Architecture gives sense of space
By NICOLE HADDAD
Through the concepts of space and peace, the architecture of Saint Mary's and Notre Dame give each campus its own distinct sense of community and place, said Dennis Doordan, an architectural historian and professor at Notre Dame.
He discussed architecture's role in how people identify with past experiences.
"[It is a] rich wonderful concept that can be explored in many ways," he said.
Doordan defined experience as "doing something together" — whether it be living and dining together or relaxing and playing. "Experience shapes and is shaped by the place in which it occurs," he said. "The place plays a critical role in finding identity."
"If community is experience, then experience unfolds somewhere in some setting," he said. According to Doordan, experience unfolds at a critical point. Place is "a way of dividing space, it is not uniform but highly differentiated."
Doordan defined space through various slides of photographs he had taken. For example, at Monument Valley space is defined by solid objects, he said. Whereas at Echo Canyon, "space is something around a perimeter that defines edges."
Egyptian and Greek architecture are two forms exhibiting the relationship between man and land — the relationship between the natural state and how humans transform it, he said.
Elements of place include walls or boundaries, a threshold, pathways, nodes and images. While walls define a place as "concrete and bounded," he said a threshold is the beginning of a place where the "journey is finished."
It is not formal but must be identifiable, according to Doordan.
Pathways are places that cultivate habits, he said, and while maps are abstract and about cartography rather than experience.
"Community is experience as diversity within unity," he said.
The concept of place nurtures a sense of identity and supports rituals of community, he said.
The Notre Dame campus is community and it is a "beautiful and meaningful place to take care of," Doordan said.
All News Stories for Tuesday, October 5, 1999