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The Landscape of Retreat

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Title: The Landscape of Retreat
Authors: Clay Reagan, Megdlin
Advisor: Ashraf, Kazi
Issue Date: Dec 2014
Abstract: A deep psychological desire for “retreat” has been articulated in a variety of built and imagined, shared and individual, spatial dimensions. To develop a spatially thematized understanding and definition of “retreat” landscapes, five individual scenarios were chosen for examination. The examples were selected according to the differentiated and collective psychological conditions individuals were seeking from the juxtaposition of the spatial conditions imagined, and frequented, when they felt inclined to “retreat:” The oneiric retreat of Gaston Bachelard’s home construct, the transformational retreat of Sen no Rikyu’s teahouse and garden, the retreat of inversion of Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret’s Villa Beistegui, the exotic retreat of Marie Antoinette’s Hamlet and the recreational retreats of Frederick Law Olmsted’s public parks. This thesis seeks to define the “retreat” experience as not just the specific psychological and physical experience as understood normatively, but also more conceptually, as a systematic practice of situational disengagement, shaped and defined by a variety of juxtaposed spatial and existential conditions. To access the retreat requires a degree of separation from a place of origin–an important component of the retreat experience in that its condition often informs the spatial and psychological parameters of the retreat environment. The overall intent of this research is to propose a new understanding of the retreat experience. To do so, a fundamental understanding of the meaning of retreat is established by studying a variety of ways places of retreat have been described, constructed and experienced as reoccurring phenomena to prove the retreat experience is one that can be structured, managed and heightened in a variety of spatial configurations.
Pages/Duration: 146 pages
Appears in Collections:2014

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