Building for a Nature-Oriented Spirituality : a gathering for the cross-quarters
Author(s)Pollack, Scott R. (Scott Robert)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Architecture.
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This thesis is a proposal for a way of building for a Nature-Oriented Spirituality. It begins an exploration into what a community might look like for people who see the land and the seasons as the generators of life. This process requires that the link between belief and physical form be made explicit and what this implies about the places that we make and inhabit. The project is a Ritual Community, a home and gathering place for the EarthSpirit Community. EarthSpirit is a New England based organization of individuals and groups whose beliefs are based generally on pre-Judeo / Christian myths and traditions, especially those of northern Europe and the British Isles. It is a spiritual construct quite different than that of the society at large, with profound implications both for the social and built environment. Since the late Middle Ages the practice of these beliefs has been out of necessity secretive and underground. Therefore there is no modern and little historical built precedence from which to start. The development of an attitude about both the landscape and how to place buildings within it is the central issue of this thesis. Rather than being prescriptive, an attitude provides guidance in how to approach the design and building processes without requiring use of a specific "style" of constructional system. By attuning the attitude toward physical form with the general attitudes and beliefs of a community, the outcome of the building process should provide an appropriate environment for that communitie's life and activities. The basic Pagan and Wiccan beliefs are an understanding and abstraction of Nature and the cycles of the seasons. Building a community for Pagans and Witches implies that appropriate attitudes can be found in understanding how the landscape behaves and using that understanding as the basis for building. Since the community accepts the physical character of the Universe as real and important, it is that which we can experience in the world that should guide how we integrate ourselves into Nature. We too are part of nature, not outside of it, and so part of building is finding a balance between the willful act of changing the environment to support us and allowing the land to continue on with its own business of fertility, growth, decline and death. The narrative character of shared symbols and geometries also have a place in the making of the built environment, their purpose to tell a story, to provide specific associations with the beliefs of the community. Where the narrative character of the building is it's most important feature, such as in the Ritual Building, these will come into use directly. In general. however, it is what we learn from the landscape which will generate an appropriate building method.
Thesis (M. Arch.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Architecture, 1991.Includes bibliographical references (p. 81-82).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Architecture
Massachusetts Institute of Technology