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Monumental Intimacy

Student: Lauren Yankovich
Advisor: Philip Plowright

It has once been said that the foreigner sees more than the local. 1 The foreigner investigates new territory with their eyes wide open, wanting to experience everything first hand. They examine the uncharted land with scrutiny; investigating every flower, every brick, and every alley. They hold an anticipation that around every turn is something new and exciting. They are able to see what most locals have become blind too.

As a foreigner investigating a new place, the sights, sounds and smells are all taken in. Every step brings with it a wave of never before known experiences. On a foreigner's journey, there is never a moment of regret. Even the most unexpected disasters have a way of deeply rooting themselves in the heart of the visitor. And, every once in awhile a foreigner stumbles upon a moment so profound it leaves a life-changing impression. These discoveries lie in a relationship between culture, social relations, and the built environment that allow architecture to be experienced on a deeper phenomenological level. These spaces are hauntingly intimate, yet echo emotions so vast nearly everyone interprets them the same way. It is that characteristic that makes them so beautiful and so vital to the built environment. It is that characteristic that makes them monumental.

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The term "monumental space" seems to bring with it a level of confusion as the word "monumental" is so often used in association with the terms "big", "grand", and "iconic." Yet, "monumental space" is not necessarily defined by any of those things. Instead of referring to its physical characteristics, the term "monumental space" refers to the idea that a vast human experience can be communicated through a moment of intimacy within the built environment. It is a subtle means of communicating with a profound impact.

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