Monday, May 28, 2012

The Architecture of Re-Membering

Architecture is made of memory. The slope of a roof, the shape of a window, and the color of a door contain the record of the minds that conceived them and the hands that crafted them. This is never so clear as in the memorials that honor a person, group or event. At first glance they honor an achievement that took place in a particular moment in time. Looking deeper, we can see the courage those individuals expressed when they were thrown into the whirlpool of powerful and far reaching forces. Even deeper, we can see ordinary people, like ourselves, who responded to great challenges in extraordinary ways. Seeing how they brought forth their hidden strengths calls us to bring forth our hidden strengths.

These encounters with memorials are moments of re-membering. They counter the events that dis-membered our minds, bodies and cultures with healing powers of attention and care. Offering a handful of flowers before a head stone not only honors the person memorialized there. It also offers the ache in our souls a gesture for reweaving the torn fabric of our lives into a new and more human whole.

Since every building and designed object is made of memory, every place can become a memorial for re-membering our lives and the world around us. The words on this screen, for example, are made of eons of human struggle to develop a language that re-members our connections across the great divides between us. The table and chair at a cafe offers a setting to stop in the midst of a hectic day and re-member who we are and sense our interdependence with the web of living. In this way, every place can become a place of re-membering, a place to recollect the fragments of our lives into a revitalized whole.   

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