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1

Sharr, Adam. (2015). Heidegger’s Hut. A Thinking Space. Cambridge, Mass. MIT Press.

 

2

Heidegger, Martin. (1951). Building, Dwelling, Thinking.

Emotional Bonds with the Constructed World

Piazza d’Italia, 1952. Giorgio de Chirico

An image is capable of transporting us to other places in our memory: matter, space, time and experience are recurrent factors in the narratives which shape collective environments and individual realities. The way we inhabit space depends on the particular features of our environment and their influence on our senses,  but is also made much more complex by how individuals perceive space and react to that perception. Perception itself is a complex universe and that complexity leads us to interiorise the environment, generating emotional ties with the constructed world.  Our emotional bonds with space have different origins and can be analysed from different perspectives – linguistic, social, cultural, political and even spiritual.

Space: from the emotional to the personal

When Heidegger moved to his cabin in Todtnauberg in Germany’s Black Forest in 1922, he wasn’t homeless. Sometimes alone and sometimes with his family, he alternated periods spent at his house in Rötebuckweg with stints living in the places to which his university work took him. But the cabin played a different role. For the philosopher, it represented the place where he could find the seclusion and the austere solitude he had chosen to pursue, the space where he could come to terms with himself, “the appeal of emotional and intellectual intimacy with the building”1. It was in the cabin, with what he found to be an inherent spatial relationship with the building, the landscape and the mountains, that he produced many of his works.

Virginia Woolf first spoke of a room of one’s own in 1929. The idea formed part of a discourse in which such a space made it possible to enrich one’s own intimacy, which in turn referenced a just call to fight for female emancipation. The issue Woolf was raising at that time suggested the desirability of a space of one’s own, and that represented a challenge to the conventions of the day. Using an argument based on contrast, she put forward the idea that over and above Woman’s power to dominate her domestic space was Woman’s power to choose her own space.

What both Woolf and Heidegger were trying to express, each in their own way, was a right to one’s own, intimate space; the need for a domain which, however small it may be, can be governed only by the self of each person. Constructed space becomes manifest in physical, material and visual dimensions, but there also exists a psychic, emotional construct of the environment. Indeed, for Heidegger, the power of construction with regard to the inhabiting and the meaning of a place lay in experience: “We do not dwell since we have built; but we build and have built because we dwell, i.e. because we are dwellers”2. Dwelling, or inhabiting, is a way of experiencing space and time, of creating memories, relationships and bonds rooted in the complexity of each individual and in our collective universality as a society.


Text translated by Andrew V. Taylor
Notas de página
1

Sharr, Adam. (2015). Heidegger’s Hut. A Thinking Space. Cambridge, Mass. MIT Press.

 

2

Heidegger, Martin. (1951). Building, Dwelling, Thinking.

Autor:
Arquitecta con especialización en urbanismo, paisaje y edición editorial. Después de trabajar en distintos estudios de arquitectura me desempeño de forma independiente. Me dedico a la investigación en el campo de lo urbano, la ciudad, la movilidad, el espacio público, el paisaje y lo social; todos estos son algunos de los temas sobre los que escribo. Colaboro como divulgadora en medios digitales; soy co-editora en la plataforma Urban Living Lab y corresponsal en La Ciudad Viva y en Arquitasa. Registro mis reflexiones en mi blog y comparto en twitter como @gaudi_no

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