a sustainability of meaning: constructing ‘silence and light’ in the fourfold

This study interrogates the questions of meaning and being in architecture, through the observation and translation of the Christian Monastic life (the ‘vita consecrata’ or consecrated life of monks/nuns observing the Catholic faith) into spatial and tectonic knowledge. The questions it raises intersect and collide in tension: that of sacred and temporal, physical and metaphysical, tradition and innovation, permanence and transience, the real and ethereal.

The research trail indicates that, collectively, these questions are that of the nature of reality. The current perception of the nature of reality is being put into question. In a zeitgeist beset with sustaining the physical and natural world, the project asks: ‘What about the metaphysical? What about death, meaning, and a beyond?’ These questions are asked by religion, and are incarnated by those who embody and spatialize the ‘vita consecrata.’ It is also a question that has been asked or interpreted by architects and theorists like Christian Norberg Schulz, Kevin Lynch, or philosophers like Martin Heidegger. It is the question of existential space: that the world, and man’s existence in it, is not limited to the physical, temporal, or quantifiable. But that existence is, at its essence, when all aspects of reality intersect.

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garryn stephens