Architecture, Culture & Spirituality
Editorial of 2A Magazine issue 17- Ahmad Zohadi
|Khalid Habib Al Redha, Ahmad Zohadi|
The older traditions like traditional eastern societies have a certain structural design which has been kept throughout many years because they respected and followed their traditional, cultural design and structure which was based on their social ,cultural and spiritual values.
There are plenty of examples which can illustrate this fact, for example if we look at the Japanese contemporary architecture, we can clearly observe that it has its origin from its traditional, cultural and spiritual principals but at the same time it is harmonized it with necessities of modern life.
Most of the above items such as culture and religion belong to the category of Non Physical Design Sustainability.
The current international media is mostly focused on the phenomenal physical sustainability, but in this issue we would like to show that the subtle and invisible effects of culture & spirituality are as significant and 2A’s vision is that we don’t have to choose one in favor of the other, when designing, analyzing and building a structure.
We can and should consider and incorporate both physical & non physical elements.
When we come accross to architectural masterpieces such as Taj Mahal and other buildings as such, we deeply feel that, the creator of that design must have been in a deep meditative state while designing that structure. There is something more than mere mathematical calculations and symetrical proportions, it is as if the invisible hand of divine forces were present and had inspired the creator
directly. When one simply looks at such buildings, his state of being changes immediately, one feels that he has entered into a timeless zone of reality, his mind stops analyzing and thinking, and becomes meditative and peaceful, in a way his soul’s vibrations harmonizes and attunes with the designer’s inner vibrations when he designed the structure. Living near such buildings, improves one’s inner state by making him more peaceful, calm, and balanced, and consequently this improved mental and spiritual state, will directy effect his physical well-being as well. Psychologists call this “Psychsomatic effect”, which means our psychological state directly effects our body. Thus it is very important to incorporate these non-physical elements into our (physical) designs, which can improve both our inner spiritual state and also our physical well-being.
The Architects of ancient civilizations, had also been aware of the importance of location of the structures and even cities. They chose specific locations, where they felt that the earth’s energy was becoming concentrated and was suitable for long-term and sustainable settlement. They looked for certain natural settings and patterns such as mountains, rivers and oceans, which created a certain energy pattern or vortexes, and built their cities near these energy vortexes. For instance the city of Tehran is built beside the Alborz Mountains, which helps to use the vital energies to be gathered and not be dispersed, this not only magnifies the geo-physical energies, but also helps the mantal and spiritual energies of the occupants of the ciy to be concentrated and magnified.
Agha Bozorg Mosque School ( Masjed-e Agha Bozorg ) Kashan, Architect: Haj Shabanali, 1825
The proper flow of energy is very essential for the health and growth of each individual and also for any society as a whole. This principle is valid for the inner sections of the structures as well. The Chinese have used the science and art of Feng Shui in both inner and outer designs by using various patterns, forms, figures and placements of elements such as furniture in certain ways in order to facilitate the healthy flow of energy inside th the houses, buildings and public places. For a Feng Shui specialist, decoration is not merely directed to beautify the place, it is also and more importantly meant to improve the flow of vital positive energy. He tries to reduce the negative and draining energies which in turn promotes negative thinking and psychological moods, which may have been created by a certain limited energy flow caused by faulty structures, and furthermore by changing it to a structural or decorational design and setting that promotes a positive flow of energy which energizes and vitalizes our energy system and mental state.
2A Magazine would like to specially thank and show our appreciation for the great efforts of the previous guest editor Homa Farjardi. We were honored and delighted to
have her with us and her deep understanding nd expertese helped to illustrate the women’s concerns and progress in architecture in the best possible way.
And, once again it is a great honor to have Nader Ardalan who is president of Ardalan Associates, Consulting Architects in Boston and also Phillip James Tabb, Ph.D who is Architect and Professor of Architecture Texas A&M University as the guest editors of the current issue.
2A magazine has always looked for new ways of looking at architecture and art, and has presented various themes which has explored different dimensions of those fields. Understanding the significance of spirituality and other non-physical aspects of architecture, which have been neglected or in some places completely ignored, 2A decided to dedicate another issue to this theme, because we believe the future of architecture can be enriched if we incoroprate the non-physical aspects into the physical designs. And 2A as an international media in the middle east wants to be a pioneer and promoter of this process.