by Alexander GERVER, Cand. Sc. (Architecture); Arsen MELITONYAN, Cand. Sc. (Hist.); Nikolai MISHIN, Alexei PELENOVICH, Russian Architecture and Construction Society
Today scientific and technological progress has smoothly switched from dissociated spheres of knowledge with their narrow application to humanitarian integral concepts of man and the world surrounding him. In this connection architecture - the most required synthesis of art, science and craftsmanship - is playing a special role.
Articles in this rubric reflect the authors' opinion. - Ed.
The design of a dwelling house - something like the gene pool of architecture - is currently aimed to meet the requirements of the real individual, with his concrete desires and mentality, rather than the so-called average statistical customer.
The idea of a private house, referred to as the family nest, a safe place to meet one's practical needs, with key vital processes seething in it, where one can have some rest, make plans for the future and bring them to implementation, stands for more than just one's status in life or financial status. It also reflects its owner's individuality, including his spiritual preferences, the concept of the form being in harmony with the content. And this tendency extends to the way the lodging looks outside and inside (including its interior decoration), the layout of the adjacent landscape and other components of our surroundings that seem to be more dependent on its inhabitants' requirements and preferences than on the latest fashion trends. In this way an individual kind of architectural and spatial environment is born as a happy combination of science, art, up-to-date technologies and the customer's psychological preferences based on his personal experience, artistic taste and intellectual development level.
In these conditions the architect's role is of increased importance. Improvizing on the subject he is free to pick up a lot from the treasure-trove of world architecture of the past and from its modern trends. Moreover, he seems to turn into a jeweler providing a unique "setting" for the "gems" of human souls by stimulating them not only to come to light maximally, but also to improve.
We describe the offered approach to creation of an ideal place to live in - the combination of methods and solutions aimed at maximum reckoning with conscious
and subconscious factors of man's psychology while formalizing his ideas of his house - as transpersonal. The approach should be used not only to incarnate the idea of an individual dwelling (for a concrete owner and his family), with its special organization forms and layout functions, but also harmonize its artificial and natural components.
Indeed, from architectural viewpoint, the surroundings we live in, carrying certain information in volumetric and plastic forms, is nothing but a man-made landscape, a part of the Earth's surface, and its components are interwoven with the natural surroundings. The following three principles, closely bound up by the mutual exchange of energy and information, form the basis of this man-made product: nature, objective world and man. After all, it's an open secret that from positions of biology, chemistry and physics we people are active elements of the living environment, perceived by us via our sensations, consciousness, and subconscious state on a molecular, gene, psychological and other levels. At the same time, we promote its change by our concrete actions. In their constant attempts to protect themselves from the aggressive manifestations of the environment, people sought to adapt it to their own needs, started gradually transforming it and, finally, we are confronted with the need to protect it from ourselves.
That is why the goal of the discussed method is to elaborate architectural solutions for the removal of the reason behind the disintegration of man and nature. In other words, transpersonal design regards the individual, his activities and the environment he lives in as an indivisible system developing according to certain laws and having an effect on the existence of the entire biological diversity. So, in order to ensure this kind of harmony in
each individual case, we offer competent organization of landscape for the dwellers' comfort (with optimal selection of the respective objects), choice of a favorable position of the house on the allotted land plot with the determination of measures to renovate the territory after construction and of course with account of the customer's preferences.
Special stress should be laid on the energy factor - the most delicate method of man's interaction with the natural environment making it possible for man to maintain contacts with all aspects of the environment (including wildlife and vegetation). That is especially important for the concept of "design" in this context. This creative manifestation, we believe, is typical of man's nature, for it is expressed in a certain direction of man's thinking and practical activities for the organization of the environment around him. Consequently, we can assert: not only architects, designers, engineers, etc., but also those who seek to introduce certain changes in the surroundings take part in the design. Indeed, in day-to-day life anyone consciously or unconsciously resolves such problems as current repairs, arrangement of furniture, domestic equipment or simply objects on the desk.
And we regard design as the highest form of the planning, realized both by the individual and society. It is a kind of esthetic concept of modern lifestyle. And each person fitting out the environment in order to create or transform what is useful into beautiful also takes part in this positive transformation of the environment, with optimal conditions provided for man's life.
Such are ways leading to the organization of ideal surroundings to live in. This presupposes a unique, individualized objective "product" adapted to the environment and meeting a higher level of psychological, esthetic, utilitarian and technological requirements. Its formation in accordance with the above-mentioned principles is naturally a complicated, multi-tiered process with a great number of direct and indirect components.
Let's discuss the levels and structural elements contributing to the creation of such a dwelling house. Let's, first, single out ecological design, i. e., the system of measures required for maximum account to be taken of the natural environment, with the consequences of construction revealed for it, and also nature-protection and restoration activities. This extensive complex of works includes geomantic (intricate methods of geological, power information and innovation assessment of the construction site with the use of traditional, popular and historically justified as well as exoteric knowledge and religious doctrines), eniologic measures (ecological research into exposure, study and removal of pathogenic factors on the given territory).
Special attention should be devoted to landscape architecture, i. e., layout organization of the land plot, choice of soils and verdure, arrangement of water systems, and so on, that represents the third component of ecological design. Landscape architecture represents design and subject activities in accordance with the house residents' desires. As a result, after the professional interference the surrounding landscape will be transformed into an integral natural "oasis" with harmonious interaction, including in the sphere of energy, of all components: the geological basis, the relief of the locality, soils with the vegetation, the dwelling house and other buildings.
Anthropological design should to the greatest degree ensure compliance with the owner's concrete tastes and preferences in the process of design. Its first structural element is psychological, i. e., an approach to the real man making it possible sometimes on the concealed level to determine his genuine, subconscious desire, with the subsequent incarnation of the obtained results in the form of design proposals. The second element is a semantic one (drawing up of the customer's "personified map" with the priorities of associative symbols, decorative elements, details of interior decoration carrying individual information and emotional tinge). The third one is an arch-typical element, i. e., exposure of generalizing planning methods and fundamental systems in line with the tastes of its future residents.
Finally, let's discuss subject design, i. e., the incarnation of architectural studies in concrete objects corresponding to the real conditions, used materials and structures and, last but not least, the owner's financial potential. We include in this system of measures volume-spatial design, i. e., the harmonization of all elements of the objective surroundings, with the existing ones adapted to the newly created. We attribute to the same group architectural-and-layout (erection of buildings and structures according to the accepted typology) and interior design (personified equipment of the interior of the house of the customer and his family).
Working in close contact and consistently interacting, all the above-mentioned structural design elements form a basis for the creation of unique individual living environment, whose outward appearance will echo the man's original internal world.
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