requiem: a chapel for blacksburg virginia


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Virginia Tech


The wall in Architecture is primary and paramount. In a hierarchical comparison with other elements, the wall is dominant because of the inherent potential housed within to inform our experience of place. It does more than divide what is in from what is out. It is where Architecture begins its presencing.

The juxtaposition of man within nature is always violent. In this role as reconciliator of form and environment the wall shapes our perception of being in nature. The architecture of the wall is the spatial record of the drama between interior and exterior forces acting upon it.

We construct walls to keep out from becoming in. At the same time, the wall is where a controlled out is allowed in. What penetrates our world, must come through the wall. The wall must be made to accept openings, carry loads, or transfer that load elsewhere. The wall is a deliberate or delicate connection to the earth. The wall accepts, reflects, mediates, or rejects all that it is confronted with.

Architecturally, permanence is expressed by means of the wall. By following the wall, one can understand the configuration of the internal vessel, its perimeter, its zones of focus, and the relationship of parts to the whole. "By knowing the limits of something, you really know something. Then you know its order, because you know its limits...but if you don't know its limits, then you don't know its order..." L.Kahn