Developing the Pattern Matrix as a Guide for Creating the Extraordinary in Place: A Study of Phenomenological Differences in Design Principles between the Sacred and Secular in Architecture

By Arsenio Rodrigues.

Published by The Design Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The World Health Organization, health-care professionals, and public equate good health not merely to the absence of disease, but also to the presence of positive well-being. The traditional biomedical model of health has given way to the biopsychosocial model, which advocates a greater holistic approach towards health, considering not only our biological, but also our social, psychological, physiological and spiritual health. The places we inhabit have the potential of contributing significantly to our health. Desacralization of place, however, has made it increasingly difficult for modern societies to rediscover existential dimensions of the sacred that were once readily accessible to man of archaic societies in everyday places. When specific characteristics are uplifted in place-making, the resulting place can be transformed from merely being secular to becoming sacred. How then, could architecture be addressed, such that everyday places support our spiritual health? What are the contributing factors? Can they be objectified? The purpose of this paper is to explore phenomenological differences in design principles between the sacred and secular in architecture. Rothko Chapel and Contemporary Arts Museum (both located in Houston, Texas) were selected as case studies for the research. Qualitative data was collected by means of focus group discussions at both settings. The analyzed data was synthesized to: first, explore differences in experiences elicited at the sacred and secular buildings; and second, explore how or in what ways, architecture impacts sacredness (if at all) at the selected buildings. Based on data gathered and analyzed in the research, a pattern matrix and design guidelines for the meaningful inclusion of place-making patterns in architecture were produced. The pattern matrix and design guidelines are intended to assist architects in creating everyday architecture that is extraordinary.

Keywords: Place-making, Place-making Patterns, Place-making Pattern Matrix, Creating Extraordinary Architecture, Sacred Place-making, Phenomenology of Place, Design Principles, Sacred Architecture, Secular Architecture

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp.85-122. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 8.872MB).

Dr. Arsenio Rodrigues

Assistant Professor of Architecture, School of Architecture, Prairie View A&M University, College Station, Texas, USA

Dr. Arsenio Rodrigues is an Assistant Professor of Architecture at Prairie View A&M University (PVAMU), where he teaches Design and Special Projects in Architecture. He has previously taught Design Foundations, Design Communication Media, and Photography-Digital Imaging at Texas A&M University (TAMU). He graduated with a B. Arch. Degree from Goa University (India) and completed his M. Arch. and Ph.D. Degrees from TAMU. He is LEED certified and holds the Certificate in Health Systems and Design from TAMU. Dr. Rodrigues is a registered architect in India (Council of Architecture) and an Intern Development Program (IDP) candidate with National Council of Architectural Registration Board (NCARB) in USA. He is also a Fellow of the Graduate Teaching Academy, Center for Teaching Excellence at TAMU. His research interest lies in the theory of place-making with special emphasis on archetypal design principles.


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