I am first and foremost interested in designing a sensory experience, born from the indigenous cultures of our past, and re-contextualizing them in the modern era. It is my contention that the modern condition does not create architecture that caters to the five senses; instead it caters to one sense. In this distillation everything has been lost. When imagining powerful phenomenological environments that stimulate all senses, imagery of man’s primal beginnings resonate. Our primal beginnings were nomadic in nature and tied to notions of the indigenous. Indigenous tribes were defined through a close connection with the processes and materials of the natural world. The rising and setting of the sun, the gradual changing of the seasons, and the sheer power of the weather were processes our primal ancestors experienced and retained. What is it about the experience of a warm igloo buried in a frozen landscape that is so phenomenal and experiential? When imagining it’s internal shell, I picture brilliant white sunlight transformed into a tapestry of blues and grays washing across the surface like colors on a concave canvas. The implementation of natural materials, like ice, in systems such as an igloo, produced honest tectonics. These materials were unrefined, unfinished, and retained the inherent earthly properties. I believe the material assemblages and sensations experienced by these indigenous cultures are most phenomenal, architectural, valuable, and human.
If we assume the above to be true, then it is follows that we should aspire to model buildings of the modern era after the successful materials and imagery associated with indigenous architecture. Can we use the knowledge and rules of past cultures to inform a ‘new vernacular’, a vernacular of the modern era born from the ideas of our ancestors? It is my contention that there is a vast reservoir of primal knowledge trapped in the indigenous which is more relevant today than at any other time in the history of civilization.