sex, although one can indulge a bit more Retire early and get up with the sunrise, which is later than in other seasons. Emotionally, it is important to be
in winter. Desires and mental activity should be kept
happy and easygoing and not hold grudges, so that
quiet and subdued. Sexual desires especially should
the energy can flow freely and communicate between
be contained, as if keeping a happy secret. Stay warm,
the external and the internal. In this way illness may be
avoid the cold, and keep the pores closed. Avoid
averted in the fall. The season of fire and heart also sweating. The philosophy of the winter season is one
THE ART OF LIFE THROUGH THE FOUR SEASONS by Maoshing ni, Ph.d.
of conservation and storage. Without such practice the
result will be injury to the kidney energy. This will cause
“In the past the sages were able to
wei jue, consisting of weakness, atrophy of muscles, observe the signs and adapt themselves to these and coldness in spring, manifesting as paralysis, wei natural phenomena so that they were unaffected by / flaccid syndrome, arthritis, or degeneration of the
exogenous influences, or “evil wind,” and were able
bones and tendons. This is because the body has lost
to live long lives. If one does not follow the play of
its ability to open and move in the spring.
the elemental energies according to the seasons, the
“So the full cycle can be seen. Spring is
liver energy will stagnate, resulting in illness in spring.
the beginning of things, when the energy should be
In summer, the heart energy becomes empty and the
kept open and fluid; summer opens up further into yang energy is exhausted. During the autumn there will an exchange or communication between internal and
be congestion of the lung energy. In winter the kidney
external energies; in the fall it is important to conserve; will be drained of jing. finally, the winter is dominated by the storage of energy.”
“The transformation of yin and yang in the four seasons is the basis of the growth and the
Huang Di continued, “The heavenly energy
destruction of life. The sages were able to cultivate
is bright and clear, continually circulates, and has great
the yang energy in spring and summer and conserve
virtue. This is because it does not radiate its brilliance,
the yin energy in autumn and winter. By following
for if it did proclaim itself, neither the sun nor the moon
the universal order, growth can occur naturally. If this
would be visible. People should follow the virtuous natural order is disregarded, the root of one’s life will way of heaven, not exposing their true energy. In this be damaged and one’s true energy will wane. way they will not lose it or be subject to attacks of evil
“Therefore, the change of yin and yang
energies, which produce illness in the body. If the body
through the four seasons is the root of life, growth,
is attacked by evil energy, its own energy will become
reproduction, aging, and destruction. By respecting
stuck, just as when the clouds cover the sky, obscuring this natural law it is possible to be free from illness. The the sun and moon and causing darkness. “The heavenly energy naturally circulates
sages have allowed this, and the foolish people have not.
and communicates with the earth’s energy; the
“In the old days the sages treated disease
heavenly energy descends and the earthly energy
by preventing illness before it began, just as a good
ascends. When this intercourse takes place and these government or emperor was able to take the necessary energies merge, the result is a balance of sunshine
steps to avert war. Treating an illness after it has begun
and rain, wind and frost, and the four seasons. If the
is like suppressing revolt after it has broken out. If
heavenly energy becomes stuck, sunshine and rain someone digs a well when thirsty, or forges weapons cannot come forth. Without them, all living things cease
after becoming engaged in battle, one cannot help but
to be nourished and lose their vitality, and imbalance ask: Are not these actions too late? manifests as storms and hurricanes; severe and harsh weather disrupts the natural order, causing chaos and
REPRESENTATIONS OF THE BODY
the differences in eastern and Western philosophies have distinct characteristics which can be found through representations in contemporary art. in today’s multicultural society, it is becoming increasingly obscure to distinguish between cultural variations of the human body and it is only upon further comparative analysis where we see distinctions. For instance, in japan, “a person is conceived of as a flexible and easily linkable dividuum, that is, as a part split from and belonging to a larger whole...what characterizes a person as human is that one is always together with other humans...in contrast, the western mind has tended to envisage the human being as a perfect and self contained individuum...who should be educated to distinguish oneself from everyone else.”43 how have the different approaches to the human body shape our representation of it? how is the body used and portrayed in contemporary art? how can an analysis of art give us a broad understanding of the body and a perception to incorporate it into the design of the built environment? according to Karsten harries, paraphrasing martin heidegger, “We need art to challenge the hegemony of the modern world picture. and we need to challenge that hegemony because it threatens to deny us our humanity. this gives art and more especially architecture today a special significance.”44
Nitschke, Günter. From Shinto to Ando: Studies in Architectural Anthropology in Japan. London: Academy Editions, 1993. P.58. Harries, Karsten. “The Task of Art in the Age of the World Picture.” In The Body in Architecture, edited by Deborah Hauptmann, 82-93. Rotterdam: 010 Publishers, 2006.
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Representations of the Body
The Objected Body
17 With Dead Head, Damien Hirst, 1991
The human body can represent greater cultural or philosophical notions whether through literal or abstract representation. Damien Hirst (1965 - ) represents the relationship between life and death in his 1991 photograph With Dead Head, where his own fear of death is confronted; “It’s me and a dead head. Severed head. In the morgue. Human. I’m sixteen...I’m absolutely terrified. I’m grinning, but I’m expecting the eyes to open and for it to go: ‘Grrrrraaaaagh!’”45. The fantastical imagery of the eyes opening exemplified Hirst’s inability to confront the tactility of death and stems from his conditioned fear of mortality. In this instance, the human body is a represented through the contrast and symbolism of life and death. “[T]he young Hirst’s head of dark hair contrasts with the bald pate of the old man; his mouth is open in a wide smile, whereas the corpse’s mouth is firmly clamped shut; Hirst’s body extends invisibly into dark fabric in the background of the photograph, while a crumpled white cloth (suggesting a shroud) in the foreground stands in for the dead man’s absent body. The teenager Hirst’s cheeky, if terrified, grin...is partly echoed in the hint of a smile in the unknown man’s expression, suggesting complicit 18 The Virgin Mother humor in the fear and horror evoked by the contemplation of the III, Damien Hirst, 2005. physical reality of death”.46 In contrast, Hirst portrays life and death through a thirty three foot bronze statue of a pregnant woman. As a partial anatomical model, The Virgin Mother “reminds viewers...that this present age includes a return to biology, necessitating a metaphysical understanding of
Hirst, Damien, and Gordon Burn. On the Way to Work. New York, NY: Universe, 2002. p. 34. Manchester, Elizabeth. “Damien Hirst, ‘With Dead Head’ 1991.” Tate. October 2009. Accessed October 05, 2015. http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/hirst-with-dead-headar00617/text-summary.
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Representations of the Body
death as part of the cycle of life”47. The scale and dissected tactic 19 Picture for Women, Jeff Wall, 1979. of revealing the innards of both mother and child directly confront ideas of birth and death in a shocking and contemplative manner. The sculpture is a narrative through the portrayal of the human body and the effect of perspective on meaning. “Hirst’s sculpture suggests that the human body depends on the perspective in which it is placed...the viewer can observe the sculpture from various angles but not in its entirety, do to its gigantic size”48. The mother, standing in an innocent position, “provides the illusion of scientific objectivity”49 (viewed form the left) or as simply as what it is: a pregnant woman (viewed form the right). The work of Jeff Wall (1946 - ) is loaded with historical references while meaning is subjective and contextual. Picture for women is Wall’s reinterpretation of Edouard Manet’s Un bar au Folies Bergeres and deploys hidden meaning and tension through the depiction of the human body. The body language, taken from Manet, is sexually suggestive and questions the nature of the relationship between the subjects, the viewer and the scene. The viewer is engaged yet confused through the focus of the female’s intimate gaze which seems to be directed at the male figure (Jeff Wall) and the camera simultaneously. This conflict in perspective distinguishes the human body as an object of subjective interpretation as determined by the viewer. The objected body references the contemporary issue of 20 Un bar aux Folies Bergères, Édouard the power struggle and stereotypical gender roles between men Manet, 1882. and women and Wall uses the relationships between different human bodies to create a contemplative object.
47 48 49
Rupprecht, Caroline. Womb Fantasies: Subjective Architectures in Postmodern Literature, Cinema, and Art. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 2013. P. 101102. Rupprecht. Op. Cit. P. 102. Ibid. P. 105.
40 | 41
Representations of the Body
The influence of perspective on meaning is rooted in contemporary 21 Execution, Yue Minjun, 1995. art within the tumultuous landscape of cultural China. Yue Minjun’s (1962 - ) work uses the human body as an object of satirical reflection within the socio political events of its making. His work is signified by a repeating exaggerated laughing self portrait. Initially the audience thinks the figures are happy but “when you look more carefully, there’s something else there,”50 a sense of fear, animosity and discomfort in reaction to the reality of contemporary life in China. His style is exemplified in the piece titled Execution, where he reflects upon the Tienanmen Square incident by referencing the famous Manet painting, The execution of emperor Maximilian. The body is an object, contextually representing the helplessness of the artist in reflection of a politically charged era in contemporary Chinese culture.
22 The Execution of Emperor Maximilian, Edouard Manet, 1868-69.
Bernstein, Richard. “An Artist’s Famous Smile: What Lies Behind It?” The New York Times. November 12, 2007. Accessed October 08, 2015. http://www.nytimes. com/2007/11/13/arts/design/13smil.html?_r=0
42 | 43
Representations of the Body
The Fragmented Body
23 Self-Portrait (Frieze No. 2, Four Panels), John Coplans, 1994 Through disjointed representations of the human body, we are able
to obtain expressions of time, space and movement. John Coplans (1920 - 2003) makes an alternative portrayal of the human body in space. Coplans didn’t begin his series of self portrayal until he was sixty years old. The black and white photographs of his naked body never include his face with the idea of representing a universal male body instead of a particular identity. He emphasizes lines and curves rather than a realistic documentation of the body. His portraits defy convention of youthful beauty (as emphasized by pop culture) and directly confront the issues of aging, deterioration and death51. Coplans’ fragmented presentation depicts the body in four poses with each fragment slightly misaligned with the adjacent. This technique gives movement to the body that would otherwise be still with a single image. Similarly to Marcel Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase, Coplans’ uses “successive static positions” to “create a rhythmic sense of motion” while “shaded planes 24 Nude descending give depth and volume.”52 While Coplans uses the human body a staircase no.2, Marcel Duschamp, directly rather than Duchamp’s abstracted suggestion, his choice 1912 of poses represents an aging body, not stagnant or sedentary, as mainstream culture would expect. While “Duchamp portrayed her from one view at multiple moments,”53 Coplans portrays multiple moments from one view. Either way, the audience is left to ponder their existence and mortality through the representation of the human body. Coplans noted, “I have the feeling that I’m alive, I have a body. I’m seventy years old, and generally bodies of seventyyear-old men look somewhat like my body ... I’m using my body 51
“Self Portrait.” MoMA Learning. Accessed October 05, 2015. http://www.moma.org/ collection/works/46737. 52 Stafford, Andrew. “Making Sense of Marcel Duchamp | Text Only.” Making Sense of Marcel Duchamp | Text Only. 2008. Accessed October 13, 2015. http://www. understandingduchamp.com/text.html. 53 Ibid.
44 | 45
Representations of the Body
and saying, even though it’s a seventy-year-old body, I can make it 25 Hollow: Reversal Cradle, Motohiko extremely interesting. That keeps me alive and gives me vitality. It’s Odani, 2009. a kind of process of energizing myself”54. There is an ancient concept in Japanese culture called rikonbyô (somnambulism) or the doppelganger phenomenon, “where the soul leaves the body and sees one’s own body in the same space. When this occurs...the person either dies, or lives on while his double dies in his place. When you think about the phenomenon of doppelganger, the real body doesn’t seem to exist at all – both become incorporeal, or something very close to that state”.55 Motohiko Odani’s ( 1972 - ) Hollow: Reversal Cradle, employs a conceptually fragmented dialectic between human consciousness and physical being. He suggests fluidity and movement of a material and immaterial essence, relating to the concept of Qi. The sculpture is levitated, eluding to the relationship of mind and body to space. With influences from the early futurist movement, Odani sees a revitalization of Boccioni’s concepts of “movement and transformation, dynamism and speed”56 as pertinent aspects of contemporary culture. The light and meta-corporeal representation of the human body portrays an alternative perspective of time, movement and spatial occupation of the fragmented body.
54 55 56
Manchester, Elizabeth. “John Coplans, ‘Self-Portrait (Frieze No. 2, Four Panels)’ 1994.” Tate. May 2003......... Accessed October 05, 2015. http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/ self-portrait-frieze-no-2-four-panels-p78534/text-summary. Odani, Motohiko. “Hollow: Odani Motohiko Exhibition Press Conference Interview.” Interview. Maison Hermès. December 16, 2009. Accessed October 8, 2015. http://www. art-it.asia/u/maisonhermes/h2xozte87FvwHI9A1dpX?lang=en. Yoo, Alice. “Stunning Sculptures by Odani Motohiko (3 Pics).” My Modern Met. February 01, 2011. Accessed October 08, 2015. http://www.mymodernmet.com/profiles/blogs/ stunning-sculptures-by-odani.
26 Unique Forms of Continuity in Space, Umberto Boccioni, 1913, cast 1972.
46 | 47
Representations of the Body
The Abstracted Body Meaning can be translated through abstracted ideas of the human body and represented through alternative forms.
27 Untitled (Stairs). Rachel Whiteread, 2001.
Rachel Whiteread’s (1963 -) Untitled (Stairs) represents the human body through possible occupiable space. The artist cast the surface of the stairs and the space above them then creates further distortion by rotating the piece ninety degrees. She has “transformed the stairs into an abstracted geometric composition which combines physical familiarity with a mental conundrum.”57 While looking at the photograph, its difficult not to tilt your head trying to decipher the spatial position of the human body. The use of proportion and scale brings the human body into focus and through abstract representation, places the view within the piece. In Ai Weiwei’s (1957 - ) work encompasses cultural, political and global issues. With Bang, the human body is abstracted through a “rhizomatic structure which speaks of the increasing volumes of organisms in our world’s mega-cities. The single stool can be interpreted as a metaphor for the individual, and its relation to an overarching and excessive system in a postmodern world which is developing faster than it can keep up with”.58 Not only is the 28 Bang. Ai Weiwei, 2010-13. traditional craftsmanship of China depicted through the use of the wooden stool, but also “presents a variety of perspectives on how biographical, cultural, or political identity is related to larger, transnational conditions and circumstances”.59
57 58 59
Manchester, Elizabeth. “Rachel Whiteread, ‘Untitled (Stairs)’ 2001.” Tate. February 2005. Accessed October 07, 2015. www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/whiteread-untitledstairs-t07939/text-summary. “Ai Weiwei’s Bang Installation at Venice Art Biennale 2013.” Designboom. May 29, 2013. Accessed October 13, 2015. www.designboom.com/art/ai-weiwei-bang-installation-atvenice-art-biennale-2013/ “Ai Weiwei: Bang.” Domus. May 31, 2013. Accessed October 13, 2015. http://www. domusweb.it/en/art/2013/05/31/ai_weiwei_bang.html.
48 | 49
Representations of the Body “Inside a small garage on Speedway Avenue, I stood on the rear bumper of a Volkswagen. I lay on my back over the rear section of the car, stretching my arms onto the roof. Nails are driven through my palms onto the roof of the car. The garage door was opened and the car was pushed half way out into the speedway. Screaming for me the engine was run at full speed for two minutes. After two minutes, the engine was turned off and the car pushed back into the garage. The door was closed.” Chris Burden
The Performing Body
29 Trans-fixed, Chris Burden, 1974.
The body can become the medium and a powerful means of artistic expression. Performance art merges the artist and the work. The body and the senses become the canvas and the work becomes three dimensional in space and time. In some instances, the artist comes in direct contact with the viewer or the work is so powerful that the viewer becomes part of the art. Chris Burden (1946 - 2015) incorporated bodily interventions and was known to cut, pierce, shoot, starve, electrocute and drop his body for the sake of his work. His body became a distressed canvas in his 1974 piece, Trans-fixed, where he depicted a crucified Jesus, nailed to the roof of a Volkswagen Beetle. He later exhibited the two nails driven through his palms as “Relics”. Burden used his body to “raise questions about the commercialization of martyrdom, sacrifice, and religion in general.”60 For Burden, his “performances often put his life in danger, testing the boundaries of what was acceptable as art and the role of the audience as observer”.61
Bates, Rebecca. “8 Tales of Chris Burden Folklore.” Paddle8. May 13, 2015. Accessed October 08, 2015. https://paddle8.com/editorial/8-tales-of-chris-burden-folklore/. 1:33. Shot in the Name of Art. Produced by Eric Kutner. The New York Times. May 20, 2015. Accessed October 08, 2015. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/20/opinion/shot-in-thename-of-art.html.
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Representations of the Body “I invited about forty participants, recent migrants to the city who had come to work in Beijing from other parts of China. They were construction workers, fishermen and labourers, all from the bottom of society. They stood around in the pond and then I walked in it. At first, they stood in a line in the middle to separate the pond into two parts. Then they all walked freely, until the point of the performance arrived, which was to raise the water level. Then they stood still. In the Chinese tradition, fish is the symbol of sex while water is the source of life. This work expresses, in fact, one kind of understanding and explanation of water. That the water in the pond was raised one metre higher is an action of no avail..” Zhang Huan
Zhang Huan (1965 - ) considers his body as a language of expression 30 To Raise the Water Level in a and connection to the world. Performance art allows him to Fishpond, Zhang Huan, 1994. “express some very deep emotions coming from many different places”.62 His piece, To Raise the Water Level in a Fishpond, raises questions regarding the human impact on the environment and the socio-political situation in China. The forty men in the piece, represented through reference to the classical bust, are migrant workers who travel from rural China to Beijing. “It is about changing the natural state of things, about the idea of possibilities...Could the mass of their bodies really impact the water level? Do any of them, or me, matter as an individual? Could any individual Chinese make a difference in the midst of one billion plus people?”.63 The performing body uses the body as the primary mean of expression and places the audience in direct relation to the artist. The senses are activated and one can imagine the pain of nails being driven into flesh or the crispness of cold water on the naked skin.
31 Bust of Michelangelo, Daniele da Volterra, 1564-66.
62 Goldberg, RoseLee. Zhang Huan. London: Phaidon, 2009. P. 19. 63 Ibid.
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Representations of the Body “This powerful work illustrates...the revolutionary passage from quantity to quality which is achieved when the critical number (or mass) of an item is reached. Thus, while a single disk could not have provoked in the onlookerthese complex feelings, their multiplication...Kadishman thus succeeds, here again, in obtaining the result that Sanskrit poetics asked the artist to aim at, namely, that the work, its creator and its viewer become merged into a single passionate entity.” Arturo Schwartz
The Experiencing Body The previous examples separate the subject and object. The art is static and the viewer passively observes. The experiencing body melds both worlds together. The viewer actively participates with the art, contributing to the overall meaning and experience. The human body is used to create memory and emotion through activation of the senses.
32 Shalechet (Fallen Leaves), Menashe Kadishman, 2001.
At the Berlin Jewish Museum, Menashe Kadishman’s (1932 - 2015) “Shalechet” (Fallen Leaves) is a profound experience that evokes a strong sense of emotion and nostalgia. The piece consists of many heavy, circular-shaped, iron disks forged into the semblance of a frantic screaming face. The pieces are scattered over the entire floor surface of the memory void64 and the visitor are asked to walk over them. Maintaining balance is difficult and provokes a profound feeling of uneasiness, an intended experience as a metaphor for the emotional turmoil experienced by the victims of the Shoah. While walking, the iron disks scratch and clank together with the sound echoing through the vast volume above. This effect brings all the senses of the entire body into the experience and dramatically evokes the powerless and pain of the victims. One cannot help but feel guilt by walking over silent screaming faces as the jarring sounds penetrate the body.65 At the far end, a dark passage, visible from the start, terminates the experience. Beyond the darkness is a concrete wall with no where to go but back from where one came. The body is engaged with fear, shock and entrapment, knowing there is no escape. Forced to 64
The concept for the Jewish Museum in Berlin, designed by Daniel Libeskind, revolves around a series of ‘voids’ “conceived as an emblem in which the Invisible and the Visible are the structural features which have been gathered in this space of Berlin and laid bare in an architecture where the unnamed remains the name which keeps still.” Daniel Libeskind Schwartz, Arturo. “Shalechet.” Menashe Kadishman. Accessed December 10, 2015. http://new.menashekadishman.com/articles/shalechet-by-arturo-schwartz/#more-438.
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Representations of the Body
experience the screaming chaos once again.
33 Obliteration Room: before + after, Yayoi Kusama, 2002 - present. Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama (1929 - ) works in a range of mediums
from painting to sculpture, minimalist to Pop, but polka dots are certainly her signature mark.66 With Obliteration Room, she built a traditional, prefabricated American suburban house, with an allwhite, domestic interior containing familiar household objects such as a kitchen counter, couch, and teapot. As visitors enter, they are handed a set of stickers, each a different brightly colored dot of a varying size. They are asked to leave their mark wherever they choose, placing the sticky circles anywhere and everywhere. The space gradually transforms as a result of the interaction of the human mind and body. The mass accumulation of the dots ultimately changes the white interior until it becomes an unrecognizable blur of colors.67 The human body can be represented countless ways. The objective, conceptual, physical, abstract or immersive ideas are conveyed through intention and meaning by the creator. The audience can contemplate or experience subjectively. In all instances, the human body relates to space, time and movement and conveys different ideas of how our consciousness can influence our experience.
Edelson, Zachary. “A Prefab House Becomes Interactive Art in Yayoi Kusama’s ‘Obliteration Room’” Curbed. June 3, 2015. Accessed December 05, 2015. http:// curbed.com/archives/2015/06/03/a-prefab-house-becomes-interactive-art-in-yayoikusamas-obliteration-room.php. Azzarello, Nina. “Yayoi Kusama Brings Dotted Obliteration Room to New York.” Designboom. May 26, 2015. Accessed December 05, 2015. http://www.designboom. com/art/yayoi-kusama-david-zwirner-obliteration-room-new-york-05-26-2015/.
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THE BODY AS A MEDIATOR
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The Body as a Mediator
“Our Body is a universe teeming with galaxies of its own.” Jean Coceau
The human body is a complex multi sensory organism that allows 34 Koa Rothman at Teahupoo, Tim our consciousness to perceive, interpret and experience the world. McKenna, 2014 According to Maurice Merleau - Ponty, the world and the body are inseparable. “The body is not an object. For the same reason, my awareness of it is not a thought...I cannot take it to pieces and reform it to make a clear idea. Its unity is always implicit and vague.”68 This being said, our body mediates incoming stimulation in order to allocate meaning to the immediate environment. “It is the body that helps us to understand distance, proximity, and grants us a matrix of coordinates as up and down, right and left, front and back, by which we engage with the world.”69 This inter - woven relationship between the body and the world is primary to the study of phenomenology because “existential understanding arises from our very encounter with the world and our being-in-the-world.”70 In other words, without our body, our world would not exist. The body is the avenue for spatial experience, interpreting and engaging the environment through activation of the senses. It is through this sensual activation that architecture can influence consciousness and transcend the physical limitations of the body into a higher sense of being, contemplation and mindfulness. This elevated presence intensifies the experience of the now and excuses the mind from the influence of past memories and an unrealized future. When a surfer finds refuge within the boundaries of a Teahupooian swell, it is the absolute presence of this found space that creates joyous sensation. Nothing else matters but being overcome by the moment, existing and then challenging mortality. Any lapse in presence could lead to injury or death. 68 69 70
Merleau-Ponty, Maurice. Phenomenology of Perception. London: Routledge, 2002. P.231. Shirazi, M. Riza. Towards an Articulated Phenomenological Interpretation of Architecture: Phenomenal Phenomenology. New York: Routledget, 2014. P.19. Pallasmaa, Juhani. The Eyes of the Skin: Architecture and the Senses. Chichester: Wiley, 2012
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The Body as a Mediator “Sculpture (architecture): an embodying bringing into the work of places, and with them a disclosing of regions of possible dwellings for man, possible marrying of things surrounding and concerning man. Sculpture (architecture): the embodiment of the truth of Being in its work of instituting places.” Martin Heidegger
Similarly, in The Thinking Hand: Existential and Embodied Wisdom 35 Making Hands, Unknown, 2012 in Architecture, Juhani Pallasmaa describes the “fusion of the maker and his/her product”71 through intense presence. When immersing in the avocational pleasure of pottery, the relationship between maker and material becomes therapeutic. Pallasmaa quotes Finish designer Tapio Wirkkala on working with his hands: “Making things with my hands means a lot to me. I could say that when I sculpt or model nature’s materials it has an almost therapeutic effect. They inspire me and lead me on to new experiments. They transport me into another world. A world in which, if eyesight fails, my fingertips see the movement and the continuous emergence of geometrical form.”72 “The eternal present is the space within which your whole life unfolds, the one factor that remains constant. Life is now. There was never a time when your life was not now, nor will there ever be.”73 Being present facilitates an exulted mental disposition and encourages joyous involvement in direct experience. Eckhart Tolle claims that this “is your only point of access into the timeless and formless realm of Being.”74 Carlos Martiel exemplifies this totality of presence. With his piece Ciudad, where he “lay between seven layers of rocks and dirt taken from different neighborhoods of Los Angeles where people have been killed by police [sic],”75 his body mediates between the perceived and the physical, creating present (and political) awareness in himself and the viewer. Martiel remarks: “All I know is my existence. My body is the only tool I have at my disposal. Its amazing that as people we choose to live on the outskirts - deepening the separation of our inner being. Society invests years dividing us internally: culture divides you, politicians 71
Pallasmaa, Juhani. The Thinking Hand: Existential and Embodied Wisdom in Architecture. Chichester, U.K.: Wiley, 2010. P.53. 72 Ibid. P.54. 73 Tolle. Op. Cit. P.49. 74 Ibid. 75 “Ciudad » Carlos Martiel.” Carlos Martiel. 2014. Accessed October 22, 2015. http://www. carlosmartiel.net/city/.
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The Body as a Mediator
divide you and the only aim is to take you away from your authentic 36 Ciudad, Carlos Maritel, 2015 being, to make you useful to society and a stranger to yourself. My art connects me with my creative self. I can only achieve the connection through my body.”76 Our bodies experience the world in three dimensions yet, according to Steven Holl, “no single view of a building or urban space can be complete, as the perception of a built object is altered by its relationship to juxtaposed solids, voids, the sky and the street.”77 This incomplete perception has direct implications for the mediating human body and touches on the subjectivity of the human condition. The implicit connection between perception and meaning changes over time according to the body’s location as it navigates the world. Subsequent connections are found in non verbal communication. For example, when we interact with others, we can understand a great deal through observing the body. Body language communicates authentic meaning and intention far greater than spoken words. We can decipher happiness or sadness, aggression or calmness and kindness or cruelty by reading the position of the human body. Spatial experience is our social interaction with the world. Our body enable us to experience feelings, emotions and desires through the spaces we visit. According to Kent Bloomer and Charles Moore, “the most essential and memorable sense of three-dimensionality originates in the body experience and that this sense may constitute a basis for understanding spatial feeling in our experience of buildings.”78 With The Modular, Le Corbusier used the human body to mediate spatial proportion and scale. This quantitative approach 76 77 78
Banks, Grace. “Carlos Martiel.” Elephant: Artists in Space, Summer 2014, 174-75. Holl, Steven, Juhani Pallasmaa, and Alberto Perez-Gomez. Questions of Perception: Phenomenology of Architecture ; Steven Holl, Juhani Pallasmaa, Alberto Pérez-Gómez. July 1994 ed. Tokyo: U Publ., 1994. P.55. Bloomer, Kent C., and Charles W. Moore. Body, Memory, and Architecture. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1977.
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The Body as Mediator
omits the imperative qualitative elements of subjective human 37 The Modular, Francis D.K. Ching, experience. The Modular suggests a certain stereotypical man, 2015 similar to Le Corbusier and does not account for social, gender and racial differences while adhering to the flatness of two dimensional Eucledia. “Like Vitruvius and Alberti before him, Le Corbusier sought to reconcile biology with architecture through the medium of geometry. Just as Vitruvius describes the human body pierced with a pair of compasses and inscribed with Euclidean geometry as an allegorical connection between humanity and architecture, so Le Corbusier uses a Euclidean geometric overlay on the body for similar purposes.”79 Villa Savoye (1931) encompasses the geometric mediation of the human body. It is a type, of what Patrick Condon has called cubist space, which “is made by placing solids in space,”80 putting emphasis on the formal object rather than spatial relationships, where the body mediates around an object rather than through 38 The Five Points of Yogatecture, 2014 space. Villa Savoye is a somatic promenade, allowing the physical body to explore space through a variety of vertical and horizontal methods. The mind is left to view and experience the space provided by the body. Much of Le Corbusier’s early work connected to, but did not unify the mind an body. He felt that perception is thought to take place solely in the mind but phenomenologically, it originates deeper with the stimulation of the bodily senses. “As long as we have our senses...we have at least the possibility of accessing what makes us feel human, connected... Primal sensorial delights that say the things we don’t have words for, impulses that make us stay present -- no need for a past or a future.”81
79 80 81
Ostwald, Michael J. (2001). “The Modulor and Modulor 2 by Le Corbusier (Charles Edouard Jeanneret), 2 volumes. Basel: Birkhäuser, 2000” (PDF). Nexus Network Journal 3 (1): 145–48. doi:10.1007/s00004-000-0015-0. Condon, Patrick M. “Cubist Space, Volumetric Space, and Landscape Architecture.” Landscape Journal 8,no. 1 (Spring 1988): 1-4 Miller, Op. Cit. 14:25
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The Body as a Mediator
In contrast, volumetric space, “made from enclosing space with 39 House in Kyoto, Tamaki solids”82 exemplifies true mediation of the human body. Le Corbsuier Architectural Atelier, 1997. explored this notion in his later work at Ronchamp (refer to The Dialectic of Light + Shadow). Volumetric space suggests enclosure and habitation rather than objectified voyeurism. In traditional Japanese architecture, “the size of the tatami mat became the common module for calculating the dimension of rooms.”83 The three foot by six foot dimension of the tatami was scaled from the human body so “building was automatically scaled to the human in a proportional series.”84 The boundary and spatial suggestion of the tatami mat abstracts a volumetric enclosure for the body and reintroduces the senses into space. Alain de Botton observes American Scholar of Japan, Donald Keane: “Keene observed that the Japanese sense of beauty has long sharply differed from its Western counterpart: it has been dominated by a love of irregularity rather than symmetry, the impermanent rather than the eternal and the simple rather than the ornate. The reason owes nothing to climate or genetics, added Keene, but is the result of the actions of writers, painters and theorists, who have actively shaped the sense of beauty of their nation.”85 In the House in Kyoto, space is no longer a secondary surrounding element but the primary focus for the sensory body to occupy. Kenneth Frampton reminds us of the body’s multisensory perception. “One has in mind a whole range of complementary sensory perceptions which are registered by the labile body: the intensity of light, darkness, heat and cold; the feeling of humidity; the aroma of material; the almost palpable presence of masonry as the body senses its own confinement; the momentum of an induced gait and the relative inertia of the body as it traverses the floor; the 82 Ibid. 83 Conway, Hazel, and Rowan Roenisch. Understanding Architecture: An Introduction to Architecture and Architectural History. London: Routledge, 1994. P.327. 84 Holl. Op. Cit. P.116. 85 Botton, 2006. Op. Cit. P. 260.
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the BoDY as a meDiator
echoing resonance of our own footfall.”86
40 Body heat sensation, 2015
mindful architecture can facilitate full mediation of the body and initiate the experiences of transcendent consciousness and a true sense of being. When discussing the practice of yoga, B.K.s iyengar focuses on the importance of the body in space. “only by first attending to the physical body can we hope to accomplish anything in our spiritual lives...We begin at the level of the physical body, the aspect of ourselves that is most concrete and accessible to all of us...it is here that...practice allows us to understand our body with ever greater insight and through the body to understand our mind and reach our soul. to a yogi, the body is a laboratory for life, a field of experimentation and perpetual research.”87
Frampton, Kenneth. Labour, Work and Architecture. London: Phaidon, 2002. P.88. Iyengar, B. K. S., John J. Evans, and Douglas Abrams. Light on Life: The Yoga Journey to Wholeness, Inner Peace, and Ultimate Freedom. Emmaus, PA: Rodale, 2005. P.22.
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THE DIALECTICS OF THE MIND AND THE BODY
di·a·lec·tic noun 1. the art of investigating or discussing the truth of opinions. 2. inquiry into metaphysical contradictions and their solutions. the existence or action of opposing social forces, concepts, etc. a “dialectic is a mode of thought, or a philosophical medium through which contradiction becomes a starting point (rather than a dead end) for contemplation...helps us comprehend a world that is racked by paradox.”88
O’Connor, Kim. “Dialectic.” University of Chicago. Winter 2003. Accessed October 29, 2015. http://csmt.uchicago.edu/glossary2004/dialectic.htm.
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the Dialectics oF the minD anD the BoDY “In an age of accelerated change, the need to perceive the environment becomes urgent....New environments reset our sensory thresholds. These in turn, alter our outlook and expectations.” Marshall McLuhan
the body and mind are not independent. alan Fletcher maintains 41 Undiscovered Talent, 2015. that the mind is an extension of the body and the senses. “We assume the mind is located in the head, but the latest findings in physiology suggest that the mind travels the whole body on caravans of hormone and enzyme, busily making sense of the compound wonders we catalogue as touch, taste, smell, hearing, vision.”89 the body and the mind create an existential dialectic that seeks a balance through the unity of opposites. in Western philosophy, “the unity of opposites, which lenin90 described as the most important of the dialectical principles, states that a thing is determined by its internal oppositions.”91 this suggests an inherent composition of opposing forces or ideas in the existence of any matter or concept.92 this universal opposition allows for the occurrence of a natural balance in which life seeks to maintain. in nature, the seasons balance the climate; the hydrological cycle balances nutrients and the food chain balances the hierarchy of the wild. For humans, we balance the books; eat a balanced diet; we balance work and play, consumption and waste and we find time for independent and family activities. But balance doesn’t come from managing time, effort or money. “Balance is the state of the present - the here and now. if you balance in the present, you are living in eternity. When the intellect is stable, there is no past, no future, only present.”93 humans have developed a singular perspective in search of a universal theory of truth. David levin calls this the ‘assertoric gaze’ 89 90
91 92 93
Fletcher, Alan. The Art of Looking Sideways. Londres: Phaidon, 2006. P. 128. Vladimir Ilyich Lenin (1870 – 1924) was a Russian communist revolutionary, politician, and political theorist. He served as head of government of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic from 1917 to 1924 and of the Soviet Union from 1922 to 1924. Under his administration, Russia became a one-party socialist state; all land, natural resources, and industry were socialized into public property (Wikipedia). McGill, V. J., and W. T. Parry. “The Unity of Opposites: A Dialectical Principle.” Science and Society 12, no. 4 (Fall 1948): 418-44. Accessed October 16, 2015. http://www.jstor. org/stable/40399913. Ibid. Iyengar, Op. Cit. P.43.
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which “tends to see from only one perspective, one standpoint, one 42 The Assertoric Gaze, 2015 and only one position.”94 this position has lead to categorization and compartmentalization of everything in order for us to comprehend the vastness of the universe. the cosmos exist in a vacuum in which the human brain can understand; we exploit natural resources and neglect the true impact of those actions; we gorge the earth and fill it with our waste; we disconnect from the cycle of nature through the creation of industrial urbanity; we disregard mental illness and excuse physical injury or measurable disease. this primitive consciousness only understands direct correlation and scientific validity “but diseases are not just a physical phenomenon...Because most modern people have separated their minds from their bodies and their souls have been banished form their ordinary lives, they forget that the well being of all three (body, mind and spirit) are intimately entwined like the fibers of our muscles.”95 life is composed of complex systems of correlations and connectedness, therefore, the mind and body are codependent facets of existence, mutually inclusive and transformative. the dialectic between the mind and the body is the transition between the sensually experienced world and the realm of transcended consciousness. subsequently creating a reciprocal relationship between the world and our perception. the ‘aletheic gaze’ is the “tendency to see from a multiplicity of standpoints and perspectives: with an awareness of contextuality, of field and horizon, of situational complexity; and with a corresponding openness to the possibility of different positions [sic].”96 the basis of Zen philosophy associates this with the idea of the Formless Self where “expression occurs both in the totality of the spheres of our five senses and in the mind or consciousness. thus, both the physical and mental activities of man after awakening come to be the activities of the formless 94 95 96
Levin, David Michael. The Opening of Vision: Nihilism and the Postmodern Situation. N.p.: Taylor & Francis, 1988. Print.P.440. Iyengar, Op. Cit. P. 23. Levin, Op. Cit.
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the Dialectics oF the minD anD the BoDY
“The mind is like an umbrella - it functions best when open.”
self [sic].”97 the formless self is emancipated from metaphysical 43 The Aletheic Gaze, 2015 manifestation through presence. “it is not of the kind that belongs to any temporal sequence; that is, it does not exist only between what is called the past and the future. rather, this Presence means there is no temporal distinction of past, present, and future...the true self exists ‘here and now.’ existing ‘here and now’ transcends space and time - this existence is presence, the true time.”98 the mind and the body represent the inside and outside of our collective existence. through his chapter titled, the dialectics of outside and inside, Gaston Bachelard gracefully interprets the importance of an ambiguous delineation between the two. “outside and inside are both intimate - they are always ready to be reversed, to exchange their hostility. if there exists a border-line surface between such an inside and outside, this surface is painful on both sides...intimate space loses its clarity, while exterior space loses its void, void being the raw material of possibility of being. We are banished from the realm of possibility.”99 the poetics of space in which Bachelard is expressing relies heavily on the dialectics between mind and body, of spatial sensitivity and the relationship of perception and experience. the formless self through presence is reached at the threshold of consciousness; the genius loci where perception resides, translating the world into understandable experience. locating this threshold is complicated and for some, it takes a lifetime. if a body is like a building, the threshold is guarded by the door into ourselves, a filtering fenestration empowering access into the true sense of being in space and time. “the door schematizes two strong possibilities, which sharply classify two types of daydream. at times, it is closed, bolted, padlocked. at others, it is open, that 97 98 99
Hisamatsu, Shin’ichi. Zen and The Fine Arts. Translated by Gishin Tokiwa. 1st ed. Tokyo: Kodansha International, 1972. P. 52. Hisamatsu, Op. Cit. P.50. Bachelard, Gaston. The Poetics of Space. Boston: Beacon Press, 1994. P.217-218.
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the Dialectics oF the minD anD the BoDY
is to say, wide open.”100 We have the ability to unlock the door and 44 Conscious Threshold, 2015 open our consciousness to a higher realm of perception. juhani Pallasmaa claims that “the door handle is the handshake of the building”101 meaning the threshold between the mind and body is accessed through shaking hands and embracing what is outside of ourselves. What a beautiful metaphor for consciousness and the human ability to spiritually evolve through practice. “thresholds are where transformations begin, where exchanges between unlikely things occurs and where identities are declared. Because they are the result of dynamic relations...they resist closure in terms of meaning and space. thresholds hold the potential of an exclusive realm, where the introduction and maintenance of difference is possible...threshold as an operation entails the preservation of differences, as well as the creation of something new from their coexistence.”102 the door and threshold are doubly symbolic. “there are two ‘beings’ in a door, that a door awakens in us a twoway dream.”103 Bachelard’s poetry reiterates the power of the mind and body in achieving higher consciousness. We have the ability to change our path. the ‘two way dream’, is the symbol of choice, of the ability to self reflect as we travel the path of life. the direction we choose depends on which ‘being’ is guarding the door through the threshold. Performance artist marina abramovic transcends the threshold between mind and body and approaches her work through the formless self. she spent three months in the moma sitting in a chair, testing the limits of mind and body, of pleasure and pain. “only when there is pain will you see the light. Pain is your guru... learn to find comfort even in discomfort. We must not try to run from the pain but move through and beyond it..this is also the 100 Bachelard, Op. Cit. P.222. 101 Pallasmaa, Op. Cit. P. 62. 102 Berrizbeitia, Anita, and Linda Pollak. “Threshold.” In Inside Outside: Between Architecture and Landscape, 82-125. Gloucester, MA: Rockport Publishers, 1999. 103 Balechard, Op. Cit. P. 224.
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The Dialectics of the Mind and the Body “To be identified with your mind is to be trapped in time: the compulsion to live almost exclusively through memory and anticipation. This creates an endless preoccupation with past and future and an unwillingness to honor and acknowledge the present moment and allow it to be. The compulsion arises because the past gives you an identity and the future holds the promise of salvation, of fulfillment in whatever form. Both are illusions.” Eckhart Tolle
spiritual attitude towards life.”104 “In that process of sitting, you start 45 The Artist is Present, Marina really connecting to yourself and what you have to do is to listen to Abramovic, 2010 your intuition.“105 Her performance of The Artist is Present directly confronts the dialectics of the mind and the body to create balance within the artist and between the audience and the performer. The audience becomes part of the performance, transformed from a voyeuristic spectator and taking on a new perspective as an active participant. The artist created The Abramovic method in order to develop better concentration, a better sense of self, and exercises that can be used in everyday life.106 She attributes the power and value of her work to the manifestation of energy, an immaterial connection that transmits large amounts of information between participants, creating balance and opening the mind through meditative stillness. We should not settle into preconceived ideas of the world or of human perception. Merleau - Ponty warns that “We make perception out of things perceived. And since perceived things themselves are obviously accessible only through perception, we end by understanding neither. We are caught up in the world and we do not succeed in extricating ourselves from it in order to achieve consciousness of the world.”107 Therefore, some fundamental questions regarding human perception and architecture. Can architecture enhance the process of threshold exploration and discovery? How can space encourage mindful presence and the development of the Formless Self? Can such an ephemeral abstraction create qualities that evoke spatial contemplation and sensory stimulation? How can architecture influence collective perception to evolve beyond the current paradigm? 104 Iyengar, Op. Cit. P. 47. 105 “Marina Abramovic: The Abramovic Method, My Body, My Performance, My Testament | Exclusive Interview.” Interview. YouTube. YouTube, 20 Mar. 2012. Web. 28 Oct. 2015.. 106 Have You Got What It Takes to Follow the Abramović Method? Directed by Mae Ryan. Performed by Marina Abramovic. The Guardian. May 12, 2014. Accessed October 28, 2015. 107 Merleau - Ponty. Op. Cit. P.5.
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ARCHITECTURE AS A MINDFUL BODY
“so what happens if you withdraw attention from the objects in space and become aware of space itself? What is the essence of this room? the furniture, pictures, and so on are in the room, but they are not the room. the floor, walls, and ceiling define the boundary of the room, but they are not the room either. so what is the essence of the room? space, of course, empty space. there would be no “room’’ without it. since space is “nothing,” we can say that what is not there is more important than what is there. so become aware of the space that is all around you. Don’t think about it. Feel it, as it were. Pay attention to “nothing”. as you do that, a shift in consciousness takes place inside you. here is why. the inner equivalent to objects in space such as furniture, walls, and so on are your mind objects: thoughts, emotions, and the objects of the senses. and the inner equivalent of space is the consciousness that enables your mind objects to be, just as space allows all things to be. so if you withdraw attention from things objects in space - you automatically withdraw attention from your mind objects as well. in other words: You cannot think and be aware of space - or of silence, for that matter. By becoming aware of the empty space around you, you simultaneously become aware of the space of no-mind, of pure consciousness: the unmanifested. this is how the contemplation of space can become a portal for you.”108
Tolle, Op. Cit. P. 138 - 139.
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Time is Money, Time is naturally most valuable to people living in a large country with relatively few people. America has always had sufficient space. The result has been an appreciation of, if not an obsession with time. ‘Wasting time’ is only possible in the context of a continual goaloriented rat race. Thus, America’s greatest contributions of human ingenuity have been in the realm of time problems the speed of and accommodation for movement of objects, people and information. The speed limit on American motorways was an ‘un - American’ measure triggered by the scarcity of Arabian oil. It might be no accident that large countries tend to adopt ‘time philosophies’ such as those of the Judaeo - Christian belief. Time philosophies emphasize the there and then: movement is an aspect of time. According to Western belief, there is only one life and one rushes to fill it to the brim. The luxury of enough physical space is related to the American social ideal, the freestanding ‘individuum’. Conflict of individual interests and social change by free competition result. ‘Fast food ‘ has been created to allow success in the ‘fast lane’ of life. These are metaphors documenting an obsession with time. What makes the American preoccupation with time even worse is its division into free and work time. The greatest human luxury is seen as ‘leisure’ or sufficient free time. This fact is best illustrated by a short story recently printed in America. In this essay the history of human ‘progress’ was pictured as advancing towards the past; the basic phases were the step from supersonic rocket-transport to that in a more comfortable aeroplane, from that to a car, and from that to the railway, ending in a grand ‘futuristic’ description of the human comforts available in travel by the ‘new-fashioned’ ocean-liners. According to the author, the liner is the most ‘progressive’ way of traveling because it is the slowest. In the distant future man will have ‘gained ‘ so much free time that he can ‘waste’ it for pure leisure and pleasure . What the author dreamt about is clear: more time. What man in America seems to obtain despite all his inventions to save time and to accommodate ease of movement is also clear: less time. America’s ‘places’ are far from each other. Since one is compelled to ‘waste’ time moving from A to B, one tries to shorten the lapses of ‘empty’ time by compressing experiential space through speed and ease of movement. Time is gained by ‘killing’ (compressing) space. An inevitable consequence of such an attitude is the American preoccupation with inventions for ever-quicker means to transport objects, people and information.
Space is Money By Gunter Nitschke Space is most appreciated by people living in a small country with a relatively large population. Throughout its history Japan has had too little space. The result is a reflex to use space intensively, filling and refilling it. Accordingly, Japan’s greatest contributions of human ingenuity have been in the field of space problems the terracing of mountains for rice paddies or dwellings, the packing of people in ‘capsule’ housing. On Japanese highways the speed limit is often reinforced with this message: Semai nihon, sonnani isoide, doko e iku? (Where can you be going in such a hurry in tiny Japan?) Small dense countries in East Asia, such as Japan, Thailand and Vietnam have been attracted to ‘eternity philosophies’, such as Buddhism. Eternity philosophies emphasize the here and now: rest is an aspect of space. According to Far Eastern belief one has many lives; what cannot be achieved in this life is postponed to the next. A country with little elbow room is likely by necessity to cultivate a social ideal of an easily relatable ‘dividuum’. Social change is therefore characterized by consensus of groups. In Japan a fool is ma-nuke (lacking in space or interval), to make a mistake is ma-chigau (to differ in spacing). These metaphors point towards Japan’s special spatial condition. The division of time into leisure and work time has only recently been imported by Japan. Not leisure, but enough free space has been the desire of the Japanese. Its population lives even now mostly in ‘rabbit cages’, in conditions with little clear distinction between private and common space. This became clear to me when my neighbour proudly presented his newly created Western-style garden. He had cleared his Japanese-style garden, leveled the ground and planted a simple lawn . His desire was more space but he actually achieved less space. For an appreciable real lawn the area was too small. He was not aware of the fact that the traditional gardener who had designed his old-style garden had arranged all the complex paraphernalia into the existing small area of his garden in order to increase the actual sensation of space. The size of experiential space is not so much determined by its physical dimensions, but by our concrete experience of the quantity and quality of the events contained in it. Since Japanese ‘places’ tend to be very close to each other, the tendency is to expand space by increasing experiential time through the reduction of “speed and the obstruction of movement. Space is created by ‘killing’ (slowing down) time. It is no accident that some of the most daring schemes in modern times for the creation of artificial land have originated in Japan.
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Architecture as a Mindful Body “Phenomenology concerns the study of essences; architecture has the potential to put essences back into existence. By weaving form, space, and light, architecture can elevate the experience of daily life through the various phenomena that emerge from specific sites, programs and architectures. One one level, an idea-force drives architecture; on another, structure, material space, colour, light and shadow intertwine in the fabrication of architecture.” Steven Holl
The pleasure of architecture can lie in “a belief in the reality and need 46 7 different “bottles of light’ in a stone for an architecture that advances the cause of transcendence”109 box, Steven Holl, 1997 into the realm of what Bernard Tschumi highlights as architectural non-necessity. He states that “the necessity of architecture may well be its non-necessity.”110 “That is, architecture is a ‘thing of the mind’, a geometrical rather than a pictorial or experiential art...the grammar and syntax of architecture’s sign become pretexts for sophisticated and pleasurable manipulation.”111 The necessity of a building initiates a functionalist discussion about the fundamentals of architectural anatomy. A building is like a body. It shows its face to the world through its facade and opens its mouth through its doors. A building sees and hears through its windows and feels the touch of weather through its envelope. A building mediates the forces of gravity (skeleton) and contains intricate electrical, plumbing and ventilation systems that keep it performing (nerves, digestion and respiration). A building and a body occupy space and create constant dialogue with their surroundings. “Buildings always say something to a street or the square. They can say to the square: I am really glad to be situated on this square. Or they could say: I am the most beautiful building here - you lot all look ugly. I am a diva. Buildings can say that sort of thing [sic].”112 These metaphoric necessities make a building and a human body function on a basic level. What distinguishes architecture from a mere building is the ‘non-necessity’ of elevated experience. The ability for space to elicit a ‘transcended’ or higher form of presence through the creation of place: the stage for daily life. Where architecture is no longer characterized by its load109 Bermúdez, Julio. Transcending Architecture: Contemporary Views on Sacred Space. Catholic University of America Press, 2015. P. 9. 110 Tschumi, Bernard. “The Pleasure of Architecture.” In Theorizing a New Agenda for Architecture: An Anthology of Architectural Theory, 1965-1995, by Kate Nesbitt, 532-40. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1996. 111 Ibid. 112 Zumthor, Peter. Atmospheres: Architectural Environments, Surrounding Objects. Basel: Birkhäuser, 2006. P.49.
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bearing properties and its works judged in terms of the movement 47 From Stonehenge to Cenotaph, 2015 of experiencing them.”113 julio Bermudez points to the role of architecture once public health, safety and personal welfare have been met. “the promise of architecture begins fulfillment when such expectations have been met and transcended. But transcended into what?”114 he points out that traditionally, transcendence has lead to discussions about sacred or religious spaces and “an entire class of buildings devoted to providing access to a transcending state, realm, or practice. however, we should quickly recognize that not all sacredness needs to be institutionally defined (i.e., be “religious”) or be ‘spirituality’ bound in the traditional sense of the word (e.g., God centered contemplation or worshiping).”115 is it possible to attribute secular space with the transcendent qualities traditionally used in religious buildings? mindful architecture can encourage a more secular and internalized form of transcendence where space evolves away from religious connotations and into a therapeutic mindful body.
113 114 115
Bohme, 2013. Op. Cit. Bermúdez, 2015. Op. Cit. P. 3. Ibid. P. 4.
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Place The phenomenon of life takes ‘place’ at a given time and location. What is it meant by the term ‘place’ and how does this understanding contribute to the notion of the in between? or to nothingness? A place is “a totality made up of concrete things having material substance, shape texture and colour.”116 Gunter Nitschke describes place as “the product of lived space and lived time, a reflection of our states of mind and heart.”117 The term “place could be used to imply the simultaneous awareness of the intellectual concepts form + non-form, object + space, coupled with subjective experience.”118 Place contains the facets of space and time. One could exists in the exact same space but not at the exact same time and vice versa. The sense of place encompasses the qualitative dimensions of experience that support and reflect the space and time of cultural and architectural creation.
48 Fletcher - Page House, Glenn Murcutt, 1998
This sense of place is felt in the work of Glenn Murcutt. “Place is everything to me. It’s the most important thing about understanding architecture.”119 In order to practice meaningful architecture, one must have the ability to observe and understand the immediate environment and refine the architecture to fit within the intended site. “To know your own place is to know how to build; how to work with the culture. Through observation I’ve learned much from scrutinizing the Australian land, its flora and fauna.”120 Murcutt deploys this philosophy in much of his work. The Fletcher - Page house exists “in an ethical partnership with the land, placed to 116 117 118
Ibid. P. 6. Nitschke, 1993, Op. Cit. P. 49. Nitschke, Gunter. “MA: The Japanese Sense of Place in Old and New Architecture and Lanning.” Architectural Design, March 1966, 116-18. Accessed November 4, 2015. 119 “Public Talk with Glenn Murcutt.” YouTube. December 6, 2012. Accessed November 17, 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RrZ-yCDgQl0. 14:02. 120 Davidson, Cynthia. “Raised to Observe: Glenn Murcutt.” In Constructing a New Agenda: Architectural Theory 1993-2009, by Krista Sykes, 386-93. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2010. P. 389.
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Architecture as a Mindful Body “Length of time depends upon our ideas. Size of space hangs upon our sentiments. For one whose mind is free from care, A day will outlast the millennium. For one whose heart is large, A tiny room is as the space between heaven and earth.”
Translated from Saikontan, Yuhodo, Tokyo, 1926
preserve the integrity of the site rather than consume its obvious 49 Self-Portrait (Frieze No. 2, Four Panels), features. The narrative route of the plan constitutes a journey of John Coplans, 1994 oblique revelation of both building and land, offering views and topography for contemplation, using breezes, sun angles, even the moonlight at times, to best advantage.”121 For Murcutt, meaningful architecture can be achieved through material and conceptual authenticity. “If you’re in a culture that is literate in structure, order, landscape, nature…materials…and make them work in their true nature, then you are going to start to find an architecture that has an honesty about it…authenticity…the truth, the real, the ability to be honest, that what you’re seeing is what you’re getting… and yet the poetic and rational should join in unity. That is what I think is really important…then maybe a chance of longevity, of the idea of the place making.”122 Murcutt’s philosophies bridge between Eastern and Western foundations and relate to the existential concept of MA that influence both human perception in space and time. Architecture becomes a mindful body through the qualitative assessment of architectural atmosphere and human mindfulness. MA
50 Fragmented Villa: Images of change over time, 2015
In Japanese culture, the concept of ‘Ma’ has multiple connotations relating to objective and subjective aspects of the world. Ma connects the concrete and the abstract while linking the human body with the world. Ma is more than an imaginary or abstract space and contains multiple dimensions. First, Ma involves spatial relationships in multiple dimensions and is used to describe the spirit of the place. “Ma denotes a line in space, 121
Murcutt, Glenn, Haig Beck, and Jackie Cooper. Glenn Murcutt: A Singular Architectural Practice. Mulgrave, Vic., Australia: Images Pub. Group, 2002. P.10. 122 “2011 Utzon Lecture Glenn Murcutt Interview.” TheBox UNSW. November 3, 2011. Accessed November 17, 2015. https://thebox.unsw.edu.au/video/2011-utzon-lectureglenn-murcutt-interview. 66:35.
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Architecture as a Mindful Body “A landscape does not exist in its own right, since its appearance changes at every moment; but the surrounding atmosphere brings it to life - the light and the air, which very continually” Claude Monet
a measure of length or distance”123 as the “interval between two 51 Ma Space: emptiness (or more) spatial or temporal things and events.”124 Arata Isozaki between heaven and earth, 2015 states that “ma signifies both the distance between two points - the in between space - and the silence between two sounds - internal time.”125 “Ma combined with a number of tatami mats denotes area”126 but it “is not something that is created by compositional elements; it is the thing that takes place in the imagination of the human who experiences these elements.”127 Ma is the emptiness between heaven and earth, the visceral expansiveness of the spatial world in which we live, dwell and die. A similarity is found in Western philosophy. Martin Heidegger defines dwelling as “the way in which you are and I am, the way in which we humans are on the earth, is dwelling...But on the earth already means under the sky.”128 Within this space resides conscious perception and where we human beings “constantly project our lives onto the horizon of our death, what Heidegger calls being-towards-death.”129 Gaston Bachelard reminds us that the true power of Ma lies within the spatial boundaries and not within the objects inside space. “Rilke wrote: These trees are magnificent, but even more magnificent is the sublime and moving space between them, as though with their growth it too increased.”130 Second, Ma has a relational and experiential connotation. “Ma also means among...implies that persons stand within, among, or 123 Nitschke, 1993, Op. Cit. P. 50. 124 Pilgrim, Richard B. “Intervals (Ma) In Space and Time: Foundations for a ReligioAesthetic Paradigm in Japan.” History of Religions 25, no. 3 (February 1986): 255-77. Accessed November 3, 2015. http://www.jstor.org/stable/1062515. P.255. 125 Oshima, Ken Tadashi., and Arata Isozaki. Arata Isozaki. London: Phaidon, 2009. P. 162. 126 Nitschke, 1993, Op. Cit. P. 50. 127 Nitschke, 1966, Op. Cit. 128 Quoted from Norberg-Schulz, Christian. Genius Loci: Towards a Phenomenology of Architecture. New York: Rizzoli, 1980. P.10. 129 Critchley, Simon. “Being and Time, Part 1: Why Heidegger Matters.” The Guardian. June 8, 2009. Accessed July 19, 2015. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/ belief/2009/jun/05/heidegger-philosophy. 130 Balechard, Op. Cit. P.201.
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in relationship to others.”131 ma incorporates what Gernot Bohme 52 Spirit of Place, 2015 refers to as the laws of corporeality. “humans are bodies among other bodies...that two bodies cannot be in the same place...must avoid collisions with other bodies when moving.”132 Within ma there exists a dual relationship between space and time as “all experience of space is a time-structured process, and all experience of time is a space-structured process.”133 third, and most powerful, ma is susceptible to subjective interpretation. ma “infuses the objective space with an additional subjective awareness of lived, existential, non-homogeneous space. it also incorporates a recognition of the activities which ‘take place’ in a particular space, and different meanings a place might have for various individuals or cultures.”134 “ma in the subjective domain serves as an excellent unifying concept...for polarity, of the yin-yang interaction of opposites.”135 this is what christian norberg - schulz describes as the concept of Genius loci, or the spirit of the place. “this spirit gives life to people and places, accompanies them from birth to death, and determines their character or essence.”136 subjectivity of experience hinges upon the mental construct of the perceiver, where “the identity of a place is as much in the mind of the beholder as in its physical characteristics.”137
131 132 133 134 135 136 137
Ibid. P. 256. Bohme, Op. Cit. P.25. Nitschke, Gunter. “MA: Place, Space, Void.” Kyoto Journal 8 (September 10, 1988). Accessed November 03, 2015. http://www.kyotojournal.org/the-journal/culture-arts/maplace-space-void/ Ibid. Nitschke, 1993, Op. Cit. P. 58. Norberg-Schulz, Christian. Genius Loci: Towards a Phenomenology of Architecture. New York: Rizzoli, 1980. P.18. Nitschke, 1993, Op. Cit. P. 55.
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Subjective influence can help the individual reach an elevated 53 Bruder Klaus Field Chapel, Peter form of consciousness by experiencing meaningful architecture. Zumthor, 2007 By stimulating the senses, the objectivity of architecture absorbs and reflects that which is trust upon it, creating subjectivity and cumulative meaning. Once again, architecture becomes a mindful body. We relate the creation of atmosphere and the process of weathering to the human body through the practice of mindfulness. Atmosphere As discussed earlier, ‘place’ is the all - encompassing spirit revealed through space and time. Atmosphere is the experience of place and requires the passage of time for spatial qualities to be valued. Just as the mind and body are indistinguishable, “time and space are not separate dimensions, but two sides of a coin, indivisibly coupled. If one is preconditioned by nature or modified by man, the other is affected. When we fail to recognize this delicate dialectical balance, in all its cultural and historical variety, we can easily end up with grotesque situations.”138 Allison Morris reveals the delicate impact of created atmosphere. “The idea of atmosphere as an invisible but transformational attribute that adheres to physical form has subsequently come to be a quality ascribed to art and architecture. It is an elusive quality, difficult to anatomize and often more easily identified in its absence.”139 Also, Swiss architect Peter Zumthor values the importance of architectural atmosphere. “Quality architecture to me is when a building manages to move me. What on earth is it that moves me?...How do people design things with such a beautiful, natural presence, things that move me very single time [sic].”140 Atmosphere is the impression of a building created through 138 Nitschke, 1993. Op. Cit. P. 33. 139 Morris, Alison. John Pawson: Plain Space. London: Phaidon, 2010. P. 30. 140 Zumthor, Atmospheres. Op. Cit. P.11.
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Architecture as a Mindful Body “Architecture has its own realm. It has a special physical relationship with life. I do not think of it primarily as either a message or a symbol, but as an envelope an background for life which goes on in and around it, a sensitive container for the rhythm of footsteps on the floor, for th concentration of work, for the silence of sleep” Peter Zumthor
attention to qualitative generators that enhance the dialectics 54 Koshino House, Tadao Ando, 1984 of the mind and body and possess architecture to become a mindful body. Zumthor says, “to me, buildings can have a beautiful silence that I associate with attributes such as composure, self evidence, durability, presence and integrity, and with warmth and sensuousness as well; a building that is being itself, being a building, not representing anything, just being.”141 When describing atmosphere, it is the qualitative, immaterial and sensuous elements that elevate a building from mere utilitarian performance and into memorable architectural experience. This is mood. Gernot Bohme says that the “basic mood is something that we are...not aware of, but which has an exceptional importance...to the extent that it can have a psychosomatic impact through the tone of the mindful body.”142 When creating atmosphere, the architect must be sensitive to the power of materials. They are the atmospheric generators that activate the unconscious reaction of the senses to experience conscious space. Pallasmaa says, “Architecture, as with art, is fundamentally confronted with questions of human existence in space and time; it expresses and relates man’s being in the world. Architecture is deeply engaged in the metaphysical questions of the self and the world, interiority and exteriority, time and duration, life and death.”143
141 Zumthor, Peter. Thinking Architecture. 2nd ed. Basel: Birkhäuser, 2006. P. 34. 142 Bohme, Op. Cit. P.27. 143 Pallasmaa, 2012. Op. Cit. P.19.
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55 Domestic Mac, Claire Saskun, 2015
1. the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something. 2. a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.
Mindfulness is “the clear and single-minded awareness of what actually happens to us and in us at the successive moments of perception”144. Mindfulness opens up a deeper qualitative mental state where individuals are able to observe and respond to their environment with heightened intension and sensitivity. Mindfulness is to the human body as atmosphere is to architecture. Deborah Hauptmann argues that “our theoretical notions of reality are formative for our experiences...what we consider important for experience of architecture is intricately related to our conceptual frames.”145 That is, if we believe that mindfulness is a valued practice, then we are likely to understand its effect on experience. Mindfulness can be reached during intended practice or in everyday activity such as watering plants. Our experiences within the built environment are predicated on our ability to perceive our immediate surroundings. Humans have developed the unconscious process of sensory gating, or, the ability to block out unnecessary or redundant stimuli. This, according to Brown and Ryan, is a “less “awake” states of habitual or automatic functioning that may be chronic for many individuals.”146 On the other hand, they reveal that “mindfulness captures a quality of consciousness that is characterized by clarity and vividness of current experience and functioning...Further, by adding clarity and 144 Thera, Nyanaponika. The Power of Mindfulness. San Francisco: Unity Press, 1972. p. 5 145 Hauptmann, Deborah. “Opening Statement.” Introduction to The Body in Architecture, edited by Deborah Hauptmann, 9-11. Rotterdam: 010 Publishers, 2006. 146 Brown, Op. Cit. P. 823.
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vividness to experience, mindfulness may also contribute to well- 56 Hallway at Koshino House, Tadao being and happiness in a direct way.”147 While mindfulness can be Ando, 1984 explained, it is most powerful as an experience. It may hit us when we least expect it and bring our focus into the present, entirely aware of the moment and our body. Mindfulness is simultaneously objective and subjective. We all know how it feels but its manifests differently in everyone. Through mindfulness, one can achieve a formless qualitative space within the mind, unbound by the restrictions of physicality. While atmosphere and mindfulness can contribute to the dialectic of the mindful body, the former has an immense ability to influence the latter through activation of the senses in architectural space. Materiality + Weathering / Space + Time Materials define space and are what we experience with our bodies. Materials are the surfaces we touch, they celebrate light and shadow, reflect the sounds we hear and the reveal the textures and perfumes we taste and smell. Materials are also what we construct with as the compositional matrix that creates architecture. Materials reflect time, location and craftsmanship, while material composition and arrangement can create architectural atmosphere and emotive emphasis. Anita Berrizbeitia and Linda Pollak specify the that “materiality displaces matter from its traditional position as ‘base’ at the service of form, to become significant content...the ways that materials induce form to be thought, and how matter can be a generator of sense...how they operate - to index and express temporality, to represent site, or to support a phenomenological reading of a place.”148
147 Ibid. 148 Berrizbeitia, Anita, and Linda Pollak. “Materiality.” In Inside Outside: Between Architecture and Landscape, 48-81. Gloucester, MA: Rockport Publishers, 1999.
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Architecture as a Mindful Body “Working drawings are like anatomical drawings. They reveal something of a secret inner tension which the finished architectural body is reluctant to divulge: the art of joining, hidden geometry, the friction of materials, the inner forces of bearing and holding, the human work which is inherent in man-made buildings” Peter Zumthor
Much of contemporary architecture, which emphasizes 57 Ageless perfection: A beautiful day for manufactured materials, formal flatness and idealized perfection, Architectural vomit, Toronto, 2013 has lost touch with the holistic process and expression of making. Instead, concealing its true being and exposure to weathering. Real life is not perfect and imperfections are a source of inspiration and beauty. “Matter, weathering and decay strengthen the experience of causality, time and reality...Real life is always ‘impure’ and ‘messy’, and profound architecture wisely provide a margin for the very impurity of life.”149 This is connected to the Japanese concept of Wabi - Sabi. There are various interpretations but those that resonate deeply are rustic elegance, quiet taste, refined beauty and the belief that objects gain value through use and age. Wabi-Sabi is authentic, unpretentious and connected to nature. It “reminds us that we are all transient beings on this planet. That our bodies, as well as the material world around us, are in the process of returning to dust. Nature’s cycles of growth, decay, and erosion are embodied in frayed edges, rust, liver spots. Through Wabi - Sabi, we learn to embrace both the glory and the melancholy found in these marks of passing time.”150 Without addressing authenticity and impurity, we are inherently removed from the primal awareness of space, time and beauty. Similar to what was described in, Social Context: The Denial of Death, Pallasmaa states that “Buildings of this technological era usually deliberately aim at ageless perfection, and they do not incorporate the dimension of time, or the unavoidable and mentally significant process of aging. This fear of the traces of wear and age is related to our fear of death.”151 Furthermore, Pallasmaa argues that “haptic and multi-sensory architecture of matter makes the 149 Pallasmaa, Juhani. “Matter, Hapticity and Time: Material Imagination and the Voice of Matter.” In John Pawson, 2006 2011: La Voz De La Materia = the Voice of Matter, 227-39. Madrid: El Croquis Editorial, 2011. P.231. 150 Griggs, Robyn. “Wabi-Sabi: The Art Of Imperfection.” Utne. September/October 2001. Accessed December 05, 2015. http://www.utne.com/mind-and-body/wabi-sabi.aspx. 151 Pallasmaa, 2012. Op. Cit. P. 34.
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“A great building must begin with the unmeasurable, must go through measurable means when it is being designed and in the end must be unmeasurable.” Louis Kahn
experience of time comforting, healing and pleasurable...does not 58 Serena Young exploring Band, struggle against time, it concretises the courses of time and makes Richard Serra, 2006 its traces and marks comfortable and acceptable.”152 Band, by Richard Serra brings together craftsmanship, material and scale. The piece is twelve feet high and seventy feet long and asserts its materiality and reveals the process of its fabrication. It took two and a half years to construct out of two hundred tons of hot rolled steel. “Richard Serra’s steel objects...look just as homogeneous and integral as the stone and wood sculptures of the older sculptural traditions...rely on the simplest and most obvious methods of joining and connecting.”153 The meandering ribbon creates spatial composition and depth through haptic material presence that evokes the senses. Serra “directly addresses the body and our experiences of horizontality and verticality, materiality, gravity and weight.”154 He fuses the “reality of the work with the reality of the lived world.”155 You just want to go up and touch it, slide your fingers across its rusted patina and explore the human dimensions and simplicity of space created through material. Serra has created architecture that “frames, halts, strengthens and focuses our thoughts, and prevents them from getting lost.” 156 Materials can engage the senses through careful articulation of inherent qualities as the stage for experience. According to Tadao Ando, architectural materials go beyond their tangible forms and into the atmospheric realm to include sensual generator such as light and wind.157 He stated, “I do not believe architecture should speak too much. It should remain silent and let nature in the guise 152 Pallasmaa, 2011, Op. Cit. P.235. 153 Zumthor, Peter, and Yoshida Nobuyuki. Peter Zumthor: A U: Architecture and Urbanism, February 1998, Extra Edition. Tokyo: U Publ., 1998. P. 12. 154 Pallasmaa, 2012. Op. Cit. P.40. 155 Ibid. 156 Ibid. P 48. 157 Andō, Tadao. Tadao Ando: Buildings, Projects, Writings. Edited by Kenneth Frampton. New York: Rizzoli, 1984. P. 9.
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Architecture as a Mindful Body “Architecture is an artistic expression as far as it transcends its purely utilitarian, technical and rational realm, and turns into a metaphoric expression of the lived world and the human condition.” Juhani Pallasmaa
of sunlight and wind speak...They can be chilling or gentle and 59 The Pierre: Excavated room, pleasant. They activate space, make us aware of the season, and Olson Kundig, 2010 nurture within us a finer sensitivity.”158 Material weathering gives architecture a tectonic expression, marks the passage of time, the temporality of nature and the process of life and death. Mohsen Mostafavi and David Leatherbarrow describe how weathering marks the life of a building and signifies human use. They note, “time’s passage in architecture include a building’s inception, construction and inhabitation. The project, too, endures through these phases.”159 They continue, “the building’s regeneration and degeneration emphasizes the temporality of nature as an order of beginning and ending or, more broadly, life and death.”160 For example, Olson Kundig’s The Pierre (the French word for stone), emphasizes the natural material of the site and celebrates the construction process. “The rock protrudes into the space...hearths are carved out of existing stone...left raw...natural sinks in the existing stone...a powder room is carved out of the rock; a mirror set within a sky tube reflects natural light into the space.”161 The architects were conscious to reveal the means of construction as the bore holes, used for dynamite blasting, create the texture of the walls and ceiling. Pallasmaa reveals how this practice exemplifies the perpetuity of time and experience. “Natural materials express their age, as well as the story of their origins and their history of 60 The Pierre: Building Section, Olson human use.”162 Furthermore, these processes allow experiences Kundig, 2010 that surpass any individual life. “Architecture connects us with the dead”...Time and space are eternally locked into each other...matter, space and time fuse into one singular elemental experience, the 158 Ibid. P. 25. 159 Mostafavi, Mohsen, and David Leatherbarrow. On Weathering: The Life of Buildings in Time. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1993. P. 112. 160 Ibid. P. 47. 161 “The Pierre / Olson Kundig Architects.” ArchDaily. July 18, 2012. Accessed November 17, 2015. http://www.archdaily.com/255187/the-pierre-olson-kundig-architects-2. 162 Pallasmaa, 2012. Op. Cit. P.34.
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Architecture as a Mindful Body “When we dream of the house we were born in, in the utmost depths of revery, we participate in this original warmth, in this well-tempered matter of the material paradise. This is the environment in which the protective beings live... Our daydreams carry us back to it. And the poet well knows that the house holds childhood motionless ‘in its arms’ ” Gaston Bachelard
sense of being.”163 Similarly, Mostafavi and Leatherbarrow remind 61 Josef Albers at the Bauhaus 1928, us of nature’s temporal power through material weathering164 and Josef and Anni Albers Foundation. the fusion of time and space with the present. “Weathering brings the virtual future of a building into dialogue with its actual present, as both are entangled in its past.”165 The Salk Institute by Louis Kahn, brings together the spatial philosophy of MA with the tectonic sensitivity of weathering materials. Josef Albers had a profound influence on Louis Kahn. Albers saw material expression as a means of “transcending the merely optical and empirical ‘outer sight’ by the somewhat mystical idea of ‘inner seeing’...Space was the key locus for all experience...the somewhat mystical essence or ether able to synthesize all aspects of human life ranging from physical to psychic needs.”166 Albers explored these ideas through his teachings at the Bauhaus and in his own work. “Space is represented not as a three-dimensional reality but as a more mysterious entity discovered through the cognitive process... spatial imagination transcended analytical vision...only through pure intuition rather than through reasonable knowledge.”167 Kahn’s juxtaposition of exposed concrete and teak wood create a spiritual tension between durability and weathering. The central courtyard creates a “facade to the sky”168, linking human presence with metaphysical abstraction and the contemplation of existence. “A person’s view is then directed towards nature, reminding people of their scale compared to that of the ocean.”169 163 164 165 166
Ibid. P. 56. Mostafavi, Op. Cit. P.102. Mostafavi, Op. Cit. P.112. Pelkonen, Eeva-Liisa. “Toward Cognitive Architecture.” In Louis Kahn: The Power of Architecture, edited by Mateo Kries, Jochen Eisenbrand, and Stanislaus Von. Moos, 133-48. Weil Am Rhein: Vitra Design Museum, 2012. P.135. 167 Ibid. 168 Steele, James. Salk Institute: Louis I Kahn. London: Phaidon, 1993. P. 20. Luis Barragan suggested the courtyard be free of landscaping in order to emphasize the spiritual connection to the sky and the ocean. 169 “AD Classics: Salk Institute / Louis Kahn.” ArchDaily. May 27, 2010. Accessed November 19,15.
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“Sun never knows how great it is until it hits the side of a building or shines inside a room” Louis Kahn
Alberto Perez-Gomez summarizes the value of materiality and 62 Salk Institute for Biological time in experiencing architectural atmosphere. “Experiencing and Research, Louis Kahn, 1964 participating in a work of architecture has a fundamental temporal dimension. Acknowledging the ambivalent reality of its space constitutes a recognition that is, also, a creation of ourselves. Architecture being a meaning-for-embodied-consciousness demands an erotic projection from the maker and the participant, an abandonment of ourselves for the other, an act whose final objective is our realization as embodied, imagined selves.”170
170 Holl, 1994. Op Cit. P. 23.
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The Dialectic of Light + Shadow
63 Ronchamp, Le Corbusier, 1954
Materials are the omnipresent constituents of spatial experience but light is the bringer of life and presence. For Louis Kahn, “all material in nature, the mountains and the streams and the air and we, are made of light which has been spent, and this crumpled mass called material casts a shadow, and the shadow belongs to light. So light is really the source of all being.”171 With light comes shadow and together they create a dialectic through which we experience time and space. All life on earth revolves around access to light and shadow. Light and shadow place us in the daily and seasonal transitions of the earth and connect us with the universe. “Natural light connects us with cosmic dimensions and brings life into architecture...light is the cosmic breathing of space and the universe.”172 This connection gives light both permanent and temporal qualities. We experience light at the present moment or light exists eternally as it may have traveled for millions of years to reach our perception. This only increases the mystic and enlightening presence of light as a “connection with dizzying cosmic phenomena and makes us experience sensations of the sacred.”173 The dynamics of light and shadow allow the senses to experience atmospheric qualities. Space can be manipulated by the architect through the control of light and shadow to achieve spiritual transcendence and perceived weightlessness. Pallasmaa notes that “in Le Corbusier’s Chapel at Ronchamp, the darkness and weight of the space under the hanging curved roof of concrete is heightened by the rich illumination through the punctured south wall. In contrast, light and shadow can create spatial flatness, what James Turrell refers to as “Ganzfelds: a German word to describe 171
Lobell, John, and Louis I. Kahn. Between Silence and Light: Spirit in the Architecture of Louis I. Kahn. Boulder: Shambhala, 1979. P. 22. 172 Juhani Pallasmaa in Bermúdez, Julio. Transcending Architecture: Contemporary Views on Sacred Space. Catholic University of America Press, 2015. P. 23. 173 Ibid. P. 28.
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“Inspiration is the feeling of beginning at the threshold where silence and light meet.” Louis Kahn
the phenomenon of the total loss of depth perception as in the 64 Dhatu, James Turrell, 2009 experience of a white-out.”174 Turrell turns “light into colored air invoking delicate sensations of skin contact, temperature, and oscillation; these spaces make one feel as if one is being submerged in a transparent, colored substance that turns light and color into haptic sensations.”175 Light and shadow are not reserved for optical sensation. Mindful architecture intends to harness light and shadow for the entire body. We feel the warmth of the sun on a cold winter day or the relief of shade in the desert. Light and shadow include corporeal sensation that influence “the perceptual spirit and metaphysical strength of architecture...driven by the quality of light and shadow... Natural light, with its ethereal variety of change, fundamentally orchestrates the intestines of architecture.”176
174 “Double Vision.” James Turrell. Accessed November 24, 2015. http://jamesturrell.com/ work/type/ganzfeld/. 175 Pallasmaa in Bermúdez, Op. Cit. P. 26. 176 Holl, 1994. Op. Cit. P. 63.
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Architecture as a Mindful Body “I think that all the nerves and muscles can serve [memory], so that a lute player, for example, has a part of his memory in his hands: for the ease of bending and disposing his fingers in various ways, which he has acquired by practice, helps him to remember the passages which need these dispositions when they are played.” Descartes
Memory, Emotion + Imagination
65 Boy falls from tree, Jeff Wall, 2010
No matter how ‘conscious’ architecture can become to promote living in the present, we will always be confronted with memories of past spatial experiences. Peter Zumthor says, “we perceive atmosphere through our emotional sensibility - a form of perception that works incredibly quickly.”177 The task of mindful architecture is to create a place for subjective emotional expression and to stimulate a heightened self awareness of body and mind through experience. Klaske Havik and Gus Tielens have noted that “architecture is either consciously or unconsciously a metaphorical representation of the world...There always is the issue of the self involved: the experience of the self.”178 In other words, the memories of past places influences our perception and experience of new places and subsequently inform meaning. We cannot escape the unconscious perception of the mind and body. Through the bodily senses, architecture can influence spatial memory to embed meaning from novel experience. Peter Zumthor comments on the power and influence of memory on architecture. “Memories...contain the deepest architectural experience that i know. They are the reservoirs of the architectural atmospheres and images.”179 Childhood spatial memories are rarely centered around formal expression. The most powerful memories manifest through emotive and sensory experiences of the body. We remember the smell of our grandmother’s baking, the dankness of the basement and the feeling of falling out of a tree. Each of these examples is universal yet reveal a subjective rendition through the mind of the individual.
177 Zumthor, Atmospheres, Op. Cit. P. 13. 178 Havik, Klaske, and Gus Tielens. “Atmosphere, Compassion and Embodied Experience: A Conversation about Atmosphere with Juhani Pallasmaa.” In Sfeer Bouwen = Building Atmosphere, 33-49. #91 ed. Rotterdam: Nai010 Uitg., 2013. P. 37. 179 Zumthor, 1998. Op. Cit. P.6.
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Architecture as a Mindful Body “Memory - what a strange thing it is! - does not record concrete duration...We are unable to relive duration that has been stored. We can only think of it, in the line of an abstract time that is deprived of all thickness.” Gaston Bachelard
“Rene Dubos180 has alluded to this duality: ‘I remember the mood 66 CaixaForum, Madrid, Herzog & of places better than their precise features because places evoke de Meuron, 2008 for me life situations rather than geographical sites’...the identity of a place is as much in the mind of the beholder as in its physical characteristics.”181 Just like the dialectic of the mind and body, memory and emotion cannot be separated. They exist together in the spatial road map of our life, inducing imagination and meaning. Gaston Bachelard elegantly points that “memory and imagination remain associated, each one working for their mutual deepening... our memories of former dwelling-places are relived as daydreams that these dwelling-places of the past remain in us for all time.”182 Preconditioned memory and spatial tradition is reimagined in Herzog and de Meuron’s CaixaForum through the transformation of an old power station into a cultural hub. “An artistic thought is not merely a conceptual or logical deduction, it implied an existential understanding and a synthesis of lived experience that fuses perception, memory and desire. Perception fuses memory with the actual percept, and consequently, even ordinary sense perceptions are complex processes of comparison and evaluation.”183 In 1977, Bloomer and Moore articulated the bland homogeneity of our built environments and how they offer little meaning besides basic shelter. “What is missing from our dwellings today are the potential transactions between body, imagination and environment...Comfort is confused with the absence of sensation... rooms maintained at a constant temperature without any verticality or outlook or sunshine or breeze or discernible source of heat or center or , alas, meaning.”184 This concern is still relevant today. 180 René Jules Dubos (1901 - 1982) was a French-born American microbiologist, experimental pathologist, environmentalist, humanist, and winner of the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction. Dubos explored the interplay of environmental forces and the physical, mental and spiritual development of mankind. (Wikipedia) 181 Nitschke, 1993. Op. Cit. P. 55. 182 Bachelard, Op. Cit. P. 5 - 6. 183 Pallasmaa, 2010. Op. Cit. P. 116. 184 Bloomer and Moore, Op. Cit. P. 105.
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Architecture as a Mindful Body “Works of are always spring form those who have faced the danger, gone to the very end of an experience, to the point beyond which no human being can go. The further one dares to go, the more decent, the more personal, the more unique a life becomes.” Gaston Bachelard
Philippe Rahm believes that architecture is the design of the 67 Domestic Astronomy, atmosphere and where space is invisibly material.185 His work is Philippe Rahm, 2009 based on spatial manipulation through the inherent characteristics of air, light, heat and humidity. Domestic Astronomy is an apartment prototype where the floor surface is abandoned as the primary zone of occupation in favour of the atmosphere. The functions and furnishings rise to be located in the ideal climatic zone. They spread and ‘evaporate’ in the atmosphere of the apartment, and stabilize at certain temperatures determined by the body, clothing and activity. The proposal allows for the physical differences in activity depended temperatures and exploits them by altering the typical way of living in space. Rahm has replaced the horizontal with the vertical where we can occupy different heat zones, different layers, and different heights. Thus he creates an astronomic ecosystem in the home, where combinations of temperature, lights, time and place are reconfigured.186 This shift in domestic perspective, focusing on spatial experience through the senses can have an impact on our memory and imaginary capabilities. Today, most buildings lack the appropriate atmospheric generators that elicit subjective imagination and emotion. Atmospheric 68 Domestic Astronomy: Plan + generators allow the mindful body to experience spatial presence Section, Philippe Rahm, 2009 through the senses, enabling the body to experience heightened consciousness and emotion. Juhani Pallasmaa enumerates the subtle, yet powerful ability of architectural atmosphere to elicit emotion. “Architecture should not specify emotion, but should invite emotion...The architecture admits me and authorizes
185 Rahm, Philippe. “Philippe Rahm “Constructed Atmospheres”” Lecture, Open House Lecture, Harvard GSD. Accessed December 06, 2015. https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=NP6EBTwGcug. 6:09 186 “Domestic Astronomy.” Philippe Rahm Architectes. 2009. Accessed December 06, 2015. http://www.philipperahm.com/data/projects/domesticastronomy/index.html.
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Architecture as a Mindful Body “Architecture is either consciously or unconsciously a metaphorical representation of the world. That means, there always is the issue of the self involved: the experience of the self” Juhani Pallasmaa
me to feel this feeling, which I would otherwise suppress.”187 69 The Pantheon, Rome, 118 - 128 AD Furthermore, he states the importance of memory, experience and imagination in creating architecture. “Buildings are not abstract, meaningless constructions, or aesthetic compositions, they are extensions and shelters of our bodies, memories, identities and minds. Consequently, architecture arises from existentially true confrontations, experiences, recollections and aspirations.”188 The Pantheon in Rome is be said to possess such qualities as each visitor can project the horizon of their existence into the space and absorb the influence on their psyche. Atmospheric generators include “the nine-meter open oculus...During the course of the day the harsh beam of sunlight moves majestically from the dome to ground.”189 Spiritual contemplation within such a spaces have the power to elicit higher forms of cognition and spirituality. Meaningful architecture can allow the body to experience space through enriching sensory experiences. Merleau - Ponty describes two scenarios for the body. “Our body comprises as it were two distinct layers, that of the habit-body and that of the body at this moment.”190 The latter referring to the experiences of the body in the present moment of perception. The former, which includes the term “habitual”, refers to body memory which Edward S. Casey specifies as “the natural center of any sensitive account of remembering.”191 Casey continues by stating that “there is no memory without body memory...In claiming this I do not mean to say that whenever we remember we are in fact directly engaging 187 Pallasmaa, Juhani. “Atmosphere, Compassion and Embodied Experience: A Conversation about Atmosphere with Juhani Pallasmaa.” In Sfeer Bouwen = Building Atmosphere, by Klaske Havik and Gus Tielens, 33-49. #91 ed. Rotterdam: Nai010 Uitg., 2013. P. 43. 188 Pallasmaa, 2010. Op. Cit. P. 117. 189 “A Brief History of Rome’s Luminous Rotundas.” ArchDaily. N.p., 22 Oct. 2015. Web. 19 Nov. 2015. 190 Merleau -Ponty, Op. Cit. P. 95. 191 Casey, Edward S. Remembering: A Phenomenological Study. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1987. P. 148.
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“The more deeply something is engaged in the unmeasurable, the more deeply it has this lasting value...You cannot deny the great works of art because they are born out of the unmeasurable.” Louis Kahn
in body memory...Rather, I am saying that we could not remember... 70 Body movement and memory without having the capacity for body memory.”192 Architecture as through spatial Suggestion, Salk a mindful body constitutes body memory as an integral facet to Institute. lived space and time. Mundane architecture, although appropriate in certain instances, can elicit a numbed bodily response and subsequently removes itself from higher influence on our cognitive, emotive and spatial memories. Casey remarks that “we live in worlds of the mind, in which the material and the mental, as well as the experienced, remembered and imagined, completely fuse into each other...Existential space is structured on the basis of meanings and values reflected upon it by an individual or group, either consciously or unconsciously; existential space is a unique experience interpreted through the memory and experience of the individual.”193 Going back to the Salk Institute, Louis Kahn was able to produce bodily memory through spatial distinction of served and service, interior and exterior, public and private and sacred and profane spaces. “Kahn’s contribution was to invest space with complex temporalities, in so doing, make architecture into a site of both memory and anticipatory action.”194 The intricacy and intention of the procession from the entry gate to the water fountain is rich with bodily stimulation, spiritual contemplation and experiential imagination. The body is free to move and create its own body memory and explore presence through curiosity of material composition. Anni Albers “believed that working with materials could reveal the complex phenomenology of our temporal experience...by emphasizing craft traditions and historical memory.”195 Louis Kahn was able to bring together abstracted mental and physical frameworks as a metaphor for human emotion, experience and memory. When experiencing the Salk Institute, one 192 Ibid. P. 172. 193 Pallasmaa, 2010. Op. Cit. P. 127-128. 194 Pelkonen, Op. Cit. 195 Ibid.
71 Spatial Imagination and Curiosity, Salk Institute.
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architecture as a minDFul BoDY
â€œWonder is the closest intouchness with your intuitive.â€? Louis Kahn
is made aware of themselves and the relationship to something 72 Wondering Wandering, 2015 beyond. an awareness of the cosmos and the fragility of life. this mindfulness is what transforms space from a simple experience into a therapeutic enhancement. memory, emotion and imagination can deeply impact our sense of spatial value. thus, by appealing to all three, architecture can redefine our value threshold and positively impact our well being.
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BETWEEN SACRED AND PROFANE
sa路cred adjective 1. connected with God (or the gods) or dedicated to a religious purpose and so deserving veneration. 2. religious rather than secular. 3. (of writing or text) embodying the laws or doctrines of a religion.
pro路fane adjective 1. relating or devoted to that which is not sacred or biblical; secular rather than religious. 2. (of a person or their behavior) not respectful of orthodox religious practice; irreverent.
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Between Sacred and Profane
People are the source of energy for architecture. Jim Pallister notes 73 Mall of America, Bloomington, that “[b]efore the church comes the people. Many people find that Minnesota, 1992 great solace can be found...through the sense of congregation with ones fellow men and women.”196 We will return to this concept in a program as a mindful body but first, we must discuss the designation between the sacred and the profane and the fundamental difference between mindful consciousness and religious practice. In religious architecture, sacred space was the most important, strong and significant space one would experience. Mircea Eliade describes sacred space in relationship to the profane. “In the homogeneous and infinite expanse, in which no point of reference is possible and hence no orientation can be established, the hierophany reveals an absolute fixed point, a center...equivalent to the creation of the world.”197 In contrast, profane space “is homogeneous and neutral; no break qualitatively differentiates the various parts of its mass...hence, no orientation are given by virtue of its inherent structure.”198 In other words, sacred space allowed visitors to reflect onto the world a sense of place where all other reference can be compared. This disciplined focal point can create individual and social order within an otherwise chaotically profane world. In Western society, secularization is on the rise and religious spaces are becoming replaced by the shopping mall, the office atrium and the art gallery. They have contributed to the “erosion of the spatial monopoly that religion once had.”199 In 1840, Augustus
196 Pallister, James. Sacred Spaces: Contemporary Religious Architecture. New York: Phaidon, 2015. P.20. 197 Eliade, Mircea. The Sacred and the Profane: The Nature of Religion. Translated by Willard R. Trask. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1957. P. 21 - 22. 198 Ibid. 199 Pallister. Op. Cit. P. 13.
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Welby “Pugin200 famously posited a direct causal relationship 74 New Museum of Contemporary Art, between architecture and the ethical values of society.”201 This New York, SANAA, 2007. notion is still relevant today as emphasis is placed on superficial spaces as sacred, reflecting the capitalist consumption of our society. In reality, these spaces are more profane than sacred, based on economy and ‘high’ culture. The profanity of our built environment can take queues from religious architecture where the “fusing together in built form the oppositions of materiality and transcendence, community and individual.”202 Can conscious secular architecture contain transcendent qualities that religious architecture holds? Why can’t architecture of the everyday contain qualities that would render it sacred? Mindful architecture seeks harmony between the sacred and the profane, each composed of and complementing the other. This is the Yin Yang of spatial balance, the threshold between these two spaces representing a mode of being that transcends cultural influence. If architecture can harness this sacred power into space that heals, a new kind of ‘real’ can be unveiled through consciousness. Religion + Spirituality Religion gives power to the divine and attributes morality and knowledge to its presence. Spirituality emphasizes the connection within the individual, between people and with the cosmos. All of human existence occurs on earth but transcended consciousness can unlock the infinite space of the mind. Instead of opening communication between the cosmic planes (earth and heaven), 200 Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin (1812 – 1852) was an English architect, designer, artist and critic, chiefly remembered for his pioneering role in the Gothic Revival style (Wikipedia). 201 Britton, Karla Cavarra. “The Risk of the Ineffable.” In Transcending Architecture: Contemporary Views on Sacred Space, by Julio Bermúdez, 74-87. Catholic University of America Press. P. 75. 202 Ibid. P. 77.
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mindful architecture fosters community and spiritual connection 75 Temple for Atheists, Tom within the realm of experience. Religion can be spiritual but Greenall + Jordan Hodgson with Alain spirituality not need be religion. Religion is externalized and is how de Botton one identifies themselves. Spirituality is internalized and private while allowing people to connect over a shared practice. Spirituality can be realized even when religion cannot. In 1961, Le Corbusier was quoted as saying “I have not known the miracle of faith203 but I often live that of ineffable space, the consummation of plastic emotion.”204 He believed in the aesthetic emotion of ineffable space revealed in what he called, the fourth dimension. “The fourth dimension is the moment of limitless escape evoked by an exceptionally just consonance of the plastic means employed... Then a boundless depth opens up, effaces walls, drive away contingent presences, accomplishing the miracle of ineffable space.”205 What Le Corbusier was describing is similar to MA space where experience of spatial presence and spirituality exists within personal subjectivity and manifested through the experience of ineffable space and architecture. Alain de Bottom believes that “in the next hundred, two hundred years, we will start to evolve ways of living a life, where we don’t believe, that is much more sophisticated than the non believing life we currently have.”206 To that he is proposing the Temple for Atheists where non believers have a place to congregate and build community based on individual spirituality and rational subjectivity. de Botton questions, “why should religious people have the most beautiful buildings in the land? Why not just learn from religions and
203 204 205 206
Pallister. Op. Cit. P. 9. Britton. Op Cit. P. 79. Ibid. P. 78 - 79. Tippett, Krista, and Alain De Botton. “Alain De Botton - A School of Life for Atheists.” On Being. September 04, 2012. Accessed November 30, 2015. http://www.onbeing.org/ program/alain-de-botton-school-life-atheists/4821. 0:50
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build similarly beautiful and interesting things right now?”207 “The 76 Between Cathedrals, Alberto things religious people get from religion – awe, wonder, meaning Camp Baeza, Cadiz, Spain, 2009 and perspective – non-religious people get them from other places like art, nature, human relationships and the narratives we give our lives in other ways.”208 Nature the Divine Internal balance through mindful architecture cannot exist if humans do not live harmoniously with the earth. According to the World Health Organization, 54 per cent of the world’s population lives in urban areas209 and this number is expected to increase to 66 per cent by 2050.210 This puts pressure on cities to provide adequate space for urban relief through nature. Nature can become the divine because human contact with nature is beneficial for healing and offsetting the negative effects of contemporary culture. In her essay, Nature, Healing, and the Numinous, Rebecca Krinke describes a growing body of empirical research that supports human contact with nature, especially vegetation, as having beneficial effects on human physical and psychological health.211 Krinke argues for the importance contemplative landscapes in providing “a setting that removes us from the everyday world and its concerns, quieting the 207 Etherington, Rose. “Alain De Botton Plans Temples for Atheists.” Dezeen. January 25, 2012. Accessed December 01, 2015. http://www.dezeen.com/2012/01/25/alain-debotton-plans-temples-for-atheists/. 208 Booth, Robert. “Alain De Botton Reveals Plans for ‘temple to Atheism’ in Heart of London.” The Guardian. January 26, 2012. Accessed December 1, 2015. http://www. theguardian.com/books/2012/jan/26/alain-de-botton-temple-atheism. 209 “Urban Population Growth.” WHO. Accessed December 01, 2015. http://www.who.int/ gho/urban_health/situation_trends/urban_population_growth_text/en/. 210 “World’s Population Increasingly Urban with More than Half Living in Urban Areas | UN DESA | United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs.” UN News Center. July 10, 2014. Accessed December 01, 2015. https://www.un.org/development/desa/en/ news/population/world-urbanization-prospects.html. 211 Krinke, Rebecca. “Nature, Healing, and the Numinous.” In Transcending Architecture: Contemporary Views on Sacred Space, by Julio Bermúdez, 47-62. Catholic University of America Press, 2015. P. 48.
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“Every individual’s life is intimately connected with nature. How people accommodate and adapt to the seasons and the laws of nature will deternime how well the draw from the origin or spring of their lives.” Maoshing Ni
mind and subsequently fostering the potential for new insights.”212 The great Luis Barragan believes in the healing power of gardens. “In the creation of a garden, the architect invites the partnership of the Kingdom of Nature. In a beautiful garden, the majesty of Nature is ever present, but Nature reduced to human proportions and thus transformed into the most efficient haven against the aggressiveness of contemporary life.”213
77 Luis Barragan House, Tacubaya, Mexico, 1948
Nature is perpetually sacred, yet Western modernity has attempted to eliminate it from our urban experiences. Mindful architecture can focus on landscape architecture and the role of urban nature in creating urban serenity. Baragan continues, “serenity is the great and true antidote against anguish and fear, and today, more than ever, it is the architect’s duty to make of it a permanent guest in the home, no matter how sumptuous or how humble.”214
212 Krinke. Op. Cit. P. 49. 213 Barragan. Opt. Cit. 214 Ibid.
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MINDFUL PRESENCE THROUGH THE SENSES: PRECEDENTS
The Garden and the Room
By louis Kahn
in doing a memorial i started with a room and a garden. that was all i had. Why did i choose a room and a garden as a point of departure? Because the garden is a personal gathering of nature, and the room is the beginning of architecture. the garden has to do with nature as it applies to a place that has been chosen by man and is developed for man’s use in a certain way. the architect becomes the advocate of nature, and makes everything in the deepest respect for nature. he does this by not imitating it at all, and not allowing himself to think that he is a designer-if he imitates how, let us say, the bird plants the tree. But he must plant the tree as man, a choosing, conscious individual. the room is not only the beginning of architecture: it is an extension of self. if you think about it, you realize that you don’t say the same thing in a small room that you say in a large room. if i were to speak in a great hall, i would have to pick one person who smiles at me in order to be able to speak at all. the large room and the small room, the tall room and the low room, the room with the fireplace and the room without, all become great events in your mind. You begin to think, not what are the requirements, but rather what are the elements of architecture that you can employ to make an environment in which it is good to learn, good to live, or good to work. also marvelous in a room is the light that comes through the windows of that room and that belongs to the room. the sun does not realize how wonderful it is until after a room is made. a man’s creation, the making of a room, is nothing short of a miracle. just think, that a man can claim a slice of the sun. 146 | 147
ARTHUR + YVONNE BOYD EDUCATION CENTRE
HEART SMALL INTESTINE
YANG LIVER GALL BLADDER
MOUNT ROKKO CHAPEL
IGELHEIM FUNERAL CHAPEL
CASA DELLE BOTTERE
HOUSE FOR TREES
LUNGS LARGE INTESTINE
minDFul Presence throuGh the senses: PreceDents
Precedent studies are important for understanding the what and 78 Precedents of a balanced system how of architecture. Precedents allow the architect to explore certain building typologies, construction methods and conceptual frameworks they wish to explore in a new project. in keeping with the process of this thesis, the precedents were chosen according to figure 78, a variation of the tcm diagram we have seen previously. Decisions were made according to the following criteria in order to give a range of program types, locations, materials and design concepts, all fitting into the relativity of Yin - Yang, the five elements, the senses, the associated organ systems and emotions. the summary is listed in figure 79 below.
eleMent sense orgAn eMotion
Fire taste heart joy
community connection loud active open
location exposure outdoor space access
Wood sight liver anger
open light Filtering intense
typology material balance light quality Promenade
earth touch stomach Worry
Grounding central inducing mindfulness communal contemplation
typology interior/exterior transition materials threshold
Water hear Kidney Fear
serenity Quiet independent contemplation
Garden Presence Water feature Prospect + refuge nature
metal smell lungs sad
retreat intimate Passive introspective
movement & flow Variation of experiences Prospect + refuge nature
79 Precedents of a balanced system Criteria
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A B C D
minDFul Presence throuGh the senses: PreceDents
A Main Hall Arthur + Yvonne Boyd Education Centre Glenn Murcutt, Wendy Lewin + Reg Lark, Riverdale, NSW, Australia, B Sleeping quarters 1999 C Main Hall View towards the river.
located in rural riverdale, the arthur + Yvonne Boyd education coming centre consists of a large hall and sleeping quarters for up to thirty D Approach up the hill from the two students, who would be staying for several days. the building river. acts as a line between two landscapes, the river valley and the forrest and the simple, linear parti promotes awareness of the land as visitors can contemplate the views over both landscapes. at the heart of the building is the hall, where students can congregate for meals, lectures and entertainment while the dormitory is brought down in scale and pushed to the back for privacy. the building is an instrument of framing place. the architects organized the building to look at different parts of the landscape which is revealed through the placement of large and small windows and the articulation of the roof form. to combat the strength of the sun, wood screens are used throughout and users can individually control them in their sleeping bunk. the building incorporates elements of prospect and refuge with places to retreat and others to connect and socialize. Prospect is made up of the elements that are beyond were one is or what one knows: views and the landscape. Prospect highlights ones vulnerability or the susceptibility to the harshness of nature. Prospect is moderated by refuge, a place of withdrawal. the attention to detail and the simplicity of the design make the arthur + Yvonne Boyd education center a fine precedent within the fire category.215
Murcutt, 2002. Op. Cit. P. 182 - 183.
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A B C D
minDFul Presence throuGh the senses: PreceDents
2011 Serpentine Pavilion Peter Zumthor + Piet Oudolf, London, July 1 - October 16, 2011
A Inner Garden
B Rain creating a water wall around the garden. at the heart of Peter Zumthor’s Pavilion is a garden intended heighten relaxation and observation. Zumthor explored how C Juxtaposition of light and dark the senses and emotions affect our experience of architecture within the hallways within contemplative spaces that evoke the spiritual dimension upon approaching the garden. of our physical environment. the building is designed around the
human body as a contemplative room, a garden within a garden. D Exterior view with multiple entry and the building acts as a stage, a backdrop for the interior garden exit locations. of flowers and light. the juxtaposition of shadow and light creates tension as one enters the building from the lawn and begins the transition into the central garden, a place abstracted from the world of noise and traffic and the smells of london – an interior space within which to sit, to walk, to observe the flowers. the 2011 Pavilion is constructed of a lightweight timber frame wrapped with scrim and coated with a black adhesive. exterior and interior walls with staggered doorways offer multiple paths for visitors to follow, gently guiding them to the central, hidden inner garden. the covered walkways and blue seating around the perimeter of the garden allows the pavilion to be used during all types of weather. the project is dynamic, autonomous and active with elements of intimacy and activity. the attention to materials, proportion and the entry sequence are atmospheric.216
Frearson, Amy. “Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2011 by Peter Zumthor - Dezeen.” Dezeen. June 27, 2011. Accessed December 03, 2015. http://www.dezeen.com/2011/06/27/ serpentine-gallery-pavilion-2011-by-peter-zumthor-2/.
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A B C D E F G
minDFul Presence throuGh the senses: PreceDents
Mount Rokko Chapel Tadao Ando, Mount Rokko, Kobe, Japan, 1986 tadao ando demonstrated an awareness of traditional spatial manipulation techniques and an ability to use them in a contemporary context. the entry sequence is complex composition of light and dark tunnels, elevation changes and volumetric differences. access to views of the building and the landscape are restricted until ando reveals them emphatically. arrival at the chapel is signified by a recessed opening in the glass tunnel and a beautifully designed flower stand. Before the space is felt, there is a 90 degree turn tot he right and a vertical slit between the light tunnel and the concrete wall. the chapel is a cave experience, a narrow dark passage turning visitors 180 degrees around. Being turned back to where one came from suggests the journey is the its end. the final leg of the sequence is to descend into a well lit interior space, the destination of the church space. at the destination of passage, ando induces a physical feeling of return to our origin.217
A Plan B Initial tunnel upon approach C Sequence shifts elevation and direction D Looking back through second tunnel. Entry to chapel in foreground. E Chapel entry with flower table marking arrival F Chapel wall washed with natural sunlight. G Second tunnel and chapel beyond.
the project is modest in scale but expands space and time through the entry sequence. andoâ€™s work uses light and materials in meaningful ways. the entry sequence is a filtration of the mind, preparing the visitor for the experience of architecture. the different atmospheres created along the journey is sensually rich, explorative and rewarding.
Nitschke, 1993. Op. Cit. P. 43 - 47.
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A B C D
minDFul Presence throuGh the senses: PreceDents
Casa Delle Bottere John Pawson, Treviso, Italy, 2011
A West courtyard B Living floor plan and long section
john Pawson has a reputation for minimalism and this family home C Main axis looking in northern italy is no exception. the two storey house is set within from the high vaulted living a deep excavation, keeping the massing low on the expansive site space and creating a single storey above ground with a basement level, D Modified and sunken courtyard to the west. the living area is located on the upper floor and the interior volumes change according to the roof pitch. the design incorporates a pair of cross views, the primary vista oriented towards the east/west axis and secondary vista north/south. the plan is arranged around the activities of cooking, eating and relaxing.
vernacular form emphasizing the axis corridor with one simple window.
a goal of the project was to create a building with virtually zero energy requirements and casa delle Bottere is one of only seventy houses in italy to have been awarded gold star certification for sustainability.218 the project has exceptional light quality, material contrast and intentional views. the home is a sacred space. a filter from the profanity of the outside world. Pawson was sensitive to building orientation according to use and natural sunlight. the complex simplicity of the spaces evokes tranquility and calmness. elements i am looking to incorporate into this thesis.
Pawson, John. â€œCasa Delle Bottere.â€? In John Pawson, 2006 2011: La Voz De La Materia = the Voice of Matter, 128-51. Vol. 158. Madrid: El Croquis Editorial, 2011.
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A B C D E F
minDFul Presence throuGh the senses: PreceDents
Ingelheim Funeral Chapel Bayer + Strobel Architekten, Inhelheim am Rhein, Germany, 2012
A Concrete screen and benches in the medium sized courtyard.
the ingelheim Funeral chapel is all about material, threshold and B Intimate foyer and procession from the public realm into a space for contemplation, small courtyard on approach to the community and mindfulness. chapel. the pitched gable roof of the chapel creates a beacon that is visible from the surrounding context. a perimeter wall encloses the project to ensure privacy, establish a place of peace and tranquility and amplify the sense of threshold that one passes through to enter the chapel. upon entry, mourners pass through a more intimate chapel foyer space with a small courtyard and then into the chapel hall. the double height space is top lit by a skylight that runs its full length. the intention was to exude a sense of hope and well being within a friendly, dignified and solemn atmosphere. after passing through the length of the vaulted sanctuary, they pass into a square courtyard area. this area is mean to accommodate the congregation before and after services. the courtyard is open to the elements except for a perimeter portico like a cloister within a monastery. the use of local quarry stone for its facade and interior spaces unifies the spaces and the connection to nature.219
C Vaulted chapel space with view and connection to a courtyard. D Building sections E Floor Plan F Street view of the complex. The concept of pyramid on a solid base.
this project is spatially balanced by providing visitors with spaces of prospect and refuge and well articulated transitions into the sacred spaces. the communal yet intimate serenity and contemplation of life and death is enhanced through the courtyards as central anchor points. this project is simple and clear with a muted yet visceral material palette.
Pallister, 2015. Op. Cit. P. 166.
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A B C D
minDFul Presence throuGh the senses: PreceDents
Nitobe Gardens Restoration Shunmyo Masuno, Vancouver, 1993
A Waterfall B Garden Plan
sculpture shunmyo masuno restored nitobe gardens from its original 1960 C Pagoda and bridge over design in memorial of scholar and educator inazo nitobe, who died pond. while abroad in Vancouver. D expansive view of
the garden is designed in the shinto traditional as a Zen garden. Zen manipulates the unconscious mind. masuno wanted to merge the mind, hands, body, time and materials into one element of tranquility and consciousness. 220
the reflecting pond with the island in the foreground and the tea house and bridge in the background.
the procession from entry takes the visitor along a path through different experiences, gradations and stimulations. there are intimate spaces of reflection and others wide and open to the sky. the garden is centered by a large pond and central island. a waterfall and tea house provide destinations along the path and dense treed areas balance the openness of the pond. time and space are expanded through the processional technique within a relatively small site. the garden provides access to nature and areas of stillness amongst a bustling and growing uBc campus.
220 Masuno, Sunmyo. Landscapes in the Spirit of Zen: A Collection of the Work of Shunmyo Masuno. Tokyo: Process Architecture Publishing, 1995.
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A B C D
minDFul Presence throuGh the senses: PreceDents
House for Trees Vo trong nghia architects, ho chi minh city, Vietnam, 2014
B Interior spaces seamlessly embrace the house for trees is a two-bedroom home for a family of three. it exterior courtyard.
is built on vacant land hemmed in by buildings on all sides, in connect one of the most densely populated areas of ho chi minh city. C Bridges second floor the city has only 0.25 percent of its area covered in greenery. spaces between volumes. an over-abundance of motorbikes causes daily traffic congestion and serious air pollution. as a result, new generations in urban D The courtyard creates intimacy areas are losing their connection with nature. therefore, the and relief from the goal of the project was to bring green space back into the city typical Vietnamese typology. and accommodate high-density dwelling. Five concrete boxes are designed as ‘pots’ to plant large tropical trees on their tops. the buildings are arranged around a central courtyard, with few windows at the back to maintain privacy, and large glass doors and windows at the front to maximize daylight and ventilation. the courtyard and gardens, shaded by trees above, become part of the ground floor living space, blurring the delineation between inside and outside. local and natural materials are utilized to reduce cost and carbon footprint. the external walls are made of in-situ concrete with bamboo form-work, while locally-sourced bricks are exposed on the internal walls as finishing. a ventilated cavity separates the concrete and brick walls to protect interior space from heat transfer.221 the project brings natural balance into a dense urban environment. it cleans the air while giving the residences an intimate and cool climate to experience.
Tebbut, Luke. “Trees Grow on Rooftops of House by Vo Trong Nghia Architects.” Dezeen. June 19, 2014. Accessed December 10, 2015. http://www.dezeen. com/2014/06/19/house-for-trees-vietnam-vo-trong-nghia-architects.
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how do we apply this approach to the human body as a methodology for analyzing a site? can this methodology help uncover specific areas of pathology? how does the chosen site relate to the interests of this project? the proposed site was chosen for specific reasons. the industrial site is within Vancouverâ€™s Downtown east side (Dtes) which has a rich economic and social history. here lies the opportunity to address a complex demographic consisting of industrial and shipyard workers, artists, designers, entrepreneurs, cruise ship tourists, market and social housing residents, sex trade workers and the homeless.
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80 Portion of Goadâ€™s Fire Insurance Map, 1912. City of Vancouver Archives.
81 View of Waterfront + Heatley Wharf, 1920. City of Vancouver Archives. 82 View of Waterfront from the Heatley St. overpass, 2015.
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The proposed site, at 711 + 715 Alexander Street, contains a diverse 83 Pioneers at the Heatley Avenue set of spatial conditions. Gentrification has already influenced the Station, 1945. City of Vancouver area to the West and will continue its Eastern march. The site Archives. is located close to major and minor vehicle and bicycle arteries on Powell Street and Alexander Street. Next, the site sits directly adjacent to the Port of Vancouver and C.P.R rail system that connects downtown Vancouver with the rest of Canada. This makes industry a large factor in the experience of the site with major historical, visual, auditory and material contributions. For instance, in the early 1900s, the Heatley Street station was located on the site. It was the second to last stop on the C.P.R line before waterfront station. The Heatley street overpass defines the Western edge of the site, creating opportunities to enhance the street with covered outdoor space. The site sits on the original waterfront so the property to the Heatley the North sits on artificial land. Also, ocean and mountain views 84 Under Street overpass, 2015 create another opportunity to balance industry with the nature and alleviate some pathology that currently exists. Finally, the social context is important as the demographics are diverse. In addition to the proximity to Oppenheimer Park and many social services in the area, there are market housing, artist spaces and social and cooperative developments located in the area. Can architecture enhance mental well being and addiction therapy? How can the congruence of a program and a building blend with the inherent qualities of a site to create balance within the community? This project seeks to explore this relationship through â€˜mindful urban acupunctureâ€™ and contribute a layer of architectural value within this dynamic changing urban landscape.
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85 Rail Tracks to the North, 2015 86 Overlooking the site from the Heatley St. Overpass, 2015
SOUTH STAGNANT FLOW + SITE ACCESS
TASTE HEART SMALL INTESTINE SPRING
LIVER GALL BLADDER
FIRE WORRY THINKING
HISTORICAL HEATLEY STATION
OCEAN + MOUNTAIN VIEW
BRIDGE BALANCING PATH
LUNGS LARGE INTESTINE
87 Site Pathology, 2015
The site is viewed through a holistic lens, examining current imbalances as possible intervention locations. How can the site be analyzed like a human body? Can an architectural intervention combat current site pathology? A pathology can be any feature that removes site characteristics away from an overall natural balance within the city. The term â€˜naturalâ€™ does not coincide with nature per se, but is more about an idealized potential of what the site could be. The site possibilities as a positive contribution within the community. The locations of pathology are indicated in figure X. Each pathology is associated with an element category within the TCM diagram. STAGNANT FLOW + SITE ACCESS This yang pathology falls between wood and fire and is manifested through deficiency. If people are the life blood and energy of a place, the site is life less. Concrete block walls and chain linked fences surround the site and razor wire reinforces the perceived impenetrability. This pathology has been developed by the use of the site as a storage / industrial zone. SOIL CONTAMINATION Toxicity is associated with fire. Years of industrial and rail yard use has contributed to soil contamination . The earth, relatively yin, has been penetrated with over stimulation of yang energy creating imbalance. HISTORIC HEATLEY STATION This is a pathology because of the absence of what existed. People once traveled to, congregated, and activated the site as a node for urban digestion. Neglect has left the site stagnant of grounding energy. BRIDGE CONDITION An urban condition usually labeled with despair and sadness, this
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pathology has the ability to be balanced with activity and joy. The 88 Alexander Street Character, 2015 current conditions on either side of the overpass turn their backs to it, neglecting the spatial quality and possibilities of the space. RAIL NOISE The experience of the rail yard is shocking and abrupt as the boxcars bang together. This pathology falls between wood and water. Water 89 Referbished McLennan because the tracks are located on former space occupied by the & McFeely warehouse, 2015 ocean and wood because rail tracks are usually hidden from view. This pathology is a deficiency and would need some calmness to bring this deficiency into balance. OCEAN + MOUNTAIN VIEW The excessive yang throughout the site can be offset through injection of water. Currently, ocean and mountain views are hindered by the site walls and industrial infrastructure tot he north. Architecture can reveal the northern ocean and mountain views to contribute yin energy, which is associated with the North direction. The Neighborhood The streetscape is architecturally diverse. Historic, mid-century and new buildings exist at many different heights, bringing layers of urban texture into the neighborhood. Figure 94 shows the site in proximity to other neighborhood features and the locations of the site pathologies.
90 View East looking from the Heatley overpass, 2015
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91 Proposed site: Pathologies and context, 2015
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PROGRAM AS A MINDFUL BODY
mindful architecture not only seeks a sensory approach to spatial quality but also to program classification, arrangement and distribution. if architecture is to become a means for meaningful enhancement of daily life, the spatial conditions and program must create balanced with the users. the Program will address mental well being and addiction therapy and include community and park spaces. after examining the site and discovering locations of pathology, architecture can intervene through a holistic process that brings natural order to the place and balances the building with the site. the eastern medicine diagram has been adjusted to include elements of therapeutic wellness to show how architecture has become a form of therapy.
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“The quality of the space that we hold is actually everything. It speaks to the very essence of who you are and why you are here. The quality of the space is incredibly subtle and receptive not only to who we are on the most essential level, but also who we think we are. This thinking quality of the mind alters and manipulates the quality of the space so that then we may achieve 92 Influence of Breath, what we think is important in our life. So what becomes incredibly 2015 important is understanding the reality of the subtlety that we’re working with and the receptivity of this quality of space that it is truly, consistently and always listening to what you have to say. So what are you saying to this quality of space that you hold? It becomes worthwhile to contemplate the relationship that you have to the quality of space as it becomes integral to the success of you being HERE. The quality of the space you feel, also that you see manifests an ability to become conscious. Continuously the space you feel and see is stimulating the ability for you to become conscious. Revealing to you the patterns that are in favor or not in favor, simultaneously revealing to you the truth of what is. And as a contemplation, that is the ideal position for the mind to rest into, is the truth of what is. Within every circumstance or situation you are in. What is the truth? And as we evolve with our ability to become conscious, we become to see the truth of how are relationship is to this quality. The reality of weather or not you listen to what is being said and if you are brave enough to respond. This is how one achieves this why, the reason why you are here is through responding to the instruction that comes from a place of truth and the task of the human being, especially the one who is becoming conscious, is to put this relationship into practice and ritual, continuously, consciously returning back to what you know is the truth and maintaining in an incredibly soft way, your position there. Being willing to feel life as it moves through you because life is made up of energies that are moving like a river so there will be some resistance that is there and the authentic path is the path of feeling the reality of that resistance and letting the sensation that comes through you, cleanse your being.” Rameen Peyrow, Founder of SATTVA Yoga and the SATTVA School of Yoga
COMMUNITY PLAZA + PROMENADE SUMMER
LOBBY + WATER COURT HEART SMALL INTESTINE SPRING
LIVER GALL BLADDER
TASTE WORRY THINKING
SUNKEN + ROCK GARDENS BALANCING PATH GENERATOR PATH
LUNGS LARGE INTESTINE
Program as a Mindful Body
As a site of ‘Mindful Urban Acupuncture’, the program will balance 93 Balancing architecture and architecture and landscape architecture through a simple program program, 2015 that includes both public and private spaces. The junction between the two is where the richness and complexity of the project is revealed. The program includes a community plaza + promenade, roof amphitheater, community hall, cafe, activity + intimate activity spaces, rock + sunken gardens, and garden + water court yards. Each program element is analyzed according to inherent qualities of Yin - Yang and the relationship to the 5 elements. Program grouping is done according to the type, temperature and speed of activity and level of activity (social or intimate). Since all aspects of Yin Yang are relative, complementary and inclusive of the opposite, the program as a mindful body seeks balance between the human body and the spaces it occupies. Therefore, the architecture reflects an inverse to the classification of a program element (see figure 94). I was fortunate to sit down with Dr. KeJian Zhang from the International College of Traditional Chinese Medicine of Vancouver. We discussed the influence of architecture on the treatment of mental illness and how spaces can create balance for people. It turns out that individual condition and personality are primary for influencing spatial arrangement (see figure 93). For instance, somebody suffering from depression has a natural imbalance in the metal element (associated with sadness and grief) and manifests through either a deficiency or excess. Their personality type contributes to treatment as well. For a metal deficiency, this patient would be best suited in a ‘metal’ treatment space. For metal excess, this patient would be best suited in a ‘wood’ treatment space. Extroversion is associated with the more yang elements of fire and wood and introversion is associated with yin elements of water and metal. If the metal deficient patient is highly extroverted (previously placed in ‘metal’ treatment space), they may feel more comfortable in a ‘wood’ or ‘fire’ space. If the metal excess patient is highly introverted (previously placed in ‘wood’ treatment space),
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Fast, Hot, Active, Social
Confined, cool, dark, intimate
community Plaza + Promenade cafe community hall lobby + Water court activity Garden court intimate activity
Yin Slow, Cool, Still, Intimate
sunken + rock Gardens
Open, warm, bright, social
ProGram as a minDFul BoDY
they may feel more comfortable in a ‘metal’ or ‘water’ space.
94 Architecture as the inverse of Activity: a balancing table, 2015 Dr. Zhang specified that for the best results, occupants need to have
a variety of spaces to personalize activity with their individual needs for balance. each space should be comfortable and make people feel good so they can get lost in time. each elemental space must not be too extreme and include portions of all five elements with the defining one being dominant. if architecture is to be a mindful body, then space must be an agent for life. the earth is at the center, balanced and at the core of the mindful body. it is comfortable, natural and maternal. the stomach is associated with the core and we can think of the inhabitants of the building as food for the body, the energy bringing life to the building. the food enters the stomach, is digested and dispersed towards occupation and activity as either Yin or Yang Qi. 95 Arrival to Activity:
People to Qi, 2015
Architecture as Therapy as most architects or architectural enthusiasts would claim, meaningful space can elicit joy and inspiration within the inhabitants. unfortunately, most of the general public fail to understand the value of architecture. recently, empirical research can help convince these people otherwise. Dr. julio Bermudez has proven that contemplative buildings can induce a meditative state similar to self directed methods. he used two different studies to address the issue. First, he conducted two independent and identical surveys in english and spanish with the goal to collect a substantial number of responses so that the data could be statistically studied. the on-line questions asked the participants about extraordinary architectural
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A Program as a Mindful Body
Experiences (EAE) they have had in their lives.222 They defined EAEs 96 Teshima Art Museum, Ryue as “an encounter with a building or place that fundamentally alters Nishizawa, Takamatsu, Japan, one’s normal state of being. By ‘fundamental alteration’ it is meant 2010 a powerful and lasting shift in one’s physical, perceptual, emotional, 223 intellectual, and/or spiritual appreciation of architecture.” The answers from the 2900 responses showed remarkable consistency on how people physically, intuitively and emotionally responded to EAEs and the answers indicated clear evidence of EAEs being about contemplative states. Bermudez concluded by stating that “the EAE survey showed that buildings may induce insightful, profound and transformative contemplative states...Indeed buildings designed to provoke contemplation seemed to be succeeding to a great degree.”224 A second study used fMRI scans to gauge and compare the neurophenomenological response that contemplative and ordinary buildings elicit from 12 subjects. The results show that contemplative buildings (a) induce markedly distinct phenomenological states and neural activations than ordinary buildings (measurable in the differential engagement of the Whole Brain, Frontal Lobe, Orbitofrontal Cortex, Inferior Parietal Lobule, Insula, and Cingulate Gyrus); (b) allow subjects to enter into a meditative state with diminishing levels of anxiety and mind wandering ; and (c) activate subjects’ cortical regions of sensory-motor and emotional integration, non-judgementality, and embodiment.
222 Bermudez, Julio. “Empirical Aesthetics: The Body and Emotion in Extraordinary Architectural Experiences.” In 2011 ARCC Spring Research Conference, 369-80. Proceedings of Considering Research: Reflecting upon Current Themes in Architectural Research, Lawrence Tech University, Detroit. Southfield: Lawrence Technological University, 2011. Accessed December 7, 2015. https://www.academia.edu/2902116/ Empirical_Aesthetics_The_Body_and_Emotion_in_Extraordinary_Architectural_ Experiences. 223 Julio Bermudez. “Bermudez - Architecturally Induced Contemplative States.” Lecture, Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture. Accessed December 07, 2015. https://www. youtube.com/watch?v=PalHtOrY9E4. 1:05. 224 Ibid. 3:20.
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a ProGram as a minDFul BoDY
“Meditation illuminates. It trains your mind to focus and recalibrate the nervous system. With the tornado mind subdued, the inner voice of your higher mind and conscience can be finally heard and followed.” Max Strom
this research contributes to the architectural discourse in many 97 Beneath the known surface, 2015 ways. First, it extends our understanding of alternative means to foster contemplation at an individual and collective scale, it advances the scientific investigation of architecture (contemplative and otherwise) and provides an empirical foundation for the impacts of centuries’ old architectural traditions on human phenomenology.225 architecture is now proven to become a catalyst for mindful practice. it can enhance intended activity or exist solely as an impact on contemplation. either way, space can now contribute to better overall wellbeing. With the program and the benefits of contemplative space outlined, the challenge will be testing this theory through practice and moving forward into the design phase through the developed methodology.
225 Bermudez, Julio. “FMRI Study of Architecturally-Induced Contemplative States.” In Presenter Abstracts, 18-19. Proceedings of ANFA 2014 Conference, Salk Institute, La Jolla. Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture. Accessed December 7, 2015.
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The Voluntary Architectural Simplicity (VAS) Manifesto Dr. julio Bermudez The Call Postmodern apathy, cynicism and relativism not withstanding, we are experiencing a fragmented and chaotic reality acted out in massively irresponsible behaviors across the earth. Our world is shrinking under the merciless assault of our polluting and wasteful habits. Habits that come out of accepting a life in the fast lane under the mantra of more, bigger, faster, better, and cheaper. Habits that keep on failing to provide what they promise and instead deliver only more unmet needs, grief and stress. Despite the promises heralded by the rising information age, continuous scientific breakthroughs, the prowess of technological evolution, and the myth of infinite growth and rationality, we always find ourselves returning, increasingly more frustrated, to the same ancient existential dramas born out of just being alive and trying to attain some peace, security, and contentment. Little, if any, have we advanced in these simple matters. Escaping this fact into the carefully crafted distractions geared to our most superficial desires and exercised through unchecked consumerism never quite works either. Worse still, we are beginning to see what some of these habits have brought us: global warming, unspoken poverty co-existing with opulent greed, violence, AIDS, terrorism, war, ecological devastation, and economic instability at a planetary scale. Although it is hard to admit it, we ourselves have been all too often shy accomplices of this state of affairs. Confused, distracted and overwhelmed by the neurotic complexity of it all, we feel little more than irrelevant peons, floating astray in the rough seas of 21st Century civilization. Architecture, the art of establishing the material order of a cultural order, cannot avoid but to reflect and respond to its surrounding reality. Not surprising, current reality is requiring architectural responses defying all past traditions. Contemporary architects increasingly find themselves with the task of redefining architecture’s purpose, technology, functionality, and aesthetics based on the needs and visions of our seemingly ungraspable culture. Professing architecture is no light matter in these circumstances. True professing demands that we hold a position, stand for something, make a vow in the name of a deep seeded passion for architecture, our fellow beings and Earth. Professing also requires being able to technically and competently respond to architectural challenges. Professing is where belief and knowledge come together in the here and now of present reality. Hence, uncritically adopting off-the shelf Postmodern, Modern, Deconstructivist, and any other pre-digested style appears evidently superficial and irresponsible. So, how are we to profess architecture facing this reality? Can we truly make a committed and caring act in which we use our architectural skills for the sake of improving whatever is trusted to us as architects? Can we make a difference? The Response We take on this question professionally. And, following the two meanings behind professing, it moves simultaneously in two parallel paths of commitment and embodiment. The philosophical path offers a voluntary and critical direction that resists the forces of today’s zeitgeist. The disciplinary path leads towards architectural clarity, sustainability, and essentialism as concrete ways to embody this resistance. The two-path road points towards a renewed aesthetics and ethics of ‘less is more’. It encourages a turn towards the minimal, the fundamentally uncomplicated, the direct and conscious as a potent antidote to our culture of excess, schizophrenia and unconsciousness. We are talking of an architecture of presence. We will use Duane Elgin’s book “Voluntary Simplicity” as a source
APPROACH AND WORKING METHODOLOGY of clarity and inspiration along this road. Starting the journey demands that first and foremost, we do it voluntarily. We must freely chose it from within and not feel that it is imposed on us from without. Second, this choice has to come out of some personal realization (conscious or unconscious) of its necessity. In other words, we cannot select it as a result of nostalgia or reactionary ideology. Rather it should grow out of our direct experience of the situation itself. “Growing-out-of” something means to have been in the midst of it and come out of it by first hand learning and effort. It signifies to embrace (and not to throw away) what has been overcome. In having been intimate with it at one time, we have understood it well enough to attempt to transcend it without narrow-minded resentment. In other words, it is not a position arrived by intellectual reasoning or negative emotions. Rather it is a decision founded in a concrete and personal experience of growth. Thus, choosing simplicity grows out of our direct experience of living under unnecessary complexity. Seeking focus grows out of being tired of living in distraction. Pursuing essentialism grows out of realizing that superficiality offers little. And so on, the desire for clarity grows out of confusion, conservation out of wastefulness, austerity out of excess, integrity out of fragmentation, self-restrain out of empty consumerism and spending, poetry out of crude materialism, presence and slowness out of the fleetingness of a fast life, committed participation out of passive following, the minimum out of overcrowded and cluttered conditions and order out of chaos. We will call the resulting architecture, Voluntary Architectural Simplicity (VAS). The VAS Studio is wherein VAS is practiced by making use of basic or essential architectural principles, rules, ideas, experiences. VAS engages the hypothesis of simplicity as a critical, insight seeking, disciplinary and conscious inquiry to confront the professional challenges of today. It goes without saying that there is something unspoken of great power that is pushing us into VAS : Spirituality. We “sense” that today’s huge problems will never be sincerely addressed (and thus solved) unless we acknowledge the ultimate meaning,wholeness, or trans-personal nature of reality and all beings. While this vision does not require a divinity, it doesn’t shy away from the sublime and metaphysical either. In this sense, perhaps, our most urgent job as architects is to profess the sacredness of all space on Earth so that land development may be done with care and wisdom. The preservation, respect, and celebration of space can only come when we honor its sacred dimension. By bringing a spiritual sensibility to its fold, VAS may be able to positively affect a world in desperate need for truth, goodness, and beauty. VAS gives us the intellectual, emotional, and active space to discuss, explore, practice, and advance an architecture that fosters spiritual development by the sheer power of design quality. Two disclaimers to end this manifesto. First, VAS is consciously naïve in seeking to resist the overwhelming forces of our time. It just makes non-sense to do so. Second, VAS is not self-righteous. Although it claims to do what is right, it does not see this path as the only or best path to address today’s challenges. It only points at one potential way of professing architecture. It just professes, and in so doing offers, humbly, Voluntary Architectural Simplicity.
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ATMOSPHERIC PHYSICAL MODEL
TASTE WORRY THINKING
CAD DRAWING ROUGH STUDY PHYSICAL MODEL
BALANCING PATH GENERATOR PATH
Approach and Working Methodology
The architectural design process is dynamic and complex while 98 The design process as cyclical and representation is constantly under scrutiny and refinement. Each balancing,2015 designerâ€™s method is unique as different spatial exploration methods can yield subjective results. The working methodology for this thesis will be intensive and balanced. During GP1, the methodology has included digital collage as a method for formulating ideas about the writing and the research. For GP2, it will be important to work in both digital and physical modes for communicating the qualitative aspects of architecture the research has explored. As with any design project, the process is full of ups and downs. The TCM diagram is modified as an analysis and description of the intended working methodology for GP2. This process is cyclical, complementary and balanced. The yang processes are more physically demanding and exist in the tactile world. Yin processes are more internal and relatively digital. Follow along with the description in figure 102, starting at the earth element. Rough sketching and study models will initiate ideas and stimulate the thinking and worrying aspects of the process (earth). Hand drawing and digital collage can expand on initial ideas. At this point, the process may be difficult and the project may seem hopeless. Sadness may take over (metal). At this point, it would be time to switch medium in order to evolve the design. Digital 3D modeling will help clarify project needs (water). This may generate (a) fear as the project may seem either out of reach or (b) shock, if the design process yields productive results. CAD drawing in plan, section and detailing will push the project forward (wood). This is usually the time when anger or frustration sets in and all hope of becoming an accomplished designer begins to fade away. It is important to balance the process by returning to earlier methods or advancing to physical modeling and material testing (fire). Joy can take over quickly as design milestones are reached and progress is made. This cycle can continue for as long as it takes for the project to form a cohesive integration of site, program and practice.
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aPProach anD WorKinG methoDoloGY
99 Controlled Celebration, 2015 Generally, physical models will be imperative to identify and
communicate the sensual qualities as described in the research. it will be important to be rough at the start and refining as the term proceeds. i will test materials and their effects in different spatial conditions and configurations. Film and digital media could be used to test ideas and representation techniques for communicating time and space. GP2 will be both architecturally and personally explorative as the culmination of my graduate studies. i am excited to develop the project and see how the research can influence a conscious architectural design.
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Part 2 The Dialectics of Contemplation
THE COLLECTIVE AND THE INTIMATE
“All space must be attached to…a public dimension. There is no private space. The only private space that you can imagine is the human mind.”
Paulo Mendes da Rocha
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the intimate anD the collectiVe â€œWhen you become aware of silence, immediately there is that state of inner still alertness. You are present. You have stepped out of thousands of years of collective human conditioning.â€? Eckhart Tolle
contemplation and mindfulness are aspects of perception that 100 No Worries, No Fears, 2015 we tend to place at the periphery in favour of a fast paced and individualistic lifestyle. our addiction to continuous connectivity and digital flatness has created a collective neglect for the dualities of mind and body, individual and community, and human and environment. idealization is a part of cultural history but our dependence on technology has reduced public life to digitized editorials, falsely representing who we are and what we stand for. this trend has resulted in a society concentrated with mental pollution and far removed from the tactile and visceral qualities of perception. as life is lived through a screen, we are more isolated from our peers and ourselves, resulting in disastrous effects on our physical and mental health. thus, human connection and self awareness become increasingly important for maintaining interpersonal well being and psychological balance, where community is grounded in meaningful experiences within the public and private domains. how can architecture help overcome this contemporary state of psychological disjunction and foster balanced mindfulness through individual and communal contemplative activity? how does facilitating shared or intimate experience convert architecture into a therapeutic means? how can the mind and body reconnect through spatial experience and reinvigorate our abilities to live our lives in more fulfilling ways? this project integrates architecture and landscape to create a community building as a temporary escape from an intense and dynamic neighbourhood. through a balanced relationship between intimacy and community, materiality, light and shadow, the mind and body are subjected to a sequence of subtle thresholds that can set the stage for subjective perception and create a valued place for habitation, exploration and observation. the interplay of public and private life mirrors the dialectic between
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the intimate anD the collectiVe â€œThe environment can also be imagined as something that can encompass human endeavour as well as matter, a territory where the connections between energy and culture can be made.â€? Adam Caruso
mind and body. one cannot exist without the other. just as the 101 Emancipation of the Malcontent, human mind interprets and perceives spatial stimuli in which the 2016 body engages, our private lives are deeply rooted in our existential cultural milieu . The Collective a stage for shared human to human activity. What does public and private mean in the contemporary context of internet blogs and real time updates? is any space we consider private ever truly so? What aspects of the public realm can help make us feel secure and connected? how can private space be associated with the city but still maintain its intimate qualities? this project investigates how meaningful space within the contemporary city must be thoughtful and balanced. like the yin within the yang (and vice versa), a moment of intimacy within an otherwise open space can create a sense of calmness, allowing visitors to feel at ease, be connected to the place and reveal more of themselves. Public space is not just about gathering, but must offer more as a stage for subjective projection of the psyche. a forgotten urban space that was once a primal node of affective energy can be reinvigorated with life. thus, creating a new space for collective memory, meaning and mindfulness. utilitarian infrastructure camouflaging an undervalued dead end street can become an energized community plaza bringing occupation back to an intense industrial edge. meaningful public space can have intimate moments of refuge. an overlook created by a subtle elevation change, a tactile material choice, slightly differentiating the part from the whole, the person from the collective, a moment of refuge to collect ones thoughts and observations, to meet friends and develop new ones. Where time
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the intimate anD the collectiVe
â€œAwareness give you a chance to make a decision about what is best for you and the people around you. This powerful wy of seeing combines observation, non-judgement, and affection.â€? Andrew Levitt, The Inner Studio
slows down towards the present, where occupants are encouraged 102 Thresholds from the community to to linger rather than stroll by, where an encounter with the sun, sky, the intimate, 2016 wind and rain can bring urban dwellers in touch with the natural forces of the landscape we usually avoid contacting. one intention of this project is to address the dialectic of site specific pathologies and communal needs to foster mindfulness through contemplative shared activity. The Intimate a close introspective relationship with the architecture itself. the spiritual realm of architecture. We most commonly feel completely at ease while in our homes or places of respite but even these environments have distractions, chores and commitments. random encounters and intense mechanization engulf our senses and perception. Personal intimate space within the city can create a contemplative escape, encouraging and influencing mindful presence and the relationship of the individual to the larger whole. one is able to let go, decrease barriers and experience a closed environment to feel open in. this form of contemplation is the spiritual connection between the mind, the body and the space we occupy. as vignettes of individual experiences, the intimate is part of a experiential network. small pieces of a larger whole and when connected with communal contemplation, provides a balanced range of experiences within the microsystem of urban life.
Spatial Simplicity this project seeks to test these ideas at a variety of scales. honouring a simple material palette and pure geometry ensures a sense of craft, calmness, unity and simplicity. todayâ€™s digital
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The Intimate and the collective
“An absence of clutter provides a room to think and perhaps even to understand” - John Pawson
publication of contemporary architecture has bread a type of 103 Mind, Body + Spirit, 2015 ‘Architectural catalogism’ where designers pull from a list of features and apply them to their work. Where architecture exhibits a multitude of complexities, identities and forms, incoherent and intolerable to the mind and body. Synthetic indestructibility and homogeneous change over time dictates how space is created, maintained and experienced. There is a place in todays urban landscape for the incomplete, the imperfect and the impermanent. A place for informal occupation to dictate use and value, where democratic exploration can create a sense of civic balance. Experiential preparation + Threshold. This project investigates how communal architecture can emphasize meaning and experience through choreographed preparation towards, and threshold into, experience. Where the expansion of time and space can emphasize an intended spatial experience. From darkness towards the light, compression before expansion, a subtle rise towards communal engagement or the decent into intimate contemplation. The movement through transition spaces creating a dialectical experience before a spatial climax. Powerful top lit volumes with specific framed views and direct interaction with garden courtyards can be a unique transcendent experience. “Mindful architecture” , can help us better understand our place within the universal spectrum and our relationship to the city, our community and to ourselves.
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VOLUMES ARE CONNECTED THROUGH A SEQUENTIAL CIRCULATION SYSTEM. A NETWORK OF EXPERIENCES AND PARTS OF A LARGER WHOLE
104 Circulation Network 105 Threshold + Preparation
See next page for vignettes
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106 Threshold Vignettes
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107 Balanced Spatial Network
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108 Context plan
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109 Ground Floor Plan
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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23
COMMUNITY PLAZA COVERED PATIO CAFE PROMENADE ROOF AMPHITHEATRE PROMENADE PATIO ENTRY COMMUNITY HALL FOYER THRESHOLD LOBBY WASH / CHANGE ROOM WATER COURT RECEPTION GATHERING STEPS BRIDGE THRESHOLD ACTIVITY CORRIDOR ACTIVITY INTIMATE ACTIVITY GARDEN COURT ROCK GARDEN SUNKEN GARDEN MEZZANINE LOOKOUT
110 Program Legend 111 Lower Floor Plan
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112 Promenade Plan
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113 Stepped Long Section 114 Community Hall Section Detail 115 Lobby - Promenade section Detail 116 Activity Space Section Detail
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117 Section D Community Hall 118 Community Hall Experience 119 Section B Activity 120 Activity Experience
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121 Section C Lobby 122 Lobby Experience 123 Lobby View Experience
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124 Water Court 125 Rock + Sunken Gardens 126 Garden Court
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127 Community Plaza 128 Entry + Promenade Stairs 129 Roof Amphitheater
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130 3D printed form work
as an exercise in casting, this model provided a unique opportunity to deploy digital fabrication with different materials. the model base was made from laser cut plywood and hand measured and cut solid maple and mDF, while i used 3D printed form work to cast rockite cement for the design intervention.
131 1:200 scale
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132 Lit up volumes
133 Rockite casted base + volumes
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134 Roof amphitheater + garden court
135 Light + Shadow
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136 Detail of finished cast
137 South East Aerial View
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Master of Architecture thesis project April 2016 Part 1: Research Part 2: Design