Tracing Spatial Values through Poem-Drawing
In this article, poem-drawing is proposed as an emotive tool to interweave observations of place, the subjective perception of the architect, and imagined spatial interventions. A composite of two artistic instruments, allows the subjective and the objective dimension in architecture to re-establish their dialogue. In this paper, we aim to exhibit how poem-drawing can: 1. bring urban history into presence by verse-image storytelling; 2. discern how emotions (memories, desires, fears, dreams) related to a place build the urban collective memory; 3. encourage a design approach, sensitive towards the site-specific inherent beauty.
Taking the old city core of Ohrid as a case study, we examined its reflection in/through the eyes of three (imaginary) interlocutors: a young pregnant woman in 1944, an eight-year-old girl in 2018 and an old lady in 2084. Through a process of poem-drawing-discussing, we tried to inhabit their personas by writing and drawing our imagined experiences of their storylines. Each cycle of poem-drawings was followed by comparison and evaluation of the written and drawn results according to their relevance for a future spatial intervention. By comparing poem-drawings from three time periods, we aimed to question whether it is possible to reveal which spatial qualities remain absolute, timeless, derived from the specificity of a particular site?
With this experimental process, we aimed to find ways of tracing urban history, and to capture site-specific qualities that are difficult to measure by conventional means. By using our own embodied experience, our imagination, and by discussions on our findings, our investigation brought into play stories of the ancestors and the descendants of the citizens of Ohrid.
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