Date of Award:

2014

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA)

Department:

Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning

Advisor/Chair:

Caroline Lavoie

Abstract

Studies suggest the need for landscapes of contemplation is as real as ever, despite the seeming lack of spaces designed to provide the possibility of transcendent connection. Reintroducing commonly held physical attributes and characteristics of contemplative spaces, repeated through space and time, is a fundamental and necessary way to reflect renewed interest in and need for integrated ways of knowing in the landscape. This study ultimately shows that the contemplative powers of a site exist on a spectrum and reinforces the belief that every landscape architecture project can successfully incorporate some degree of contemplative design, the individual benefits of which can be great, and as a community continue to be explored. Case studies of three sites reveal that certain combinations of criteria seem to have the potential of being more effective than others. This study contributes to the overarching goal of restorative design by addressing the user need of experiencing cosmologically aligned space, the presence of which contributes to a greater sense of place and, by extension, personal identity, orientation, perspective, and purpose. This study also adds to a postmodern understanding of contemplative space, that is, the notion of an ancient framework and its contemporary application and possible contributions to the current and future betterment of individuals and communities.

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