One of the most hazardous consequences of suppressing our bodily experiences and themes in adult life may be a diminished ability to remember who and what we are. The expansion of our actual identity requires greater recognition of our sense of internal space as well as the space around our bodies. Certainly if we continue to focus radically on external and novel experiences and on the sights and sounds delivered to us from the environment to the exclusion of renewing and expanding our primordial haptic experiences, we risk diminishing our access to a wealth of sensual detail developed within ourselves – our feelings of rhythm, of hard and soft edges, of huge and tiny elements, of openings and closures, and a myriad of landmarks and directions which, if taken together, form the core of our human identity.

Kent C Bloomer & Charles W Moore
5. Body-Image Theory
Body, Memory & Architecture




Our body & memories and the spaces we inhabit & make are intertwined in a feedback loop of informing & creating our selves and our worldview. The first of the three design exercises of the studio unit aims to refocus the architectural process on our fundamental relationships with space. We will address the question, ‘How do we inhabit a space?’ by creating elements and conditions conducive to inhabitation in solitude, intimacy & congregation.

Developing a sensual & conceptual framework based on the learnings & insights from the four exercises of the previous fortnight – the intuitive remembering in My Body & My Room and the analyses of Observed Places & Distant Places – students will now create spaces that respond to their need to be in solitude, in intimate company as well as to congregate.

The architectural process will primarily depend on making models, followed by sketches of the nature of spaces, leading into part plans, sections and details of the design. Plans & Sections of the entire design will only be the final set of representations attempted at the end of a week, only to assist in reflection and not conception.

The process will be interspersed with conversations with tutors and peers and iterations of the work as per feedback and insights.

There will be two reviews for this two-week brief: a Peer Review on the Monday of the second week and a Unit Review on the Monday after the fortnight to close the brief.

Regular update of the Reflective Blog on ar2031.wordpress.com is a mandatory requirement of the studio. You may choose to blog daily or weekly or with respect to briefs or exercises; however, stick to a chosen schedule for at least 4 weeks or through a module.

Owing to the pandemic induced lockdown & disruptions, many construction sites, just like many other economic & social activities across the world, came to a grinding halt. One such site is in your neighborhood – in fact, right adjacent to your house – which, having initiated excavation, now lies abandoned with its double storey void, stabilized walls and some construction paraphernalia.

You have been observing this large desolate pit pensively and anxiously: although in suspended animation, it has the potential to become the secret world that you’ve always dreamt of creating and having. However, for the pit to become your secret place and remain as such, whatever you make inside has to be little and made quietly with whatever is available within the pit. Since creating a place requires some company – for both help as well as sharing – you will work closely with two or three of your friends to realize your secret place. The other friends, however, are only guests in your secret place which has a space for intimacy to accommodate your engagement with them. You also need to address your spatial need for solitude. In addition, when it’s time to let out the secret, you also need a space of congregation to accommodate about 14 important guests whom you will invite to showcase all that you have created over months in your hideout.

Site: For your secret pit pick a shoebox at home (one with a separate lid on the large face and not the closed slipper boxes with flaps at its smaller ends). Consider its height as 6 M and extrapolate the length and width of the box accordingly. Considering that the pit is adjoining your own house, climate, cardinal directions and access point(s) will be correspondingly applicable. However, no other external contextual parameter matters in your engagement with the pit, as is usually the case with secret places, except that they are distant & discreet.

Elements: Vertical & horizontal planar & linear elements are to be used to create the spaces of solitude, intimacy and congregation in our secret place. While these are to be presumed as the construction paraphernalia left behind or vegetation growing in the abandoned pit, it matters little as to what they exactly are or what they are made up of or how they are to be joined. Remember your childhood ingenuity while playing House: the nature of the space mattered and you created them anywhichway, without bothering much about how it came about or what it looked like. Your process shall only be concerned with the pure and complex geometric configurations in which the elements can come together to create or divide spaces. Do bear in mind that we don’t always need enclosed rooms; plinths and terraces could also make beautiful rooms without roofs.
Since descending is essential for access to the subterranean site, ramps, staircase and/ or ladders form a vital set of elements for the spatial configuration in addition to lines and surfaces. Employ them wisely.
Openings are to be left by the parting or not-meeting of planes rather than being created as punctures in them. Sills are to be introduced only at a later stage of design development.

Scale & Module: Since shoeboxes come in as varied sizes as there are shoes, we will not have a standard sized site across all participants of the studio unit. However, each shoebox is to be considered to be of the height of 6 M. Divide this measurement by 2, 4 & 8 to create a custom scale corresponding to your unique site. Measure the other principle dimensions (lengths & width) of your site using your scale.
A 3 M module is to be applied to create the spatial configurations, i.e. the heights, widths and lengths of the spaces and its planar & linear elements as well as stairs, ramps & openings will be in multiples (or fractions) of 3 M – the lowest denominator being 0.75 M width for an opening or a ladder and 2.25 M height for a space.

Reference outputs shared in the brief are only suggestive.

  1. Model
    Scale: Custom; Format: A3 (composition of model photos); Medium: Cardboard, Monochromatic
  • Create your spaces within the shoebox
  • Release a wall or two from corners so that they can be opened down to offer sectional views of the design
  • Represent stairs as sloping planes without treads/ risers

Students’ works, 2019, iAD, iiAD

  1. Spatial Sketches
    Format: A3; Medium: Monochromatic in Graphite, Charcoal, Pen/ Brush & Ink, Watercolour etc.
    Render the conceptual/ sensual qualities of the imagined spaces from within showing light, darkness, texture, scale, proportion, elements etc.

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/53/4f/76/534f7627ce29e63f42e6a0962ec703d9.jpg https://4.bp.blogspot.com/_PdhzyVfROGo/TAbEB1Yc88I/AAAAAAAAAPU/rS3xZtH8Td0/s1600/WillemVanDerHoed.jpg

  1. Part Plans, Sections & Models of Details
    Scale: 1:20/ 1:10; Format: A3; Medium: Monochromatic/ Cardboard/ Thermocol etc.
    Considering that the shoebox and spatial sketches can be limiting in scale & detail respectively, you can choose to represent one critical detail from the design using orthographic drawings and models of the chosen parts. Minimum dimension of an element (column, wall, roof or floor) to be considered as 0.15 M


  1. Plans & Sections
    Scale: 1:50; Format: A3; Medium: Monochromatic
    Represent the architecture through appropriately rendered orthographic drawings of all spaces and all levels. Minimum dimension of an element (column, wall, roof or floor) to be considered as 0.15 M



The design outcome is expected to demonstrate responses to the following questions:

  • What is the relationship between body, memory, emotion and space?
  • How do we inhabit a space?

Through their design the student is also expected to put to test and evolve a basic sensual & conceptual framework for architecture.

Besides documenting the processes and recording its highs & lows, it’s necessary to reflect on these questions and note the consequent deliberations in the Reflective Blog.

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