Attachment to place : towards a strategy for architectural practice
Attributable to the legacy of modernism, within the Western world there exists a widespread and as-yet unresolved sense of detachment from place; our contemporary, globalized condition has given rise to a visually-biased, alienating architecture lacking in meaningful, human connections to site or context, relying all too often upon the abstract projections of the distant and objective architect rather than on the realities of needs and experience. Whilst the field of environmental psychology (within which the topic of place has been widely researched) has suggested theoretical solutions, few practical methods for the translation of relevant findings into strategies for the generation of place and attachment have been developed. Following a literature review, this thesis identifies two key place-related theories which address the characteristics and psychological impact of the physical environment (Attention Restoration Theory (Kaplan, 1995) and Canter’s place theory (1977)); in binding these theories to architectural practice, the author offers a strategy capable of aiding the successful understanding and creation of place. Providing an architectural brief to which this study responds, the practice-based element of this research focuses upon the context of North Lands Creative Glass, in Lybster, Caithness. Through a personal account of the impact of place and its manifestation within the author’s works in glass, mixed media and on paper, this thesis proceeds to promote an honest, haptic narrative between the architect and the realities of context and experience; in doing so, it illustrates how an architecture conducive to a sense of place and attachment could be understood and created successfully.