Mysticism in the Experience of Architecture
Furze, Rodney Cresswell
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
In this thesis I argue that architecture can sometimes evoke a sense of the numinous, or a sense of God. In volume one, beginning with Christopher Alexander I set out his theory of centres, and his argument that ‘the Blazing One’ can be known in and through building. I then turn to my own account of this experience, which draws especially on the Neo-Platonic tradition. In the second chapter I set out the aspects of architecture which seem to me to make possible a sense of the numinous in the building, and I illustrate how this might be achieved in buildings of my own. Chapters three and four are analyses of four great buildings, two sacred and two secular, which in my view evoke the numinous or mystical. The fifth and last chapter proposes a Temple for the ‘Universal Order’, a group interested in Neo Platonism. In the submitted plans and sketches for this, I hope, show how a sense of the numinous could be achieved. Since an architect’s language is through drawing, a large part of this thesis comprises drawings and illustrations. In volume two, these, with commentary, will support my argument that architecture can in itself, speak of God.
Volume two of the thesis, containing images, can be downloaded as a zip file. You can check the contents of the zip file by reading the document 'Vol 2 title and contents'. This file replaces the contents page in the zip file. NB, this is a large file and may take some minutes to download.
PhD in Theology