|Other than chance encounters,|
we can only encounter in reality
what we have previously encountered in fantasy.
y 6 weeks playing at being an architecture student, in the 1981 Harvard Career Discovery Program, was back in the era when architectural design was still a hand craft (T-square and drafting table...). I had some talent for expressing my ideas in "mechanical drawing", but my lack of freehand drawing facility proved an insuperable barrier to getting into a prestige M.Arch. program (i.e., a school that had graduate dorms, so that one could devote oneself to studying instead of also having to cope with logistics of "living").
My interest in architecture continued, however, and when I bought a Macintosh Mac Plus computer in 1990, one of the applications I bought was Claris CAD, which cost half as much as the computer (ca. $600). My aptitude for "mechanical drawing", and my experience making computer graphic art with a primitive IBM mainframe-based CAD program (YDS), carried over into quickly becoming adept with Claris CAD. It became a tool I could think with (as opposed to being an opaque medium with which I would have to struggle to get any ideas "through" -- like freehand drawing, or, in the computer world, OOP, Java, the Windows API...).
I like to engage with things that interest me from many different perspectives. Consequently, when I enrolled in a psychoanalytic training program (1990-94), one of the ways I engaged with that subject was by designing an office for a psychotherapist -- thinking about how to make it as good as possible a place to do therapy, imagining what it would be like to do therapy in such a space, etc. I had hoped this creative approach to thinking about psychoanalysis would appeal to the training institute's faculty, since psychoanalysis is largely "about" imagination -- but it didn't. (The resulting design is reproduced above. On 24 July 1998, a graphic artist at Grolier Inc. scanned a printout from the Apple Imagewriter II dot-matrix printer I had when I did the design, to generate a .gif file; I apologize that the image-quality is somewhat compromised due to the original having been not exactly "aligned straight" on the scanner.)
he picture is turned on its side, to fit the computer screen better. The site for the office is a small plot of urban land, 40 by 30 feet, with the back and both sides "blind", and the front (bottom, as shown) side open to the street (butting right up to the sidewalk). The main entrance is recessed, so that persons entering and leaving have some shelter from the weather, as well as the symbolism of a "transitional space" (ref.: D.W. Winnicott). A second door allows service access without intruding on therapist or patient. To relieve the claustrophobic enclosure of the site, there are two interior "dry gardens": rock gardens in the Japanese style (Ryoanji, etc. -- or perhaps a moss garden, like Saihoji). The therapist has a small kitchen / business office, where he or she can work and relax, away from the patients, and which a bookkeeper could enter and leave without intruding on therapy sessions. The waiting room doubles as a group therapy room (conference or lecture room, etc.).
In general, I tried to "pack" as rich a variety of spaces and perspectives as possible into the small area; this intention was greatly enhanced by placing the big (waiting / group...) room on an angle. I don't think this rotation is simply a [postmodernist] "trick", which, once one saw it, would become stale, like "yesterday's surprise ending" in a movie. It really did enable me to use the space more effectively, and add more nuances, which, hopefully, would continue to yield satisfaction, through repeated contemplation and study over the many years of a patient's analysis, and the therapist's whole lifetime.
In doing the design, I imagined myself working in the space: treating patients, greeting them in the waiting room, getting a snack from the refrigerator in the back office, looking at the gardens in the early morning and late evening, before the first patient of the day and after the last... -- and I felt it would be a nice place to do good work. I especially thought the views of the dry gardens, from the therapy room, the waiting / group room, and from the little "business office", would be refreshing and encourage imagination, through the peacefulness of the raked gravel, with perhaps a few good rocks and or small trees (there are even smaller dry gardens in some Japanese temples). (See my Leisure is the Basis of Culture page for more information about these aspirations.)
I hope you find some pleasure and value in this design.
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