James Skunca: On Spirit and Gesture in Architecture

Mentor: John Heymans

Independent reviewer: Vladimir Stissi

Enschede, 2010


In this theses I shall deal with architecture as a medium, thus architecture as a mean of transportation of will and intention. I am in search for spirit and gesture in architecture. Thus I examine communication among and through dead objects. How does one communicate through buildings, and what is the language if it is not spoken but constructed? Many think of architecture as merely construction. I shall open the field of architecture as a field of art, beginning with the Djosas Pyramid, with which the European language of architecture begins; and with it, the shape of our culture.
In Chapter One I shall draw attention on language as a system of communication and compare architecture with the written language. Therewith I want to draw attention to the basis of architecture. This question is a haunting one, for as we see in the rise of Modernism, there is a great shift in the language of architecture. This shift rises not at last from the understanding of the centre of architecture. In my thesis I shall claim, that the centre of architecture is interaction and architecture therefore were an interface. The second opinion that I raise is that central to architecture where space itself.
Listed in chronological line are the four examples of the Djosas Pyramid, the Opera Garnier, the Reichstagsgebäude and the Louvre as representative buildings, carrying some essential spirit of culture. Here I begin unfolding the point of acting, approach, and of course entities in conversation. These examples of buildings represent homogeneous cultures, or else a try to reach this homogeneous state.
In Chapter Four Animation, I draw attention to the what I think most important to the discussion on spirit and gesture in constructed environment: the monopoly of live and the physical impossibility of death in the mind of someone living.
Following heron is a chapter on gesture and language examined first on a human from other cultural background, then on buildings, like Philipp Starck's Naninani. What is Esperanto, thus understood by every human, what is vernacular, thus regionally understood.