Reflecting on the past year of travel I have had the privilege to visit over fifty cities in fifteen countries. I immersed myself in remote landscapes juxtaposed by the density of urban culture shortly after. Most importantly, I have had the opportunity to spend time within spaces to understand how architecture communicates with the body and cultivates memory.
The travel fellowship has provided time: time to draw, time to write, time to reflect, time to speculate, and time to listen.
My intentions with the travel fellowship were to understand the subtle qualities of architecture, how they affect our nervous system, our emotion, and our physical senses. The nature of the fellowship has allowed me to let those qualities sink into the body, letting my eyes wander, and recognize the subtle qualities of light between each space or feel the small marks of craft from the local building methods.
Unlike other forms of travel, I had the opportunity to visit multiple places with a specific focus. Transcending the tourist expectation of visiting a place, I began to recognize a common thread between vastly different landscapes and spaces, creating new relationships between experiences. While my intentions were to silo architectural qualities to understand their effects, I realized throughout the travel that the space between is also crucial to understanding the subtle differences between phenomena.
In an effort to probe architectural experience, my attempts to silo architectural qualities into their own categories was only an exercise in analysis. Through travel and discussions with professionals, I realize that experience is a separate reality from the physical world we occupy. In this sense, “Indexical Architecture” acts as a toolkit to understand the components of a memory but not actually create new memories: one does not directly affect the other. The nature of experience resolves to a different reality which is influenced by the entanglements of individual identity and cultural characteristics. Our experience is rooted in the metaphoric in-between between our identity (non-site) and the phenomena of our physical world we occupy (site-actual).
Our embodied experience lives within the relationship between our external landscapes and our internal landscapes. Architecture, as an object, is not the experience, but rather, an opportunity to bring meaningfulness to our identities and emotions.
While the travel is completed, the questioning continues. The time spent fulfilling the SOM Prize for Architecture has critically shaped the way that I understand space in relation to the body and will continue to be a crucial reference for prioritizing sensory curiosity between person and place.