January 30, 2007

Into the void

During my studies in philosophy at Queen's in the late 80s/early 90s I literally stumbled upon an outstanding book by Gaston Bachelard entitled "The Poetics of Space". In essence the book was about the phenomenology of space (i.e. our relationship to and understanding of space and how we should/could/ought to inhabit it). While some readers have interpreted Bachelard's arguments in terms of being something about architectural concepts I saw it as much more philosophical in implication. Certainly the ideas he presents have a place in a theory (or philosophy) of architecture but I was struck on an inner chord about how I relate to the built environment. A gift Bachelard provided in his text is the poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke, a 20th century German poet for whom I have developed a great affinity and whose poem "The Fourth Elegy" inspired my blog's title and theme.

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