Connections through natural perceptions
Schroeder, Stephanie Ann.
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I believe that through sensory connection to our natural surroundings we will reinvigorate a deeper connection with ourselves and to the environment. Architecture could become the medium to create that connection as well as the physical manifestation of our understanding of existence and of time, which facilitates this connection. This thesis seeks an understanding of self and place through our sensory connection to nature. In our modern world, we are presented with a growing amount of synthetic and manufactured surroundings that are designed to be perceived through sight, while sound, smell, taste and touch are considered secondary senses, and experiential quality is not inherent. Our society is moving farther away from a connection to nature and a connection to the earth. I believe that through sensory connection to our natural surroundings we will reinvigorate a deeper connection with ourselves and to the environment. This thesis is exploring how nature is the medium for a deeper connection and understanding of ourselves, who we are, and how we interact with the environment through sensory perception. Natural materials and practices are being replaced with synthetics, which lack the cyclical nature and life of natural materials. Machine-made products lack the ability to connect on a humanistic level due to their perpetual state of youth. "We are increasingly detaching ourselves from 'organic and functional periodicity' which is dictated by nature, and replacing it by 'mechanical periodicity' which is dictated by the schedule, the calendar, and the clock."³ These fabricated objects intensify the isolated state of man from the natural world through their constant neglect of the senses and disregard for the energies intrinsic in natural materials. It is my belief that to be able to live meaningful and impassioned lives, we must become more aware of fabricated surroundings, and return to natural environment from which we came. By refocusing on natural processes and materials in the built environment, man can reawaken the relationship we have with nature. I believe that through understanding our surrounding's impact, we can connect with not only ourselves, but the environment.