A place for learning: a phenomenology of geometry and material

TR Number



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


This work is comprised of two parts: The Inspiration and The Institution.

The Inspiration concerns what originated the work—the conception of the idea. It lies within the realm of those things which are timeless. Therefore, it is what gives character to the building of the place or the institution. The inspiration is the beginning.

The Institution is the formulation of the work--the "building" of the idea. It is a place crafted with the methods of its time. ln this sense, the institution is circumstantial, and therefore representing the end. However, in its completion there is the reflection of its beginning, its inspiration.

What we call the beginning is often the end And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.¹

What inspires this work is the architecture of the ancient communities of the Anasazi. More specifically and fundamentally, the inspiration for this work lies in the phenomenon of geometry and material in these ruins. Further, it is seated in such ideas as concentricity or nestedness and the opening of a wall. These are the ideas which are timeless. This is the beginning and the end.

What formulates the work is a school. As an institution of learning, it already constitutes fertile ground for teaching. Therefore, with architecture as the medium, the building can teach about the play of geometry and the use of material. The function of the school is purely circumstantial, and it has little to do with the inspiration. Still, the geometry and material of the place made are founded in the inspiration. Hence, the architecture will continue to be a place for learning regardless of the functions of its past or future.

The aspiration of the work is the development of a work of architecture as a place which nurtures the position of learning and as an institution which becomes a revelation of its inspiration.