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Journey in Architecture: Organizing Architectural episodes in creating "Shanta Rasa"

Part 2 Dissertation 2009
Gayani Lakshika Hewage
University of Moratuwa | Sri Lanka
Life is a journey; a flow of experiences where time to time one has to overcome variety of thresholds filters with emotions. These emotions; ‘Rasa’, are of nine ways, so called ‘Navarasa’. From this some are essentials to step forward & one such is the ‘Rasa’ of calmness; ‘Shanta Rasa’. It is the place where one meets his spirit & evokes the sense of serenity, which needs to overcome the monotony in demanding life. This is a quality strongly depicts in nature which can be taken to the physical setting to produce a meaningful built environment.

In early civilizations; the Architecture in true cultures, had a sense of deep inner nature of people. Therefore nature itself defined the boundaries & articulated their inner spaces as to grasp the innate natural qualities; & one such quality is ‘Shantiya’. But in the present context the built environment doesn’t flexible enough to address the nature outside & thus results merely an enclosure of contradicting spaces. Even though there are spaces generating this quality they are just trapped within & since the spatial progression were weakly addressed it results in diminishing of emotions. Therefore achieving a spiritual balance within these physical structures is far beyond our expectations & reaching ‘Shantiya’ has fallen to a crisis. Incidentally the study was aimed at highlighting the importance of ‘Shantiya’ & the contribution of architecture in achieving such, & was focused on some of the solutions for the crisis of how architecture can alter to evoke the sense of serenity.

Through the study only the space organization; the architectural episodes, & the way of articulating spaces in achieving ‘Shantiya’ were addressed. For this few local examples have examined in detail & the selection was done to represent different key reference points in the psychological map of our individuality.

The method initially concentrated on identification & evaluation of prevailing theories & information through a literature survey, to understand the issue in greater depth. In the second phase the field surveys was carried out for the selected case studies. By analyzing the findings, finally a set of guidelines was presented, which could be incorporated into designs in bringing ‘Shanta Rasa’ to a place.

Gayani Hewage

Gayani Lakshika Hewage

The central argument in the study is about experiencing ‘Shantha Rasa’, ‘Peace in Mind’ through the spatial journey in Architecture, by means of spatial episodes. The study summarizes that most important in our ‘Life Journey’ as experiencing ‘Rasa’, emotions and peace in mind as the most important emotion among other nine emotions in life journey as well as in ‘spatial journey’ in architecture.

Author has taken eastern philosophies as well as western philosophies to support the argument. Although the theme related with subjective matters, author has keenly developed the argument along with inspirational eastern thoughts, combining with scientifically developed western philosophies.

Philosophical thoughts of Heidegger, Pallasmaa, Norberg - Schulz, Ananda Coomaraswamy, Krishnamurti, Day, Bachelard has been taken to discuss that most important aspect in architecture as experiencing ‘Shantha Rasa’, the peace in mind which help to cure one’s soul to attain ultimate peace. Thus architecture is being created in order to achieve ‘Peace in Mind’, the ultimate happiness, above all the happiness in the world. According to the organization of architectural episodes, peace in mind is being experienced in different degrees and different ways along the spatial journey in architecture.

Case studies elaborate that whether it is a hotel, a house, a shrine, a holiday home or an office the beauty in architecture combined with experiencing ultimate peace the ‘Shantha Rasa’. The author has analyzed each case study to find design strategies, in achieving peace in mind in organization of architectural episodes. The whole study is a scientifically organized, coherent, discipline work expressed in poetic and emotional manner which is a difficult task in qualitative research works.

Wasana De Silva

Wasana De Silva
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