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CONCERNING THE SPIRITUAL IN ARCHITECTURE


A purposely placed element, adapting to an existing structure, creating an opportunity for inspiring connections between the spirituality of the past through the architecture of the present.

| Shilpa Sara John


ID No. JOH11228751 INT 9003M MA Interior Architecture and Design University of Lincoln

ONTENTS

Introduction .........................................................................................................................3 Site .......................................................................................................................................4


Historical and Functional factors .....................................................................................................................4 Form and Structure ...............................................................................................................................................5 Content and Environment ...................................................................................................................................5 Proposed function .................................................................................................................................................5

Research..............................................................................................................................6
Intervention - Castevecchio Museum, Verona, Italy ..................................................................................6 Insertion - Sackler Galleries, Royal Academy, London ...........................................................................7 Installation - Galerie de l Evolution, Paris ..................................................................................................7 Object - St. Jerome in his study, Antonella da Messina, 1450-55 .....................................................8

Strategy ..............................................................................................................................9 Conclusion ........................................................................................................................ 10 Bibliography ................................................................................................................... 10

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NTRODUCTION
Every work of art is the child of its age and, in many cases, the mother of our emotions. Wassily Kandinsky

Buildings outlast civilizations, they evolve and they are changed, but their reuse emphasizes continuity. A building can retain a remembrance of the former function and value; it has a memory of its previous purpose engrained within its very structure. The exploitation and development of this can create a composite of meaning and consequence. The inherent qualities of the place and its surroundings, combined with the anticipation of the future use, produce a multi layered complexity impossible to replicate in a new building. Throughout history, buildings have been adapted for new uses; the Roman Arena in Nimes, France (Fig. 1) became a small fortified town in the middle Ages; the inhabitants resided within FIGURE 1 the massive arches of the structure and built houses in the open performance space. The Baths of Diocletian in Rome (Fig. 2) were converted into a church by Michelangelo and the Great Mosque in Cordova (Fig. 3) was remodeled by inserting a new church directly into the middle of its structure. (Brooker & Stone, 2004) The reshaping of a building and its contents poses difficult questions of how to re- address the meaning and the value of the existing built fabric. The relationship between the existing and a new remodeling is dependent upon the cultural values attributed to an existing building. For this matter, I have taken into concern its spiritual past, and integrated it with my design. Philosophical history teaches us that religion was the cradle of art. I believe, art and religion have shared a particular mutual aid between them, neither a contradictory one, nor an identical one, but a kinship. Throughout history, art and religion, together, have raised in us an FIGURE 2 awakening to strive towards an ideal world. Both religion and art strive to express an idea not in an abstract form, but in a concrete visual expression. Art, under the influence of an artistic work or beauty of nature, creates a vague impulse in our soul to a higher world. In religion, as in art, a pure idea is dressed in its corresponding cover of an image. Art arouses all the spiritual-bodily feelings of a person and his spiritual contemplation of his idea. With this report and project, I have tried to address this bond between art and spirituality and to create an opportunity for inspiring connections between our spirituality within and art around us.

FIGURE 3

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ITE
At every instant, there is more than the eye can see, more than the ear can hear a setting or a view waiting to be explored. Nothing is experienced by itself, but always in relation to its surroundings, the sequence of events leading up to it, the memory of past experiences. Kevin Lynch

It is very essential to understand the setting or context in which an interior exists and its genius loci, the spirit of the place and its physical, visual, aural and prevailing character. It is not only the study of the environment and ambience of the place but how the particular characteristics of a specific situation can influence the redesign of an existing space, and the manner in which these defining qualities can be examined and exploited (Brooker & Stone, 2008) . Without an in-depth understanding of the unique qualities of the chapel, it is impossible to create a coherent and comfortable remodeling. The analysis is divided into four sections; The Historical and Functional factors The Form and Structure The Content and Environment Proposed Function

HISTORICAL AND FUNCTIONAL FACTORS


The Chad Varah House is named after Chad Varah, founder of the Samaritans who studied here when it was a Theological College. The terracing is reputedly part of the Roman terracing, there were two medieval churches on this site at once. It started life as the County Hospital by John Carr in 1776 until superseded by the new County Hospital in 1878 and was known as the Bishop's Hostel until renamed in the late 20th century. It is now part of the University of Lincoln Cathedral campus, home to Conservation & Restoration and History of Art & Design (Croft, 2006). The chapel is presently being used by the Church of England Theological College and also holds masses on Sundays. The adjoining part functions as an office to the college presently. The entrance to the chapel is through the main building.

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FORM AND STRUCTURE


The chapel seems to display Decorated Gothic style which is characterized by its window tracery including trefoils and quatrefoils, tall slender columns and richly colored stain glass windows. The structure is load bearing, with a pitched roof. The structure is almost divided into four equal bays. The material used is stone.

CONTENT AND ENVIRONMENT


The chapel carries an aura of the spirituality of its earlier times, with the atmosphere created the diffused light through its large stained glass windows, high arched ceiling and confession boxes. The chapel continues to maintain its sanctity, being used by the Theological College, with shelves lined with books, podium, seating and working organ. The quality of light and sound in the chapel is note-worthy and renders to the space a discernable feel.

PROPOSED FUNCTION
For this project, the chapel needs to be remodeled into an Artists pad, a place where a visiting faculty to the University of Lincoln would live, work and impart knowledge for a period of 3-6 months. The space needs to have to have a proactive nature, changing continuously to suit the needs that are posed on it. It requires having a living space, which includes a living, kitchen, dining, bedroom and bath; and a work space which would require an artists studio, teaching spaces, exhibition spaces etc. A flow between these spaces is crucial as they should be able to function as one.

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ESEARCH
The relationships in art are not necessarily ones of outward form, but are founded on inner sympathy of meaning. Wassily Kandinsky

In my research, I have focused on understanding the affinity between the old and new work and the extent of integration between the two. I have studied them in three categories; INTERVENTION; when the old work accepts and establishes an intimate relationship with the new design. INSERTION; when the host allows and accommodates new elements and yet remains unchanged. INSTALLATION; When the old and new exist together, but there is very little rapport between them. (Brooker & Stone, 2004)

INTERVENTION CASTEVECCHIO MUSEUM, VERONA, ITALY


More than a theory of restoration, he (Scarpa) was interested in historic clarity, so that history might become recognizable through the orderly existence of the various fragments. - Sergio Los

In the Castelvecchio Museum, Carlo Scarpa has shown that objects need not be displayed in an obvious way, but can adopt a more fluid and sensitive approach to create spaces of great character. Within the Museum, object and movement are inseparable, one reinforcing the other. The objects punctuate the way, carefully positioned to take advantage of not only the natural light, but the shadow as well, therefore creating a dramatic atmosphere (Brooker & Stone, 2010). Scarpa uses a technique or reinforcing the old and new work to create balance between the two. For example, a light well throws filtered natural light into the new gallery, reinforcing the sense of movement from the old into the new. Though the old and new works are different in shape and nature, their classical and modernist parts are equally strong (Brooker & Stone, 2007). Intervention has been used to unlock and expose the accumulated history of the building. It added a new layer of small beautifully composed additions which was completely appropriate to the original building. The opulence of Scarpas work is born from his careful reading and understanding of the original building. A visitor is not only made aware of the exhibits but also of the life, history and growth of the space it inhabits (Brooker & Stone, 2004).

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INSERTION SACKLER GALLERIES, ROYAL ACADEMY, LONDON


Foster describes the project of the Sackler Galleries as a deliberate interpretation of how you relate the old to the new and get something richer and more dynamic out of the both. The Sackler Gallery insertion changed a previously unused space of Diploma galleries and light well into a functioning gallery. The earlier facades were cleaned and repaired and provide the backdrop for the ascent to the galleries. The strength of this backdrop is counterpointed by the new addition. Though the element is independent, it gains strength and magnitude when compared to the host, communicating in a language of a very different time yet of a similar magnitude. This project was quite unusual for Foster Associates as it lacked the usual bravado and obsession with an overtly engineered solution; instead it modestly and sympathetically handled the relationship between the existing building and the intervention. Foster created a vertical access to connect an enclosed balcony at the top to the ground floor. The stairs and lift rise inexplicably towards the light from either end of the well supported on just four round section white columns that barely touch the original building. Insertion, the technique used in the Sackler galleries, can be used to reinvigorate a place through the placement of a powerful element within an existing element, to create an exciting dialogue between itself and its context. If the host space is strong and of great integrity, then the two can co-exist. (Brooker & Stone, 2004)

INSTALLATION GALERIE DE L EVOLUTION, PARIS


The Galerie de levolution is a work that reveals the striking qualities of the original building, allowing it to be understood as the architect, Jules Andre intended, and at the same time, it serves as a dramatic backdrop for an awe-inspiring exhibition. The galleries were remodeled to display the museums collection of taxidermy and form the key ideal behind this installation. The theory of evolution is embodied in the character, selection, grouping and positioning of the

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objects such that the animals appear to be marching through the gallery to take their correct position in the evolutionary tree. Andre has used levels, lighting and movement to describe various transitions and narrate the story of evolution, such as from water to dry land, extinction of animals and such. For example, extinct or nearly extinct animals are displayed in an almost dark room lit by a single spotlight illustrating its fading chance of survival. The relationship between the old building and the new use is closely entwined. Though the previous function is not entirely different from the new one, the installation generates a powerful dialogue between the qualities of the original and the character of the new. (Brooker & Stone, 2004)

OBJECT ST. JEROME IN HIS STUDY, ANTONELLA DA MESSINA, 1450-55


St. Jerome in his study is one of the earliest paintings of Antonella da Messina, who is credited to introducing Venetians to the technique of painting in oil. The painting depicts St. Jerome reading quietly at an extraordinary desk in a monastic library. They are lit from the left and the same light throws a shadow from the arched frame far into the depth of the picture. The study, seems to be a piece of furniture, made of timber with a raised platform and part of a larger element, and contains all that an academic monk would require. It seems to derive a lot of elements from the space it inhabits and exhibits harmony in terms of scale and proportion to fit into the space and function. Though St. Jerome is represented relatively small in the painting, the artist has used the technique of framing, several times to highlight the saint as the focus. Firstly the frame of the painting, then the painted stone arch, next by the terracotta tiled floor and lastly by the study (Brooker and Stone, 2004).

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TRATEGY
Any intervention has to be designed and thought out in a new way. You cant say: Im modern- Im going to use metal and plate glass. Timber might be more suitable, or something more modest. How can one make certain statements if one isnt educated, educated to histories? (CO & MAZZARIOL, 1986).

There is always an intimate relationship between the existing building and the new interior, whether it is elements of an old and decaying structure or the drawn parameters of a building proposal. The connection could encompass many historical, contextual and structural factors, all of which can influence the quality of the space (Brooker & Stone, 2010). I have taken the nature of the existing building, the chapel not only as the starting point but also to have an impact on the remodeling in a way that the artist who occupies the remodeled building feels that it is theirs, their functional requirements being met, and yet that the past has not been obliterated but incorporated and embraced as part of the pattern of the present. The controlling device, or the strategy, that drives the design of the chapel, based on my research, is that similar to Scarpas interpretation of the Castelvecchio, Intervention, where the original building wholeheartedly accepts and establishes an intimate relationship with the new building, that is, the two become one. This has been supplemented by a combination of different factors, such as site conditions, structural systems, programmatic requirements and my pursuit of the design. Furthermore, the following tactics, though small in relation to a larger whole, have been used to give the building its character; OBJECT, A precisely placed object has been used, to manipulate space, movement, visual direction and illustrate divinity. LIGHT, Natural and artificial light have been used to illuminate, accentuate and change the perception of objects and also to preserve the atmosphere of sanctity. SURFACE, Materials that works complementarily with the existing, if not the existing itself, such that the old and the new coalesce as one. MOVE MENT, Movement through the building is such that one space flows into another, creating fluidity in the space and facilitating multi-purpose use.
(Brooker & Stone, 2004)

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ONCLUSION
Art is not vague production, transitory and isolated, but a power which must be directed to the improvement and refinement of the human soulto, in fact, the raising of the spiritual triangle. (KANDINSKY, 1911)

As I quote Kandinsky, The work of art is born of the artist in a mysterious and secret way. From him it gains life and being. Nor is its existence casual and inconsequent, but it has a definite and purposeful strength, alike in its material and spiritual life. It exists and has power to create spiritual atmosphere; and from this inner standpoint one judges whether it is a good work of art or a bad one. (Kandinsky, 1911), I believe this work has the potential to create a spiritual atmosphere and to raise our inner spiritual triangle because of its ability to unite with the spirituality of the old. My study is not based upon the proposed or consequential function of a remodeled building but to establish a satisfactory symbiotic association between the new and the old, to comprehend the factors influencing the existing and to establish a particular approach and why it has been chosen. This process can be broken down into a number of different stages, although in practice, the separate factors inevitably merge. As the act of designing is not a smooth procession of independent considerations, I shall consider this report as the precedent, in terms of investigative research, towards my design.

IBLIOGRAPHY
Brooker, G., & Stone, S. (2008). Context + Environment. Lausanne: AVA Publishing SA. Brooker, G., & Stone, S. (2010). Elements/Objects. Lausanne: AVA Publishing SA. Brooker, G., & Stone, S. (2007). Form+Structure. Lausanne: AVA Publishing SA.

Brooker, G., & Stone, S. (2004). Rereadings. London: RIBA Enterprises. Co, F. D., & Mazzariol, G. (1986). Carlo Scarpa. London: Architectural Press. Croft, R. (2006). Chad Varah House. Retrieved December 9, 2011, from geograph.co.uk: http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/126505 Gavin, F. (2007, May 30). How Art replaced Religion. Retrieved December 11, 2011, from guardian.co.uk: http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/artblog/2007/may/30/howartreplacedreligion Kandinsky, W. (1911). Concerning the Spiritual in Art, translated with an introduction by M.T.H. Sandler. New York: Dover Publications Inc.

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