Sunday, October 09, 2005

awakening space

Thomas offers these words from architect Christopher Alexander's Book One, The Nature of Order:
In this sense, what is going on is that life--an emergent thing in space itself--appears as the space wakes up. When something works, or is "functional," its space is awakened to a very high degree. It becomes alive. The space itself becomes alive.
We do not have function on the one hand, and space or geometry on the other hand. We have a single thing--living space--which has its life to varying degrees. It is the space which comes to life. All that we do. . . is then to arrange and rearrange this living space, in such a way as to intensify its life.
which resonates with the Taoist view that the land, and all space, is full of living energy. The specific forms and arrangement of a place--the way that the mountains cradle a valley, the shapes of the hills and exposure to wind, the patterns of streams and rivers--determine whether the energy there is harsh and rough or pooled and stagnant or harmoniously flowing. So, too, we can site ourselves, arrange ourselves within and in relationship to space, and in relationship to the living that's going on in that space, "in such a way as to intensify its life."