INSTITUTE OF DEEP THOUGHT

AN ACADEMY THAT BRINGS ATHEISTS & THEISTS TOGETHER THROUGH AN EXESTENTIAL & RATIONAL UNDERSTANDING OF THE NATURAL WORLD

ou est trieste?

TRIESTE OLD PORT

Trieste is a place where worlds meet. The city has flipped between nations somtimes Italy, other times Yugoslavia, other times lost between nations without a definative parent. Trieste’s urban realm is up for grabs without an inherent politics of its own, an existential space where political agendas can be projected onto often haunting squares and plazas

CHRISTIAN MINORITY RELIGIOUS GROUP ATHEIST / AGNOSTIC

The world is marching towards a new hegemony where the major leap of faith is to activelly disbelieve in that which those they call “the relgious” align themselves with. As this major new faith grows it branches in denominations, sheep follow leaders, money corrupts and extremists preach agressive intollerance of those they disagree with.

ATHEISM

THEISM

It is fashionable to wax apocalyptic about the threat to humanity posed by the AIDS virus, "mad cow" disease, and many others, but I think a case can be made that faith is one of the world's great evils, comparable to the smallpox virus but harder to eradicate.
- Richard Dawkins, The Humanist, Volume 57, Number 1

But the irony is that books like Richard Dawkins's God Delusion balkanise the world, because they polarise views. The God Delusion has caused very aggressive reactions from people who previously weren't aggressive. I try to talk about our responsibility as scientists, one of which is to indulge in dialogue with people who are not scientists.
- Robert Winston, The Guardian

“With religion you do know becuase its all written down in a book and its all got to be true. Now once you do know you’ve abandoned all curiosity in life.”
- Steve Jones, Biologist

"The opposite of faith is not doubt, it’s certainty."
- Anne Lamott

'Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touchpaper and set the universe going.'
- Stephen Hawking

“Belief in God is not about plugging a gap in explaining how one thing relates to another within the universe.”
- Arch Bishop Roawn Williams

Jaipur Observatory

These monuments are from Jaipur observatory. A medieval set of buildings and statues that allow incredibly precise tracking, studying and analysis of celestial bodies. They command an almost holy presance through their epic size yet are purely scientific tools.

THE INSTITUTE OF DEEP THOUGHT
My hope is to design an Institute of Deep thought that is a place of study, reflection, learning, debate and meditation drawing from a manifesto of rational observation of the natural world.
Combing the early scientific elemental understandings of the world of all early major world cultures we find a lot of overlap and 9 distinct elements of the natural environment. These are what early scientists used to access their rational understanding and I propose to return to elemental science through architecture to give the Institute form & hirachy.

THE RATIONAL WONDER OF NATURE
Science is unique in subjects in its ability to look at the world objectively. Unlike the chaos of politics, faith & morality Sciences does (or at least should) be a rational and objective understanding of the world. Many crude comparisons pit science against religion but of course this battle is false. Science is no more an Atheist than it is a buddist or Hassidic Jew.

The most common phrase used by scientists is “I Don’t Know”
I see an opportunity to use science to bring people of faith together. Those who are Theist or Atheist are all able to agree on scientific understandings of observed phenomena.

The natural world is incredible. Actually that’s a lie - its entirely credible and that is what makes it so wonderful. Whether we believe it was sculpted by some awesome creator being, nurtured by aliens, the result of chance or sneezed into existance we can all agree universal truths like that trees are beautiful or sunsets are awe inspiring.

“The more we know the more we don’t understand and the more amazing the universe seems”
This quote is the crux of my argument. That through a a rational analysis of natural phenomenon & the universe around us we are united through wonder at that which we don’t know and the splendor of what we find.

fire

sea

earth

tree

sky

aether

wind

water

infinity

ELEMENTS
Babylonian Greek Hinduism (Tattva) Buddhism (Mahābhūta) Japanese (Godai) Chinese (Wuxing)

The element of water is a powerful material. It effects its surounds through sound, temperature, humidity & smell as well as sight. A Cloister in an old monestry provides a calming route for meditation usually around a grass quad. By creating a water cloister the institue updates an existing architectural element of western hold spaces and embeds it within the rational understanding of nature manifesto.

CLOISTER

WATER

Using a gargoyle again references an existing historic element of theological architecture but now it’s function is about celebrating the sound of crashing water free from attached ideas.

wind

ing wind as shown by This means d courtards osed in all to guarantee

WIND
A set of ideas that didn’t make the final cut wer around wind. I was investigating man made devices that are acted upon by wind. from Theo Jannsen’s living wind animals [top right] to the giant wind hard [bottom left] these are just some devices that rely on the wind to turn from a static object to an exciting and often loud experience. In the end I chose to combine wind and tree to create courtyards in the libary.

There is no prevailing wind direction in Trieste as shown by these wind roses. This means the trees in my wind courtards will need to be exposed in all directions in order to guarantee catching the wind.

site plan

LIBRARY

LIBRARY

SECTION DD

SECTION CC

SECTION AA

Light & Shade sections. My intention was to draw simple sections that were suggestive of structure & arrangement while expressing the 9 courtyards as the vibrant hearts of the institute. I rendered light as yellows and organges with the shade as purples and blues. this evocative technique was really helpful in order to represent the courtyards as the life blood of the instutute’s architectural concept.

F

site plan

My art teacher said:

“when artists don’t know what to do they turn to the Golden Ratio to get them out of trouble”
Now that may be the case but my architectural strategy is based on a “rational understanding of nature”. The Golden ratio is just about as mathematicaly beautiful understanding of natural patterns as its possible to get. A geometary inherently tied to the fibonacci sequence it is the perfect tool to proportion the institue on a grid that keeps with the manifesto

A

A

E

B

B

E

C

C

D

D

The Ka’Ba is a phenomial building. Impossible to date the original its name translates at The Cube. The hoiliest of all places in Islam and certainaly a hold building long before Mohammed, possibly dating back as far as the second century AD. The Ka’Ba architecturally is little more than a stereotomic block box built from cut granite stones but once covered in its silk and gold veil it commands a powerful gravitas making it a global icon

To me the Ka’Ba is facinating because although ancient it somehow is deeply modern. Its cool expression of tectonic and stereotomic construction would not be out of place in a swiss box

screens

Arabic screens are beautiful and practical expressions of geometary evolved from a cultural preference for abstract mathematical patterns over literal representations of the world.They also controll light while creating beautiful shadows My pitch is to fuse the gravitas of The Ka’Ba’s silk shrowd with the rational arrangement of arabic screens. Laser cut timber pannels held away from the facade of the instutute will capture inbetween spaces particually around the overnight accomidation and herb garden while from a distant muting those parts of the building. The big twist comes when instead of useing arabic circles, squares and hexagons I will use the golden ratio to link the screens to the proportioning principles of the institute’s layout and create a rational yet beautiful shadow play. As with the interior courtyards these screens pick up a architectural experience assosiated with a theology and re-interprit it in connection to a rational understanding of nature.

DANTEUM
giuseppe terragni

The Daneum was a proposed building in Rome for the dictator Franco to be a momument to and an institute for the study of the poet Dante and in particular his epic poem “The Divine Comedy”. Dante was celebrated by the regeime as the poet of rational facism. The building follows the narative of the Divine comedy from the 3 stages of the Afterlife, Purgito, Inferno and Paradisio. It’s layout is rigerously informed by the Golden Ratio which Terragni saw as an expression of the obsoloute moral code that facism promises.

francisco franco 1892-1975

Genderal Franco was a military dictator in spain from the second world war untill his death in 1975. Franco developed a reputation as a cruel and vindictive military leader. It is estimated that an estimated 200,000 political prisoners died as a result of starvation, overwork and executions. The persecution of political opponents continued until 1944 when a number of amnesties and pardons were granted. Franco joined the Anti-Comintern Pact on 7th April 1938 but declared the neutrality of Spain on the outbreak of the Second World War. Adolf Hitler tried hard to get Franco to change his mind. In their negotiations Franco demanded that in any postwar settlement he wanted control of Gibraltar, French Morocco, a portion of Algeria including Oran, and parts of Africa. Franco’s regime widely recognised as facist and comissioned the Danteum as a monument to Dante, concidered as the facist poet of choice.

The plan of the Danteum is a literaral expression of the golden ratio however it is not perfect. Note the missing colum in The Paradisio. Terenghi, Like Corbusier was not afraid to bend rules of geometary to create his art.

The Danteum was never built the the facist regime it celebrated orchestrated horendous autrocities but removed from the political context the plan and sequence of the Danteum are inspiring precidents for the lliteral representation of the golden ratio through architectural devices.

Perspective view of the Danteum with Feize wall removed.

EAST

A key lesson I learnt from the Danteum was that it is OK to deal with references in an upfront manner. The Danteum’s front is a huge wall with a frieze depicting the Divine Comdey as an abundantly clear signpost indicating the nature of teh building and the architectural metaphores within. In a similar way I am using a angled wall to mediate the change of grid between the street front and the Institute of Deep thought. This “frieze” is a single wall with an openening but hung off it is a laser cut screen like those that are used as shading devices elsewhere. Here the screen acts as as graphic signal of the manifesto of the buliding. In Your Face but apropriate.

THE DRY GARDEN AN EXISTENTIAL SPACE THAT ACTIVITY, MEANING AND SIGNIFICANCE IS PROJECTED ONTO

SECTION FF

F

F

perspective plan courtyards

(1)

(2)

MODELING

MODELING

MODELING

MODELING

MODELING

PHIN HARPER Phin Harper 2011 2011

PhinHarper.com

PhinHarper.com

+44 7985470579
phin@phinharper.com
@PhinHarper

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