Natural design in search of direction
Shriver, Henry Vannier
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Laotse has said, "Man's loss of his original nature comes from the distractions of the material world acting through the five senses.”1 That we have not regained our original nature is self-evident. Our society indicts us; its works convict us. We have become slaves to the extent that we have diverged from, as well as our own nature, the nature of our universe. It is to the cutting through the haze of invalidities which constitutes much of the atmosphere in which we design and build that this thesis is directed. First, in this search, this one for freedom in a sense, the nature of man, of universe, and the relationships which do and could exist between them, will be explored in terms of building. If, perhaps, subsequent analysis of existing relationships appear too critical, it must be borne in mind, that much is based upon, as well as observation, introspection. Second, cultures will be explored in an effort to more clearly establish the relationships which exist between man and the pattern he produces. With this relationship in mind, our contemporary pattern will be examined and an attempt will be made to evaluate the dominant trends which now seem to be directing it toward the contradictory expressions so apparent today. Third, designs will be given of a natural community and of a natural living unit, illustrating through application of these same natural relationships, but two of many levels of planning. A site in the Blue Ridge Mountains, northeast of Roanoke has been chosen as the area for development which, although topographically undesirable for building by present criteria, permits demonstration of the flexibility attainable through application of spirit and technics of natural building. This thesis is an attempt to see the whole more clearly in terms of its parts. Design today, as attested by almost every area of development, is in a state of chaos, less conscious of the world for which it was executed than it is of itself. The method of approach, not being purely scientific, is in itself a questioning of contemporary methods of inquiry. Natural law, in the academic sense, is but the notation of physically observed phenomena and has been taken more as a boundary than as a fluid instrument of understanding cognizant of omnipresent relativities. Natural law, in its broadest sense, at best, but an instantaneous approximation (for what has become of Euclidean geometry and Newtonian physics), is here suggested as a criterion for design. A criterion which will continue to grow together with science and art in the interests of man.
- Masters Theses