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WATER: EMBODIMENT OF CULTURAL, SOCIAL AND SPIRITUAL DIMENSIONS

by LONES, MATTHEW DOUGLAS

Abstract (Summary)
As societies and technology have developed, the availability of water have become taken for granted. Water is seen as a service, rather than something sacred. To maximize water as a design tool architects must understand its meaning. The aim of this paper is to provide insight into the cultural, social and spiritual dimensions of water to and demonstrate the value of water as a design tool. Fundamental to perception, the appreciation and understanding of things are the issues of order and meaning. All buildings have meaning, but some buildings have the ability to move us deeply because of meaning and the associations they arouse within us. Our experiences and memories can be enhanced through the architecture. Water has tremendous sensory, spiritual and cultural value, as do all of the Four Elements. Through history, various cultures have identified gods to represent the elements and their values. To understand the value and power of water, one must appreciate not only its physical properties, but also its metaphysical ones. Water literally and symbolically is the source of life and purification. As such, it also serves as the bridge between the physical and the spiritual realms. This is true across history and cultures. It is this rich symbolism that gives water meaning in architecture. The Garden of Eden is often seen as the origin of life, with its four rivers flowing forth from its walls and enriching the surrounding environment. It is this idea that inspired Nicholas Longworth when he named Eden Park in Cincinnati. Similarly, Eden Park Ecological Center, located in the park’s center like the Tree of Life, represents the values of the original paradise garden. Eden Park Ecological Center recalls the physical properties of water simply by its location on the former site of a city reservoir, as well as its design. The center celebrates water’s metaphysical values by educating the community about water.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:University of Cincinnati

School Location:USA - Ohio

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:water

ISBN:

Date of Publication:01/01/2004

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