Tuesday, May 6, 2014

1: Comparative Mysticism: The Experience of Domes at their Nexus

As an ENDS major who is looking to become a practicing architect, there are a variety of situations where I can envision myself attempting to imbue an open space with character. Experiencing a space takes on another character entirely when one attempts to intertwine the spiritual and the sacred with architecture, and the dome architecture of the B/R era is uniquely potent in that its mystical experience (your words, Caffey. I like them, but they are yours) may be replicable without direct religious imagery in secular architecture.

The Church of The Holy Shroud, Turin 

`Here we notice the feeling of separation between the viewer and the heavenly light allegory above created by the concentric rings of hexagonal levels, from which there is a contrast of light and shadow. Because of the smooth transition between the coffered ceiling, which is not of a standard shape, and this ovoid void, a sense of a literal connection pervades, as if the artifact is not of this world.

Santa Chiara, Bra

Here we notice an association of a less metaphysical sense. One feels compelled in fact to allow one-self to daydream within the space, imposing your own abstractions that remove you from the earthly plane and place you squarely in a position to imagine yourself in relationship to the heavenly sphere. But on a more concrete level, it is the surreal bending of the space that happens within the architecture that is instrumental to that effect, not the oculus, not the window. But the ribbons. The primary lines within the space play with the eye.

The two domes share some things that are simple and reproducible: They utilize primary lines that accentuate shapes within the space that are inherently not at home within architecture and as such guide us into examining the subtle imagery of the space. Their sacred geometry focuses on a singular point within the intended space and from there the lines unfold.

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