In Search of Catharsis: Architecture for Urbanites

[Hypothetical project]

I. An escape from the urban center

The urban center is highly charged with stimulants. These stimulants leave us repressed and overladen with pressures on our wellbeing. Consequently, we find ways to leave its environment-an ‘escape’ of sort, to some place where we can let go of ourselves- physical or otherwise, and relieve our bodies and minds to catharsis and purification. Some of us choose to realign our mechanisms with Mother Nature.

II. The context 

500 meters out to sea, a different environment is presented. The sounds of crashing waves and sizzling salt, howling of winds, distant cawing of seagulls, rumbling of vessels, and amplified pattering of rain on the water surface. It is this environment that inspires the making of architecture. The architecture need not be site-specific.

III. Replicating context

The context is replicated via an experiment.

1. A tripod stand
2. A pipette
3. A receptacle tank with replicated shoreline filled with water to the brim

It begins with the pipette filled in with water and the first drop dangles perilously on its edge. The pipette suspends 2 feet above the receptacle.

The drop succumbs to gravity, gains mass and eventually loses grip. It lands onto the water surface of the receptacle where ripples begin to form. This short process takes only a split second. A bystander watches this process repeat, observing a structural and precise rhythm.

IV. The beginning of architecture

The setup is intended to draw similar feelings in the same way we would feel in the imagined body at sea. Feelings that bring out calmness, concentration, contemplation and composure. The imagined body is architecture of structure and form. The structure of stacked concrete slabs that form the walls with in-between gaps expresses weight and tension, supporting on steel rings. The architectonics is expressed through these slabs cascading, enveloping the enclosure space, articulating dynamic movement and rhythm. The architectural body seeks to protect the inhabitant from external harsh elements, providing protection, assurance and comfort. The gaps allow a gaze back onto the familiar shoreline. By then, the inhabitant is recharged.

Republished from a submission entry for Hunter Douglas Technology Competition 2009. The original title of work is Ripple in the Sea.

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