The American medieval : memory and place of public exchange

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Arts & Architecture


Our memory of place is a reaction to the relationships we share throughout our cultural existence. Memory and place are influenced by familiar modes of sensory exchange between man and his/hers surrounding within the perceived and unperceived world. These exchanges design the episode of our circumstance as humans and provide a guideline for our quest to identify with each other. The history and memory of a place provides evidence for the individual and community by recording functions of exchange through the shaping of our environment. All people share modes of exchange which transcend the cultural boundaries of being, but these modes can be buried by temporary patterns of social and economic habits. We must retrace the moments found within the memory and history of places for public exchange by revealing the basic elements of humanity. These elements pertain to Martin Heidegger's 'fourfold' and the four principle architectural spaces found in the clearing, path, dwelling, and burial. Revealing transparencies within the network of memories simplifies the method of extracting the importance of exchange for a specific place. The place becomes a design proposal supported by the functions of the past while engaging the present and future modes of exchange. The North American Medieval design proposal uses functions of the clearing as design guidelines for a future of public exchange within the urban core. Trenton, NJ is an example of the rise and fall most North American cities experience when industry and technology shift and the foundation of exchange are forgotten. Trenton, NJ is one of many cities with the opportunity to absorb the suburban populous as our nation shifts towards densification and urbanity. By tracing the memory and function of the clearing through European and American culture we find a clear social, economic, and physical circumstance for growth of the public market place. Mapping out layers of urban development using the four basic architectural elements will expose the locations for exchange within the urban core. The marketplace fosters a sense of 'gathering' and supports livable relationships connected by the phenomenology of human exchange.




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