Unfolding the City

Bubbles of Understanding

Posted in Architecture, Theory by Chris on Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

Jean Nouvel's L'Institut du Monde ArabeWhen we enter a new place, whether in life, physicality, or emotion, a new mental space is entered. This space is implanted within physical space by the mind as a way to comprehend and ultimately understand its surroundings. Arriving in Paris has helped me see things this way. One night the people I came to Paris with and I were standing on our balcony talking, and I realized that, by speaking in a “foriegn” language, we were isolating ourselves from the Parisians outside. If we can isolate ourselves with language, we do not exist in the same place as those around us. I am beginning to assimilate into the Parisian culture, and as I do so, I will move towards a closer understanding of reality. It is the goal of the architect to understand this reality. This reality might be even closer to the conception Parisians have of their city, simply because we in the program will know how two large cultures react in a city space. Knowing the culture that built a place is important, but architects must also know the common denominator of humanity.

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