domus immaterialis: a pavilion for nothingness


10OCT 2018
# TITLE: domus immaterialis: a pavilion for nothingness
# STUDENTS: Anastasis Floros
# SUPERVISOR: Polyxeni Mantzou
# DATE: 2018
# COURSE: Diploma Design Thesis
# SCHOOL / DEPARTMENT: Democritus University of Thrace, Faculty of Architecture

Can the immaterial experience become corporealized? Can the Space of Nothing be defined as an architectural site? 

The project proposes to create a place that is more than an building. The intent is to create a space by offering to the public an alternative experience and a new way to access the experience. More open and spontaneous, and less sacralised. A platform for experimentation with alternative practices.

The landscape is changed. A new volume sets in. The landscape is in constant renewal. The invisible appears. Space is altered and our perception of the environment is transformed. Our visual perceptions are challenged. Certainties fade, our imagination is provoked during the interpretation process.

The place is still the same, although it leads to a new understanding of our environment. By changing our perception, we question our sense of place. Our altered vision transforms it into a new space, combining our memories with imagined reinventions.

A space to house nothing and everything.

A site. Existent or not. This will be the context for an ‘other’ experimental space, in opposition to the prevailing norm.  A third area between the traditional dichotomy of form and content.This space of nothing can be read as complex, emotive and multi-faceted.

In the light of this we ask if it is possible to employ nothingness not as a testing ground for technology, but for experiments that explore the phenomena associated with the architectural experience.

Our contemplation is directed toward the phenomenological potential of absence / presence and place making and a commentary on the nature of space.  Examine a space of experimentation that challenges existing forms.

“Empty” spaces with the potential for experimental occupation. Issues of programme, event, spatial hierarchies and a whole range of physical and metaphysical phenomena. So our focus is on making and the interplay between something and nothing, dynamic and static, darkness and light.

A space that can be intimate or sublime, it is the formless field that allows things to dwell or  move, as well as the space in between or the hollow contained within. A space that suggests both absence and presence and is a process involving negation – towards nothing, zero, entropy, erasure, tabula rasa.

The qualities of “immaterial”, “nothingness”, “emptiness”, were essential ingredients within the proposed spaces – where the tangible coexists with the intangible, the measurable with the immeasurable.

The pavilion lies within its nothingness and emptiness. 

The result of nothing: no program, no functional requirements, no size definition, no site mandates, no occupancy targets or public flow rates. 

The project aims to create an architecture of the senses. A spectacle for the senses is created, that takes into account the experience and emotions, memory and occupation. A labyrinth of questions that elicits a feeling of being lost and an incapacity to exhaust the possibilities for connections and meaning, where the users need to rely in all of their senses.

It has no more centre, no more peripheries; it is a rhizomatic structure. No longer structural points or positions.  Creating a space without a set path through “rooms”, chosen according to the freewill of each visitor, divided at random between different manifestations.

The “rooms” are deliberately selected, although do not control the order in which the visitor interacts with them.

The user is more than an eye: he or she is an ear, he or she has hands, etc. The user is a moving body whose journey is experiential and not formative. The user is a subject who moves within chaos and not within an ordered totality.

The mind is in some way restricted from complete understanding. The ruinous and seemingly incomplete quality of the architecture allows the mind greater opportunities for speculation. Forms are not necessarily prescribed; rather occupants bring a use to the space. When not in use, objects lay as dormant ruins, suggestive of their potential for occupation.

The visitor is challenged by the pavilion, by the question: Am I the master of my own mind and my surroundings?