"The experience of home is structure by distinct activities - cooking, eating, socializing, reading, storing, sleeping, intimate acts - not by visual elements. A building is encountered; it is approached, confronted, related to one’s body, moved through, utilized as a condition for other things. Architecture initiates, directs and organizes behavior and movement. A building is not an end in itself; it frames, articulates, structures, gives significance, relates, seperates and unites, facilitates and prohibits."

Juhani Pallasmaa, The Eyes of the Skin, 63.
@2 years ago with 2 notes
#Architecture #home #inspiration #Juhani Pallasmaa 

"I never saw this strange dwelling again. Indeed as I see it now, the way it appeared to my child’s eye, it is not a building, but it is quite dissolved and distributed inside me: here one room, there another, and here a bit of corridor which however, does not connect the two rooms, but is conserved in me in fragmentary form. Thus, the whole thing is scattered about inside me, the rooms, the stairs that descended with such ceremonious slowness, others narrow cages that haunted in a spiral movement, in the darkness of which we advanced like the blood in our veins."

Rainer Maria Rilke in Bachelard, Poetics of Space, 57.
@2 years ago with 1 note
#Rainer Maria Rilke #bachelard #childhood #home #identity #memory #stairs #readings #quotes 

Spiral Stair Model Construction at 1:25. Jan.- Feb. 2012. 

© 2012 Claudia Barra De Vincenzo

@2 years ago
#Artefacting #home #stairs 

The Psychology of Home 

a home isn’t just where you are, it’s who you are.”

@2 years ago with 38 notes
#psychology #home #place #childhood 

"No Man is an Island"

The infant brain is changeable and plastic.  Sensory stimulation produces the very connectedness and function that in turn make normal consciousness possible.  For this reason, sensory deprivation may produce permanent damage.  Hubel and Wiesel showed this by rearing cats in the dark; what they demonstrated was that cats deprived of sight during a critical period in infancy would never be able to see.  The neonatal mammal, we learn, is plastic and open; in a very real sense the environment itself produces in us the conditions needed to experience the environment. They also showed that there are limits to the brain’s plasticity.  

Of special importance to the child’s neurological development is its relationship to other people.  Consider a question explored by Bruce Wexler in an excellent recent book on this topic: Why do mammals suckle at the breast?  To get food, to be sure, but also to get touch - that is, to get the stimulation that is itself necessary sustenance for the developing brain.  […]

Mothers or other primary caretakers do not merely take care of their young.  A two-way exchange arises between child and mother that provides the setting within which the child develops both physiologically and psychologically.  A child learns to restore its own calm or comfort by being calmed or comforted by the mother. The child’s basic physiological processes - burping, for example - are facilitated for the baby by the mother.  The caretaker manipulates the child’s posture, raising her into a sitting position, now setting her down in a prone position, either to arouse the child or prepare her for sleep.  …The mother’s attentiveness to the needs of the child teaches the child to learn to manage her own needs.  In a very real sense, the baby-caretaker “dyad” is a unity from which the child only gradually emerges as an individual.  We can speak of attachment here, but I prefer to speak of oneness.  Our seperation from our mother-figure is, in some respects - for most of us, anyway - only partial; in any event, there is for us no such thing as complete detachment from the community of others and from the larger environmental structures and situations - lights, sounds, odors, the ground, the air, technology - up against which we first become ourselves.  

Maturation is not so much a process of self-individuation and detachment as it is one of growing comfortably into one’s environmental situation. We grow apart, but we attach to the world without.  We integrate.  In learning to walk or mastering language, in developing friendships, in acquiring an occupation, in learning to navigate and use technology, we root ourselves in the practical environment.  This is one reason, certainly, why radical changes to one’s environment, especially occurring later in one’s life - for example, in the course of migrating from one country to another, upon the loss of a spouse, during a period of rapid technological change - are enormous, maybe even devastating personal challenges.  The loss of a feature of the environment with which one’s daily activities are intimately interwoven is the loss of a part of oneself. 

The point is no that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks: sometimes you can.  The point really is that to do so, you need to make the dog new again. Someone once told me that it’s good to change jobs every seven years or so.  It keeps you young.  One explanation for this might be that changes force you to renew yourself by developing anew in relation to new external structures, new habits, new modes of involvement with the world around you. Another effect of this kind of disruption is that time, in an interesting, felt way, slows down.  When life is routinized, days and weeks and months blend into one another: each day is like the next; days form an arc as one’s life project unfolds. But when routine is disrupted - when you move, or even when you travel - days acquire a distinct specialness.

We see something like this very dynamic in the development of a young person.  A summer can seem like a magical eternity to a child.  Think of the play and sweat and swimming and books and people and shopping and long evenings!  But getting older requires one to channel one’s day into a structure of meaning, into a plan; under the shadow cast by one’s projects, life acquires an organization that in a way removes surprise.  To grow old is to give up surprises; to insists on surprises, is in a way, to stay young.  This may be one reason why we have kids.  

Noë, Alva.  Out of our Heads: Why You Are Not Your Brain, and Other Lessons from the Biology of Consciousness. New York: Hill and Wang, 2009. 49-52.

@3 years ago with 23 notes
#childhood #psychology #readings 

"The objects which surround my body reflect its possible action upon them."

Henri Bergson, in The Eyes of the Skin, 63.
@2 years ago
#Architecture #inspiration #memory #quotes #Bergson 

Spiral Stair Collages. Feb. 2012.

© 2012. Claudia Barra De Vincenzo

When trying to design from the point of view of what makes the attachment to a home so personal, one is faced with the divergence between the physical reality of the home and the impression one is left with from the childhood experience of it.

When remembering the home, from an adult perspective, that place is no longer a coherent whole but a sequence of places, fragmented and remembered by the experiences and the emotions that were once associated with them.

It is through the body’s engagement (physically and emotionally) with spaces that they acquire meaning and it is through that engagement that those spaces become constitutive of one`s identity.   


I have been studying the spiral stair to see its potential to draw on children’s imaginations and look at how it allows for the child’s engagement through daydreaming and playing as a result of the threshold conditions it produces. 

(1)  Though the spiral itself is constant and finite, the experience of walking on it is not.  The spiraling movement requires one to be aware of one`s physical emplacement with the help of spatial references (a window, the sky, the ground, a landing).  It is the differences in the experience of ascending and descending that make it a fragmented reality.


(2)     If the stair becomes more than a means to get from here to there, (isolated from the lives of the inhabitants), it can be a place where a child inhabits above if they wish to be seen and part of the action,

(3) ( 4) or below if they wish to retreat and imagine the worlds that exist above,  

(5)    or it can create places for the child to be present and absent at the same time. 

@2 years ago
#Artefacting #stairs #home #childhood 

"To articulate what is past does not mean to recognize ‘how it really was.’ It means to take control of a memory, as it flashes in a moment of danger."

Walter Benjamin, “On the Concept of History” (1940)

(Source: underthepile, via dwellingmaps)

@2 years ago with 26 notes
#quotes #inspiration #memory 

"The house we were born in has engraved within us the hierarchy of the various functions of inhabiting. We are the diagram of the functions of inhabiting that particular house, and all the other houses are but variations on a fundamental theme. The word habit is too worn a word to express this passionate liason of our bodies, which do not forget, with an unforgettable house."

Gaston Bachelard, Poetics of Space, 15.

@2 years ago with 12 notes
#bachelard #home 

"Poets claim that we recapture for a moment the self that we were long ago when we enter some house or garden in which we used to live in our youth. But these are most hazardous pilgrimages, which end as often as not in disappointment as in success. It is in ourselves that we should rather seek to find those fixed places, contemporaneous with different years."

Marcel Proust, In Search of Lost Time
@3 years ago with 17 notes
#inspiration #quotes #childhood #memory