Editor’s Note: Mayank is traveling from India to attend the NewEarth Festival in June, 2019. Learn more about all that is offered at this epic event: https://newearthfestival.com/
Architecture, they say, is the art of defining spaces. It is the means of shaping environments. The spaces and environments in turn dictate our way of life. What is a way of life? What is this space? Why and how does a space control and affect the entities ranging from individuals, to societies, cultures, philosophies… to the planet and the universe.
Architecture – A Way of life
“We shape our buildings
and afterwards our buildings shape us,” mused Winston Churchill.
Architecture, is not just expression; it is a provision. A provision of shelter and cover, of creation and form, for various quantities and kind.
Human beings are creatures of habitat. They seek shelter, spending 80% of their lives indoors. The buildings we spend our time sleeping, eating, working, studying, talking, and breathing in, are not just an enclosure, but the third skin to our living bodies.
Take an example of an urban centre as an architectural configuration that shapes our social life:
In order to gain a little insight into this relationship between the physical pattern of built cities and the life that takes place therein, consider a simple intersection of roads. Settlements have often emerged at crossroads, and not just roads but also other paths of access – waterways, railways and nowadays even airports. There is not much interesting about this intersection, other than the fact that it produces a moment of centrality – a place, which is reached by everyone that passes through these roads, a place of encounters and exposure. We can imagine this place giving rise to human decisions to locate certain economic activities there – a post-office, a restaurant, a place of employment and so on. As a result of such decisions, people start to shape the built environment – they create buildings at the crossroads to house their activities. But where these activities are placed is affected by the initial geometry of roads. By placing their activities in the environment, people not only shape the settlement, but the pre-existing geometry of the settlement also helps shape people’s decisions and behaviour.
Similarly, contemporary architecture has always been in response to the human needs. The man, has always been the centre of design. Comfort, footfall, anthropology and much more in the physical realm has been considered and experimented with in various ways throughout the modern age.
Our ancestors, undoubtedly, considered the physical aspects in designing and creating spaces. But there is one important factor that marks the beginning of space-making and the modern man has unfortunately overlooked – the Concept of Energy, Time and Effect. In sanskrit its called, urja, kaal & bhaav.
Furthermore, the sense of wellbeing generated by a living socio-geometric pattern is shared across distinct times and cultures. From the ancient past to the modern times, man has been experimenting with various architectural approaches, according to the era, the specific functions and his own level of consciousness. Nowadays, in spite of all the technological evolution and tools in our hands, there are still so many unanswered questions regarding the use and purpose of ancient temples and megalithic monuments. How were they built, why were they built at locations with specific properties and with the use of particular material?
Why did the ancient people and later mystics and masons spend so much time, energy and resources to build these structures? Was it merely for divine worship or were there other functions more complex in nature? In order to begin decoding the answers, there are three distinct layers of such a structure:
1. Location on earth’s surface and properties of ground
2. Geometry of building and properties of the materials
3. Relationship to celestial bodies and astronomical events
Similarly, on appreciating and aligning our spaces and lifestyles with the natural energies, we not only imbibe peace and synergy in living, in return, but also create a domino effect for a dynamized tomorrow. There is a dire need in today’s time to build spaces and structures- designed and decorated in response to the sky, water, and vegetation that surround us and our cities. We cannot deny the fact that architecture is a layer that disguises and belies a complex fabric, revealing the wonders of the cosmos. And architects who justify nature’s call, create healthy structure, provide energetic living, and in turn contribute in making harmonized energy functions on this highly-charged planet of Earth.
Space, Scale, Sensation and Effect
Famous architect Bernard Tschumi quotes in his book, Architecture and Disjunction:
1. Is the perception of space common to everyone?
2. If perceptions differ, do they constitute different worlds that are the products of one’s past experience?
3. If space consciousness is based on one’s respective experience, then does the perception of space involve a gradual construction rather than a ready-made schema?
4. Does this gradual construction contain elements that have a degree of invariance, such as archetypes?
5. Are spatial archetypes inevitably of a universal elementary nature, or can they include personal idiosyncrasies?
6. If space is a basic a priori category of consciousness, independent of matter, is it an instrument of knowledge?
7. Is an instrument of knowledge the medium of experience?
Architecture isn’t just about the appearance of buildings but how they’re experienced as places to be in. Multi-sensory ambience, spatial sequential experience and embodied spirit resonate in the human soul. If buildings don’t also nourish the soul, the interaction between the occupant and the building space, lack harmonized co-existence.
Spatial sensations produce spatial concepts, and that the dominating shapes and forms of the architecture of a time therefore reflect the dominance of a particular inherited sensation of space.
The unifying psychological make-up of a populace thus leads to spatial concepts that form an architecture which reflects these concepts and contain symbols that possess ‘satisfying powers’ valued by the majority of people of that particular time and place.
Starting with pre-civilization, one can observe that the concept of geometry was undeveloped. Their geometric knowledge, migration through space, and method of dwelling was almost exclusively influenced by nature and movement. Next comes the development of calendar and circular cultures. The ability to trace simple shapes in sand gave the first signs of geometrical hierarchy, and their observance of the cosmos allowed them to begin forecasting the rising of the sun, seasons, and astronomical events. A defining parameter was the worship of the world axis. This coincided with the ability to live in larger settlements and organize themselves in a system of grouped circular structures.
Take an example of Historic Indian architecture: Temples and palaces show distinct concepts in planning. Majorly, providing leeway for individual perceptions and experiences, they have played with interesting concepts of Kinaesthetic and semiotic movements in space-making and building interiors. As a wanderer carves his own way in a building, made in response to the need of the hour, channelizing energies and power, his experience speaks for him.
Spaces hence become the mediums of resonance of energies being emitted- from humans, surrounding vegetation, cosmos, earth, materials, light, sound, wind, and more. The factors co-existing at once, from the tiniest of breathing organism to the largest of crowds of people, all at once, affect and co-create a space, changing in power, effect, frequency and time.
Architecture, in the sense of tweaking perceptions also plays with the energies. A manipulation of energies, change and generation, is a constant exchange, a constant process.
One would be doubtlessly pleased to learn that neuroscientists and psychologists have found plenty of evidence to back this up. We now know, for example, that buildings and cities can affect our mood and well-being, and that specialised cells in the hippocampal region of our brains are attuned to the geometry and arrangement of the spaces we inhabit.
But what if the intangible energies that create and travel amongst these spaces were the actual controllers of our way of life?
So now, is architecture itself an energy, leading our way of life?
Energetic Architecture – A Global View
Energetic Architecture is a universal pattern of energetics that weaves together science, religion, and medical traditions from around the world. The human body in itself is an ecosystem. A man standing on a precast bridge built to connect river banks on either side of the river, is an algorithm of an ecosystem in itself. A man standing on a wooden bridge tied loosely with jute ropes to massive tree trunks again on either side of the river, is a different one itself. A child standing on either of the bridges would be different from a woman, an old man, a successful businessman, a poverty-stricken old man, a farmer, a teacher, a happy woman, a disappointed girl, and so on.
An entire ecosystem, made of ever existing aspects – the energies, vibrations, inherent powers, radiations, and exchanges along with the materials used, the land/plot a structure is made on, the form of construction, the temperature it holds, the natural light that falls on it, the breeze that blows across it, the direction and orientation, and ultimately the user that uses it, changes, with time, with purpose, and with use. This ecosystem with its matter and use, can be manipulated, to form the most effective of atmospheres, to create benefits and impacts, for synergized living and well-being. A harmonized process, a balanced one.
Historic evidence proves that architecture’s role has often been to cosmicise, i.e. to connect human existence with the universe, including its imagined creator(s) and governor(s). Ancient people first tried to establish links with the heaven(s) in the form of sacred pillars or obelisks, and to secure a habitat for their gods, and only then looked for a permanent shelter for themselves. Spatial arrangements of sacred buildings and human settlements often represented the comprehended universe, in order to secure a link between macrocosm and microcosm. The Ptolemaist cosmos influenced Aristotle’s aesthetics and, with that, architectural space, which – as Greek and Roman temples bear witness to – was limited. Judeo-Christian comprehension of the universe was primarily temporal, which prompted the longitudinal arrangement of church interiors and an intense involvement of time in the perception of space.
Buddhism’s main contribution to modern architecture, as bindu, which is a central point of manifestation as described in the Vedas, lies in its positive view of the energy void, as absolute nothingness, the sunyata. This view easily translates into architectural space, and to space which is not the absence of material – gaps between columns and walls – but a positive entity, a content, a starting point for thought and architectural design.
What if modern architecture too was defined as a synthesis of these two concepts, i.e. interplay between the bodily character of ancient architecture to human bodies and the spaciousness of the sacred geometry to the cosmos. What if these principles were looked in the light of practical understanding and not just religious practices?
Naduhl – Contemporary Energetic Architecture
Human beings are creatures of habitat. Seeking shelter, we return day after day to our home’s embrace. Is it just a cluster of building block rectangles or something more? Is it just an enclosure or the third skin to the energized soul of the human being? Earth being a web of magnetic fields and energy systems, the constant energy exchange takes place innumerably and uncontrollably. There is energy exchange in the sound of the waves, speed of the breeze, freshness in the rain water, shade of the trees and so on. We cannot control the pollution of energies in the outdoors, but indoors (the spaces we create and dwell in), can be manipulated, transformed and shaped into formative places of human well-being.
Naduhl, is nothing but this process. A process of creating energetic environments. A process of creating balance. A form of architecture that is in harmony with nature, and in turn in harmony with the natural ecosystem that the human being is. It is a responsible shelter, a safe space. Naduhl is synergized living, of nature, humans and additions in the form of the built environment. It is the innovative process of going hand-in-hand with inner core of human energies with the true nature, of collaborating with everything that exists to create a synthesized version. For nature, by nature, from nature. For the user, by the user, from the user. An individual process differing with each individual as per their needs. And to incorporate Naduhl in our design every day, of architecture or simple products, sites or cities, the process is further distributed, specific to human bio-energies, natural elements, professional users and emotional needs. It’s a process to build not just shelter spaces, but spaces that speak, breathe, sense and live with us.
Naduhl guides us to build spaces not just to live in, but to live with. Naduhl makes architecture alive, it becomes the Jiva, and generates Prana, which is the life force. Naduhl treats buildings, architecture, environment and life as one entity. One whole entity. It treats architecture as an extension of life. It strikes a balance, channelizes, shields and evolves, with energies within us. While we move within these spaces, and sleep, eat, work, love… it harnesses these energies and gives it back to us, in the form of an effective way of life.
In the contemporary world, we spend most of the day inside buildings, in enclosed spaces that run on electricity, with air circulated through compressors and so on. The natural flow of energy is diluted and contaminated with various irregular radiations and magnetic fields. NADUHL, is this devising of designs where one listens carefully to the natural flow of energy and emotion that is unique to every project. The building listens to the needs and desires of the person using the space. It listens to the house and the land. A sense of where the natural positive energies lie, is derived. It works with nature not against her. Within the parameters of sound construction and consistent quality, environments that bring in new opportunities for higher energy potential are created; and nature does the rest. Something that is old and tired, in need of refreshment too can be tackled. This includes the user’s state of mind concerning how they “feel” about the space they live in. One can attune into the harmonic opportunities that reside within the space they live in.
Naduhl is this holistic design of spaces that promote the health and well-being of their users. Naduhl is a performance art where designs for new homes and renovations conjure unseen forces for the benefit of all involved. Working with the ever-playful, creative, dynamic and subtle energies of the Universal Flow, dark spaces become high energy, light-filled environments. The art comes from courting nature’s playful muse. When we design and build with these thoughts in mind great things are possible. Health, happiness and peace come to mind.
Who could ask for more?
Naduhl as a form of Energetic Architecture is the best way to empower your space and bring you in higher harmony with your building and your environment; and to determine the best possible way to build and ensure the energetic equilibrium that goes within. The scope of Naduhl’s work is to connect architectural design with health and wellbeing; through state-of-the-art science and technology it aims to help one embrace the space and feel better, to live longer and be happier.
Naduhl is a formulated blend of various philosophies and scientific research in order to link Architecture with Geophysics and Biomedicine. It is a synthetic process and practical application of different parameters, aiming to affect our lives in positive and meaningful ways.
Implementation of Naduhl, hence is correction and generation of effective human psychological and physiological well-being with the help of Architecture.
And this responsibility of shaping the right environments for a mindful living, lies in the hands of architects and architects only. With Naduhl and its application, an architect not only creates mediums of resonance for various energies but taps into the human consciousness to the fullest of potentials for a healthy synergized living, for a better today and a hopeful tomorrow.
Some Cosmological Roots of Modern Architecture, Rudolf Klein.
Sevtsuk, A. “How we shape our cities, and then they shape us”, MAJA: the Estonian Architectural Review, 2-2012 (72), pp. 10-15, 2012.
1994. Architecture and Disjunction, Cambridge, MIT Press – Bernard Tschumi
Spatial Perception and Architecture, TMD Studio, Medium.com
Balance and Proportion, Healing Home Designs www.healinghomedesigns.com
Design & Development discipline at the School of Science & Design Innovation