Manifesting Human Experiences

Architecture and human experiences are interwoven- a certain style of building and the choice of elements used is capable of creating a distinct and long-lasting impact on the user’s mind. To understand this concept as well as to further investigate the nature of the spaces of solitude, intimacy and congregation, I created ‘My Secret Place’. This hideout is placed in a hypothetical 6 m long pit adjacent to my home, and is designed for me, three friends, and occasionally, fifteen other friends. Through this three week long design exercise, I have explored and critically analysed the three required spaces and tested multiple iterations to achieve one goal- to create a secret space suitable to meet all requirements of the human mind.

Initial Iteration: The first iteration clearly portrays the concept of creating harmony between curvilinear and rectilinear forms. The curve represents openness of thoughts and emotions and creates a welcoming ambience in the space of solitude as opposed to a space bound by orthogonal walls.

Right from the start, all my models have the following underlying principles: harmony of curvilinear and rectilinear forms, and interactive play with nature. I reflected on my own experiences in various spaces of solitude, intimacy and congregation, and tying it together with the sketches done the previous week, I imbibed certain ideas into the design of my secret hideout. Through multiple iterations, I was able to improve the nature of inhabitation of these spaces. Going back and forth through these multiple trials helped me blend the best of all the ideas I had envisioned and also take care of all the shortcomings possible.

Trying to incorporate curvilinear and rectilinear forms in one design led to certain technical difficulties and I especially found it challenging to resolve complex joineries. Each iteration and each new design brought with it certain plus points and certain drawbacks. Sometimes, while trying to enhance the form, I overlooked the desired nature of inhabitation, and vice versa- it was a never ending process. Looking at my final iteration, I was surprised to see how far my initial design had progressed and how many changes it had undergone and how many hours of brainstorming it had taken. For someone who had never made a model before, making nine models in the span of three weeks was definitely a lot of work! However, it helped me hone my model making skills and also understand different aspects such as precision, representation of materials, construction techniques and various geometries. Getting feedback from the tutors and learning from my peers helped me tremendously in this exercise, for looking at similar slightly modified models and trying to better it can get slightly frustrating.

Final Iteration: In this final iteration, curves have been incorporated in this design via the spiral staircase and the shape of the courtyard. The shape of the slab beautifully incorporates a central courtyard which is accessible by the spaces of solitude, intimacy and congregation.
Plan at 0.0 m: The above image represents the plan of the proposed design at level 0.0 m.

This three week long exercise taught me patience and made me realise that it takes innumerable trials and iterations to transform a vision into reality, and that this is a back and forth process. By keeping the intent of the design clear, one can create a beautiful space for inhabitation with beautiful geometry and while using minimum materials.

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