Eternal Return – Temple of Time: Observing Cycles of Time in Nature
Potomac River, Washington, DC
37,500 sf Nature Observatory
DESCRIPTION: The contemporary aesthetics of speed and consumerism have collapsed, compressed, and fragmented the human experience of time. In some ways, humans have lost their capacity to dwell in time. Yet nature’s repetitive cycles and processes help to slow down, silence, and suspend time. In other words, nature reveals the sacred character of time. In order to regain the experiential space of time, its depth and plasticity, architecture must provide an environment where humans can once again observe the repetitive cycles of nature’s elements. Eternal Return is a manifesto declaring the need for a new architecture; it is an architectural expression that rekindles the human experience of time to satisfy the existential longing for paradise at the beginning of time, in illo tempore. Thus, the project is more than a museum or observatory of time – it is a temple of time. The design incorporates various natural elements to reveal time to the senses. The elements include: 1) the earth’s connection to geological time, 2) trees with seasonal time, 3) light for diurnal time, 4) sky with its astronomical time, 5) wind for meteorological time, 6) moss and evergreens with their biological time, 7) copper for the time of oxidation, and 8) tides as both buoyancy and water time. Each element plays a key role to both reveal and suspend time in different ways. Eternal Return is one step closer towards a new architecture; a building that provides an oasis for humans to escape the chaos of contemporary consumerism and (re)discover time by (re)connecting with nature.
STUDIO: Advisor: Julio Bermudez – The Catholic University of America, Fall 2012