Understanding inhabitations and emotions on the site

After the selection of the site, the site was to be emotionally associated with. To be honest, I have never done this before. It is very different from the conventional methods of site analysis that I have followed throughout my architecture college. It was usually confined to the physical aspects of the site, sometimes without ever considering the inhabitation.

It took me a while to view the site through emotions. What I understand the reason was that it was a new task altogether, and when it comes to emotions, I suddenly turn into a reserved person. I’m not a sharing person when it comes to my state of mind.

Coming back to the site, the first attempt was during the session itself, where it was all about the major inhabitations of solitude, intimacy, and congregation. We tried marking the areas on the site, where we felt each of them, they may or may not overlap. In my case, for the very first attempt, I struggled with the markings, majorly because I hadn’t viewed the site in that sense yet.

After the discussion during the session, I visited the site again, one, to get a hold of the site elements and scale, and two, to be able to observe and feel the existing population, and what I thought about each part of the site.

During the second discussion, about three to four days later, the discussion went deep. This happened not only concerning my work but also to my fellow mates. The different aspects of what each of the inhabitation types means to someone else gave me a wider angle to view my site. It was different, difficult, but informative at the same time.

The analysis was further taken to the next step, where it was not just about the type of inhabitations, but also its further categories. Solitude is not just about being alone, but there is a different type of positivity in being alone. Sometimes it is about the calm, sometimes, it is about the excitement, sometimes, it is about inner discovery, etc. I tried imagining myself resting against columns, something, I do when I want to stay alone, but not necessarily in a negative state of mind. But it wasn’t just about any column I get; each column had its meaning. It provoked me to further think about which column I would choose, and which not, and why not.

When it came to intimacy, furthering my understanding, it wasn’t just restricted to the literal meanings as we have always understood conventionally. It has that meaning, but intimacy is also about a sense of privacy one needs, the conversation shouldn’t always be about romance, between partners. When it came to marking these inhabitation categories on the site plan, it became clearer. More intricacies developed. Being vulnerable to someone has a different meaning to me. I need a physical sense of privacy as well to share my thoughts with someone, but what also matters is does the crowd around us know me, or are they just a crowd. This is something I hadn’t thought about much before. The meaning of intimacy developed further.

The congregation is a group but is the group happy, sad, with a purpose, or in grief. I wasn’t very much realizing of these, despite being a part of such groups at one time or the other. Or despite being a part of all these types of group conversations, I never gave it much thought. On the site itself, even if I only restricted my focus to observing people, the state of the group could be determined.

The exercise made me go into a brainstorming session. It wasn’t easy. It was new to me. The emotional aspects never came alive before, especially during the pre-design processes. I look forward to how I can incorporate this study within my design, not just restricted to the program but even for all future designs.