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The hyphenation of the void: from eastern ecology to western architecture

Kim, R.H.-K.; (2012) The hyphenation of the void: from eastern ecology to western architecture. Doctoral thesis, UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis explores the cultural cross-fertilization between the orient and the occident by studying the eastern concept of the void that brings all components of the universe into a fluid continuous whole. This void is not in binary opposition to the full as in western dualism but rather co-exists with the full in a dynamic balance and complementary position following the Taoist philosophy. It is thus essentially characterized by its perpetual mutation, its transience. In this perspective, the oriental void emerges as a set of connections that incessantly evolve through time: the hyphenation of the void. My research proposes to incorporate this interpretation of the oriental void into the occidental architectural approach. Therefore, it develops the idea of conceptual and material hyphens that are familiar images to western culture and that also provide tangible and material expressions to the hyphenation. Conceptual hyphens serve as a sensible metaphor for the elusive principles of the void while material hyphens give materiality and palpability to the abstract notion of the void. These definitions are not mutually exclusive so that a hyphen can be both conceptual and material at times. Hyphens are then used as design devices in the architectural practice of the void. Their combination generates the architectural projects’ narratives, material substance and, affects their visual representations. The subsequent architecture of the void appears as an organic entity which grows and decays through its endless interactions with the surrounding environment. The latter is not restricted to the usual urban and architectural conditions but expands to socio-cultural, economical and political parameters. This architecture is thus always in the process of becoming amid a wide ecosystem and prompts the awakening of its users to the present moment in the current situation. In consequence, it generates an ecology of the void where architecture is experienced in the Heideggerian sense as a built thing that enables its users to dwell in unison with the universe. The issue of hyphenation is in fact a reflection on my own status an inbetweener drifting in the east–west intercultural flow of our nomadic contemporary society. The thesis represents, therefore, an investigation into my personal way of life.

Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Title:The hyphenation of the void: from eastern ecology to western architecture
Open access status:An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language:English
Additional information:Copyright restricted material has been removed from the digital copy of this thesis
UCL classification:UCL > School of BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Bartlett School > Bartlett School of Architecture

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