Zen and Architecture….Being Here and Now:
There is an undeniable acceleration in American culture. A “need for speed.” We are continuously trying to get somewhere, either literally or theoretically. We want to squeeze in a workout at the gym before we get home, or before work…and the quicker and more efficient the workout, the better. Now there is even the new vibrating machine, and you stand on the plate and within 15 minutes your muscles are toned. We want to rush through the drive-thru between kids’ soccer games, because we don’t really have to time to sit and have lunch, or dinner for that matter. And theoretically, we are trying to get somewhere better, a better job, better home, better car…..
It is more and more difficult to just stop….to just sit in the moment…So instead of being present, we are either in the past, regretting our past decisions….or we are in the future, thinking or worrying about what’s next. Experiencing the moment evades us.
It gets more and more difficult to pause. And architecture needs to help us achieve this. It needs to offer us, to invite us, to be present. When you walk into a room, and are confronted by a beautiful view perfectly framed from that spot, this is a moment to pause. That is the architecture’s invitation for your presence in the moment. And truly timeless architecture repeatedly invites us to experience it. No matter how many times we visit…we feel its magnetic pull for our attention.
Zen is the practice of being in the moment, present and of one mind. Quieting the mind’s distracted nature is at the core of Zen. In architecture, it offers us simplicity, tranquility, stillness and cohesion.