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Reading #3

Discussion questions/keywords/summary from/of:

"Genius Loci" by Christian Norberg-Shultz

Discussion Questions:

1.) In the text, the author is quoted saying, "We have pointed out that
different actions demand places with a different character. A dwelling has
to be 'protective', an office 'practical', a ball-room 'festive'.." Is this
always true? What would it mean to defy this point?

2.)The author is also quoted saying that character is "a more general and
concrete concept" than space. Shouldn't the opposite be true? I always
thought that the character of a place was determined by the discretion of
the viewer, while space is a more set area of different sizes (large
outdoor space, closet space, etc.).


Key words:

1.) Phenomenology - As used in the text, it is a sort of study of our "life
world," a "return to things." It can combine aspects of ontology,
psychology, ethics, aesthetics, and architecture.

2.)Genius Loci - Genius Loci is the spirit of a place. It is the "sense"
you get of a place from it's culture and character.


Summary:

This excerpt discusses the phenomenon and structure of a place. Character
is described in great depth as an aspect of all places. It is a result
of the place's material and formal construction. Places can change with
time and the structure of a place is ultimately not fixed. However, the
"genius loci," or spirit of a place, can resist change and live on. It is
valuable for a person to experience different places and feel different
spirits and characters. However, we cannot be "free" from dwelling and
calling one place home. All people have some sort of orientation toward a
particular environment and identify with it. When they are away, they feel
uneasy and lost. Inevitably, it is a part of them and they are a part of it.