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«CSAAR (7: 2010: Amman) Sustainable Architecture and Urban Development \ Edited by Steffen Lehmann, Husam Al Waer, Jamal AI-Qawasmi. Amman: The Center ...»

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(Rotenberg. 1993) terms them, are similarly textured by multiple layer~. 01' everyday meanings and remains of history. When both personalized alld col1ectivized meanings intersect, pi ace meanings are enhanced.

Exploring meanings of place has produced analysis throllgh multi- disciplinury perspectives. Anthropologists (Richardson, 1982), social psychologists (Altman.

1975). and architects (Rapoport, 1977) have contributed diverse perspecüw:l to the understanding 01' the importance of place in everyda} lives. Whilc varied.

they attempt to bring together a range of voices. inciuding geographicaL sociological and planning perspectives, and embodYll1g the geographical and sociological imaginations to understand the meanings 01' place. By explonng the meanings in place along these various axes, it is evident that there is no smgular meaning assigned to a place nor a singular way of deriving those meanings.

4 The DNA of Place: Man, Culture, Nature, and Space

D:"-JA is a nucleic acid present in the cells of all living organisms. It is often referred to.as the "building blocks 01' life," since DNA contains the genetic instmctions used in the development and functioning of all known living organisms.

The information in DNA is stored as a code made IIp 01' rour chemical bases: adenine (A), guanine (G), cytosine (C), and thymine (T). All the biological instmctions 01' a human being can be written with these four letters. The order, or seqllence, 01' these four bases determines the intormation available for building and maintaining an organism, similar to the way in which letters 01' the alphabet appear in a certain order to form words and sentences, (see Figure 2-a).

The DNA segments that carry this genetic information are called genes. A gene is normally a stretch 01' DNA that holds the information to build and Cylosin@c Guanine maintain an organism's cells and pass genetic traits to Figure 2-a: The offspring. All organisms have many genes DNA bases corresponding to many different biological traits, such as eye color or number oflimbs.(Wikipedia, 2010)

All genetic code is spelled out with just four chemical letters, or bases:

adenine (A), thymine (T), cytosine (C) and guanine (G). These pair up, (A) with (T) and (C) with (G). The human genome has between 2.8 and 3.5 billion base pairs. Decoding the DNA of organisms and discovering the rules that govern it~;

systems enable researchers successfully to enhance the conservation of many animals and plants on the earth lIsing genetic engineering technologies.Building on this success, the paper poses the question: why not in urban sustainability?

Sustainable Arehiteeture and Urban Development 311 Therefore, the paper adopts the hypothesis that conserving the DNA of plaees will ensure its sustainability, Place is the philosophical aspeet of architeetural theory that reeognizes the existence 01' man and the spirit of nature. The ways in which Man builds define an understanding of how his li fe coexist with Nature. The way in which refeleet our Culture and experienee our natural surroundings ean be defined by the Spaeem wh ich we live. The nature ofplaee meanings could be enhan through a deep understanding of place genetie map.

Like Adenine, Guanine, Cytosine, and Thymine in the

biological DNA, the tour bases of the DNA of the pi ace:

man. culture, nature, and spaee, (see Figure 2-b). These bases need to coexist in a meaningful way in order for an experience of place to oeeur. The purpose of this paper in exploring the DNA of place is in an attempt to reveal the eharaeteristics of these four bases and the interaction between them, whieh must be present in order for a place to be experieneed as meaningful. However, "PI ace" itself, is not a theory, it is the starting point from which all design for built environments should begin, and the start point for Figure 2-b: The urban sustainability to be achieved. (T., Marilyn, 2007) DNAofPlace MAN: Place is deeply rooted in the relationship between man and nature and how we t'xperience this relationship. Ir is always Man's desire 10 understand about himself and his existenee that gives life meaningi. Architectural theory also shares this same interest in developing an understanding to the meaning of our existence and examines how we can use it to create buildings and cities that enhance this aspect ofhuman life.

However. architeeture, through its ages, has made many and different attempts to deal with human experienee and meaning. In Pre- historie periods, architeeture was a relation between Man and Nature. Aneient arehitecture (Egyptian, Greek, Roman) was schemed by man's relationship with the universe and il paid honor to the gods and the rulers of their time. Arehiteeture of these times illustrates the relation between Man and God. Starting from Renaissance age, arehiteeturc i8 a relation between Man and Science. The 20th century arehitecture is described as the architeeture of Man and Eeonomy. Rut it wasn 't until the early 1960's that human value onee again entered architeetural theory.

Modernism, in its attempt to "repair the fracture between thought and feeling", (Schulz, 2000), failed to relate built-form with the environment and beeame an architccture of image. The movements that followed; high-tech structuralism that was intended to satisfy thought, postmodernism that was intended to express teeling and deeonstruetivism that go against all me:mings, never managed to complete the necessary components for an arehitecture of meaning,(see Figure3).





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rational decisions in the universe and define his own meaning. However. in the shed of this philosophy, place comes to mean aspace with experience added in.

Through interaction with aspace, individuals are able to develop a sense of place. "Experiences" means perceiving, doing, thinking, and feeling".

As existential space begins with the environment, so where nature does not satisfy our human existential needs, we modify it to suit - constmcting our own physical world that represents our personal existential beliefs, (Schulz, 2000).

Thus. what i5 important to leam from the study of existentialism is an understanding tllat the hUlllan aspect of architecture must also be considered separate from the objects that make up our environments, so that the human experience of place Is not Figure 4: Modification of environment to artificially imposed, (see Figure 4). suit existential beliefs- building process in a stable Bambara-Mali Complementary to the study of existentialism (which added the experience dimension to spaces), it is important to highlight the hUlllan experience that would affect those spaces and turn them to places. The interpretive study of human experience is embedded in another philosophy called Phenomenology.

(Schulz, 2000). Phenomenology deals with the phenomena that make up our physical world. There are tangible phenomena such as rocks, water, trees, sun, moon, stars, animals and houses - and there are intangible phenomena such as our feelings. Everything else: atoms, molecules and data, are abstractions they are tools that serve other purposes. The concept of place is concerned directly with the content of our existence, rather than the tools. The aim of Sustainable Arcbitecture and UIban Development 313 phenomenology is to examine and clarify human situations, events, meanings, and experiences as they spontaneously occur in tbe course of daily life.

CULTURE: includes tangible things like tools, clothes, shelter, and intangible things such as beliefs, ideas, behaviors, and practiees. Cultural expression in plaee means the physical representation of a eommunity identity that demands to be passed on to others, (www.humaneulture.net).

In exploring the relationship between plaee and eulture, we identify two intereonnections: first, that plaee has its own eulture, a charaeter and personality that distinguish it from other places;

and second, that people identify with a plaee, (see Figure5). Feel a sense ofbelonging and attaehment to i1. The latter may derive from the former, Figure 5: Traditioual houses though it may quite as weH exist independently of in one of Indian settlement the other.

The eu1ture of man- made plaee is determined by the study of both tangible eomponents: Natural Systems; Land Uses, Patterns, Spatial Organization; Visual Relationships; Topography; Cireulation Systems; Water; Features, Natural and Constmeted; Stmetures and Buildings; Spatial Charaeter, Form and Seale;

Voeabulary of Site; Furnishings and Objeets. These arc the tangible forms, features and overall eharacter of the pi ace cultural landseape that expresses its spirit. Alongside these tangible elements, there arc other intangible eomponents and values that arc nested within plaee, (www.humaneulture.net).

These rooted intangible values arc expressed in plaees that are used for:

Festivals, Traditional musie, performanee; Worship and ritual praetiees;

Traditional praetiees; Gathering plaee for native plants; Gathering plaee for eraft materials; leonie shared eonununity plaee of memory and present use. Culture establishes an atmosphere, contributing to place form and substanee and give it its eharaeter. There are thrce aspects that ean be eonsidered as faetors that affect the eharaeter of plaees. These aspeets being: use, eustom and sty le.

Use of a plaee affeets how it is formed and ean determine its eharaeter. Use is not only in reference to a partieular function that the space is to conform to; it is also related to how we move about in the world and how we experienee place how we use it, (see Figure 6). These other aspeets of use pertain to arrival (patlllentranee), departure, eneounter (experienee/atmosphere), meeting Figure 6: Different uses of spaee (social encounter), clarifieation (context), in Upper Egypt settlements retreat and isolation.

Dalia Taha & Gasser Gamil Customs: are responses to the traditions that are found within a locality or culture, or by the vemacular of a particular environment. How a building is structured or constructed should be characteristic 01' Figure 7: Customs and traditions of building affect character of place the local traditions. materials and customs (see Figure 7).

This is seen more evidently in historical and traditional pI aces and also in some countries such as Rome, Spain, and ltaly~ where the traditions of building and the use 01' material have clearly defined the character of the buildings and places oftheir time, (www.humanculture.net).

Style: also is considered to be a guide to the culture of place, and an aspect that affect its character. Style retlects a language that can be understood from country to country.

Because it reflects common meanings or those values faund in our universal conscious, (see Figure 8). Style is composed Figure 8: Different styles give of forms that are used to create a new difterent languages and meanings totality, as has been evident in the classic ofplaces architecture.

Place culture is therefore stemmed from the cultural dialogue between the place users with their surrounding buHt environment. It comprises all physical and perceptual features of the environment, and it is part of the individual's ongoing processes of emotion and self-regulation that may invo!ve one's sense of self. Meaningful place-making is to develop the sphere where conscious retlection takes place. Such sphere should aim to enhance local memories and experience and makes it explicit and understood by inhabitants as weil as other users. A disruption in the continuity of experience will lead to what so ca lied place-Iess-ness.

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It exists for human lite and we must therefore live in harmony with it. We interact with the environment through the creation of built form, or man-made Sustainable Architecture and Urban Development place, so that the place could be described as a concrete term for environment.

How man-made place exists in relation to the natural world determines the quality of place and demonstrates a respect between man and nature. We creates our built environments to dweil, between heaven and earth. Therefore man made pi ace must have structure, it must have a sense of enclosure that allows it to relate to its environment. (Schulz, 2000), identifies three ways that man-made places are related to nature.

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