Date of Award
Master of Architecture (MArch)
My thesis asks how can architecture create spatial experiences that hold us in the present moment? I investigated how good stories that follow a structure of constriction and release as defined by Christopher Booker, and that exists in the Japanese culture that engage the imagination and senses to allow us to return to the present moment. In addition, I looked at other forms of “constriction” such as paper and thread making, and the Buddhist philosophy of menmitsu that emphasized a slow process and being present.
Since the industrial revolution our lives have gotten increasingly more efficient. Because of this time becomes a precious commodity so we emphasize immediacy at all costs. And if something is slow, we find ways to speed it up. However, this comes at a cost. MIT professor, clinical psychologist and sociologist, Sherry Turkle, argues that this rapid pace of life is distracting us from being in the present moment and changing who we are—not what we do. Our mental lists that loop constantly in our minds prevents us from being here, instead we are everywhere else.
I tested the results of my investigation on a site in Honolulu, Hawaii. Borrowing from the Japanese culture and ritual, I believe we can design spatial conditions based on the experiences of the tea ceremony or zen garden that unfold over time and space. By constricting or concealing certain things, we can provide an opportunity where the imagination is invoked to wonder and be curious. In this age of immediacy and instantaneous access to everything, a strategy of constriction and concealment can counter our fast culture and slow us down enough to savor in this one moment.
Motonaga, Ann, "The present" (2018). Masters Theses. 317.
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