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Thesis Brainstorming December 13, 2006

Filed under: Art & Design — suzanne turner @ 3:38 am

So as I promised you and myself, here are some thoughts on my thesis project. It will help me keep track of the evolution of my ideas. At this point, feel free to abandon all hope and read somthing else. 🙂

I am just finishing up the first of three parts of my thesis work, which was basically 11 weeks of research and concept development. The second quarter will be devoted to actually designing the project, and the third will be just for preparing the presentation.

I was able to pick any topic I wanted, and I chose something that continues to intrigue me. I love things that are theoretical and conceptual, so doing the research and writing this quarter called for was no problem. I chose to explore the idea of a spiritual space which is non-religious in nature. I have always wanted a place to go to where I could meditate and commune with the earth- this has always meant being out in nature to me. But when I went to church, or up to the monastery, I liked the feeling and energy of being with other people who were seeking the same spiritual enlightenment as well. I sometimes miss the support and conversations that come from being with other people. In my project, I am toying with joining a lot of concepts that normally exist separately. Agnosticism and spirituality –  modern and ancient themes –  indoor & outdoor space – personal and social experiences… There are more, but that is the idea- to think about things that aren’t normally attemped.

The concept is a building which I have sited in Cuyamaca, which is a beautiful place to camp and hike, up near Julian. I chose this site because it is out of the way and very quiet. It is about 10,000 square feet because I want it to feel very open and monumental, ancient in inspiration. It will be conctrete with open windows and skylights, with seating of sculpted earth and grassy areas.  The outer portions will be social meditation and just open space to explore. These will lead into rooms where you can meditate alone or with others. And in the inner portion will be a core space which is kind of a surprise to the visitor at this point. It is a space where light and sound create the main experience. I am designing an interface for this inner “vault” which will basically be comprised of LED lights connected to touch and sound sensitive sensors. These light panels will cover the walls, and possibly the seating which will be shaped like an amphitheater of stairs. I want the interaction between the peoples’ voices, movements, and any other sounds or music created to be visually represented. This will symbolically express the energies which are constantly being exchanged on a molecular level all around us all the time. If you think about all things as mere mass composed of the same elements arranged in different ways, it seems we are all undeniably the same. And it seems that we are then “recycled” if you will, when we die. Whether you look at it in the way that God created those elements, or they just exist, it matters not. I am looking at the most fundamental connections we all share in order to find common ground on a human level. I like the ideas of Buddhism on this subject, and considered with the idea of making it a Buddhist or Zen temple, but then I decided, why limit it at all? Who’s to say what is right?

It is somewhat a Landscape Architecture/Architecture thesis, so I guess that’s where my heart is. I convinced the Interior Design department that there will be enough in the “vault” area to specify that it will have a sufficient amount of Interior Design. Although I resent the fact that interior space has to be defended when it does not include fabric and frou frou. I am not and do not want to ever be a “decorator.” I shudder at the thought. I wanted to be an architect, or an industrial designer, and that hope is still alive, so that is why I pushed to have it this way.

Anyway, this is long enough. You get the idea. Maybe… 🙂 Its kinda weird, I know. More to follow.

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