Being of place

I’m fascinated by how we can design and make better places. Take the following buildings. The first seems born of the place, whilst the second looks like it’s been parked like a car, or dropped from on high by parachute. Our technological capacities too often blind us from experiences that nourish.

drawing from Christopher Day’s book, Spirit and Place, p.35

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3 Responses to “Being of place”

  1. Marion Says:

    Your sketch reminds me of Heidegger’s use of an old farmhouse in order to illustrate the meaning of dwelling and building:
    “Only if we are capable of dwelling, only then can we build. Let us think for a while of a farmhouse in the Black Forest, which was built some two hundred years ago by the dwelling of peasants. Here the self-sufficiency of the power to let earth and heaven, divinities and mortals enter in simple oneness into things, ordered the house. It placed the farm on the wind-sheltered mountain slope looking south, among the meadows close to the spring. It gave it the wide overhanging shingle roof whose proper slope bears up under the burden of snow, and which, reaching deep down, shields the chambers against the storms of the long winter nights. It did not forget the altar corner behind the community table; it made room in its chamber for the hallowed places of childbed and the “tree of the dead”-for that is what they call a coffin there: the Totenbaum-and in this way it designed for the different generations under one roof the character of their journey through time. A craft which, itself sprung from dwelling, still uses its tools and frames as things, built the farmhouse.”
    Martin Heidegger, Building, Dwelling, Thinking, in: Poetry, Language, Thought, translated by Albert Hofstadter, Harper Colophon Books, New York, 1971.
    http://pratt.edu/~arch543p/readings/Heidegger.html

  2. Mark Meynell Says:

    love the drawing – makes perfect sense

  3. 2bfrank, Says:

    Thank you both, and a beautiful quote that almost gives the image the power of speech. I should have said the drawing comes from a book by Christopher Day who writes about responsive designing; he contemplates the forces at work in architecture and place-making in ways that I find incredibly revealing. One of his insights that I’m contemplating right now is that as well as needing anchoring with place, we also like to be stretched, hence the Gothic Cathedrals that would have stood next to lots of low-lying houses! He advocates design processes that aim for life-giving (as opposed to hard and deadening) balances.

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