Between the experiential and intellectual

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Great architecture exists by creating an equilibrium between the experiential world and the intellectual world. On one hand these two worlds operate at polar opposites, while on the other hand these two worlds are totally dependent on one another’s existence. Through the conscious pursuit of reconciling these differences, the creation process is open to its fullest realm of possibilities and complexities. Le Corbusier used the intellectual world to gain the experiential. Although, in his later years, this process began to reverse itself. Alvaro Siza uses the experiential world to gain the intellectual. While these processes are pursued from opposite extremes, the final works reach a common goal. That goal being a complete fusion of the experiential and intellectual worlds which allows these works to procure a vital new spirit. One other case needs to be mentioned here. This being the case of Alvar Aalto. Aalto was pure genius in his understanding the significance and consequences of unifying the experiential and intellectual worlds. As a result, I believe Aalto's starting point was where the reconciliation of these two worlds occurs. By starting at this point, Aalto allowed himself the enormous freedom of reaching out simultaneously to both the experiential and intellectual worlds, extracting whatever components were necessary to create his wonderful works of art. A major objective for me is to simultaneously reconcile the experiential and intellectual worlds into a harmonious equilibrium. The moment this harmonious equilibrium occurs is the point where architecture is on the threshold of beauty