"This is just simply asking, again, as if we had arrived for the first time, what is the relationship of the human project to time and space?"
~ Antony Gormley
“I have, in my place, books about English history. I like the bloodiness of it. I have one set of eight volumes. I read only the first volume, and of that only the first chapter, in which each time I see something else. But really, I am interested only in reading Volume Zero, which has not been written... History could not have started in the places they speak of. History preceded this; it just is not recorded. The beauty of architecture is that it deals with the recessions of the mind, from which comes that which is not yet said and not yet made.
Of all things, I honor beginnings. I believe, though, that what was has always been, and what is has always been, and what will be has always been. I do not think the circumstantial play from year to year, from era to era, has anything to do with what is available to you. The person of old had the same brilliance of mind that we assume we have now. But that which made a thing become manifest for the first time is our great moment of creative happening.”
“Making architecture is like writing a novel; making a work of art is like a poem.”
|“Groundswell,” 1993. Forty-three tons of recycled, shattered automobile safety glass. Wexner Center for the Arts, Ohio State University, Columbus|
"The Wave Field," 1995. Shaped earth; 100 x 100 feet. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan
|“Blue Lake Pass,” 2006, Duraflake particleboard, 20 blocks, 36 x 36 in. each (68 x 210 x 269 in. overall)|
“Storm King Wavefield,” 2008. Earth and grass; 240,000 square feet (11-acre site)
|Video still from Maya Lin’s tribute to vanishing species titled What is Missing?|
Architects have long intuited that the places we inhabit can affect our thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Now behavioral scientists are giving their hunches an empirical basis.
Scientists are unearthing tantalizing clues about how to design spaces that promote creativity, keep students focused and alert, and lead to relaxation and social intimacy. The results inform architectural and design decisions such as the height of ceilings, the view from windows, the shape of furniture, and the type and intensity of lighting.
Such efforts are leading to cutting-edge projects such as residences for seniors with dementia in which the building itself is part of the treatment.
First there are the utopias. Utopias are sites with no real place. They are sites that have a general relation of direct or inverted analogy with the real space of Society. They present society itself in a perfected form, or else society turned upside down, but in any case these utopias are fundamentally unreal spaces.
There are also, probably in every culture, in every civilization, real places—places that do exist and that are formed in the very founding of society—which are something like counter-sites, a kind of effectively enacted utopia in which the real sites, all the other real sites that can be found within the culture, are simultaneously represented, contested, and inverted. Places of this kind are outside of all places, even though it may be possible to indicate their location in reality. Because these places are absolutely different from all the sites that they reflect and speak about, I shall call them, by way of contrast to utopias, heterotopias.
I believe that between utopias and these quite other sites, these heterotopias, there might be a sort of mixed, joint experience, which would be the mirror. The mirror is, after all, a utopia, since it is a placeless place. In the mirror, I see myself there where I am not, in an unreal, virtual space that opens up behind the surface; I am over there, there where I am not, a sort of shadow that gives my own visibility to myself, that enables me to see myself there where I am absent: such is the utopia of the mirror.
But it is also a heterotopia in so far as the mirror does exist in reality, where it exerts a sort of counteraction on the position that I occupy. From the standpoint of the mirror I discover my absence from the place where I am since I see myself over there. Starting from this gaze that is, as it were, directed toward me, from the ground of this virtual space that is on the other side of the glass, I come back toward myself; I begin again to direct my eyes toward myself and to reconstitute myself there where I am. The mirror functions as a heterotopia in this respect: it makes this place that I occupy at the moment when I look at myself in the glass at once absolutely real, connected with all the space that surrounds it, and absolutely unreal, since in order to be perceived it has to pass through this virtual point which is over there.