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Proceedings of the 18th National Conference on the Beginning Design Student

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Architecture -- Human factors, Architectural design -- Study and teaching, Design -- Philosophy


This paper describes a design-and-build studio project carried out at the University of Nottingham with students in their fourth year - although elements of it could also be considered appropriate for the 'Beginning Design Student'. The programme for the project is based on the premise that there is a fundamental continuity between the human body and the rest of the world. This idea has been around for some time and appears in a variety of forms: The Biblical quotation above which suggests a material connection between body and earth; the early medical theories of Hippocrates which describe the influence of the environment on the four humors of the body; and James Lovelock's Gaia theory which describes the earth as a living and self-regulating bodylike organism. In addition to the more or less scientific similarities such as between bone and rock, or blood and seawater; recent work in the visual arts has also provided new insights into the body's peculiarly 'unstable' materiality. Andres Serrano's Blood and Soil (1987), Stelarc's Stomach Sculpture (1994), and Mona Hatoum's Deep Throat (1996) all suggest a body in a state of flux - a continual process of interaction between the body and its environment.


Presented at the 18th National Conference on the Beginning Design Student, Portland State University, Portland, Oregon. March 14-16, 2002.

© Portland State University, published by Portland State University, Department of Architecture

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