ABSTRACT, EXPAND AND TEST THE SPATIAL OPERATIONS OF ‘PHENOMENAL TRANSPARENCY’ TO CRAFT LANDSCAPE EXPERIENCE
(This is an abbreviated refinement of my graduate thesis book Embody phenomenal transparency: The expanded application of Colin Rowe's phenomenal transparency in Landscape architecture at RISD. Date: May 17, 2019)
` This research revisits the architectural theory of phenomenal transparency by Colin Rowe and Robert Slutzky, by identifying spatial operations that create overlapping complexity and intentional ambiguity. In applying this theory to landscape architecture, the materials and phenomenon - vegetation, light, water, etc. - are always in a fluctuating and threshold condition. Phenomenologically, phenomenal transparency leaves possibilities for multiple perceptual spatial understandings. Therefore, this research aims for a potential mechanism to apply phenomenal transparency in landscape in order to dissect the intangible and perceptual quality of landscape phenomenon into measurable design parameters and articulated spatial operations.
Literature review and theoretical investigations frame the research question and inform the diagrammatic analysis; the design process as research helps to identify and synthesize the spatial operations and to refine the mechanism; and the physical representational model enables design outcomes to be tested on site with light and context. It’s an intertwined process of design as research, and research as design.
In terms of spatial operations, this research unfolds the abstract and conceptual theory and dissects the intangible and descriptive quality of phenomenal transparency into measurable design parameters and articulated spatial operations. It leads to a clarification of space, an implication of order and meaning from multiple references, and a way to synthesize, organize, and recompose space within current layering of collage-like context.
Phenomenologically, this research explores the potentials to apply phenomenal transparency in landscape architecture to craft encounters, guide acts of consciousness, create engaged and individualized experiences of place, ground us in “here and now” through spatializing temporal changes in time. These actions activate the mutual relationship between body, temporal perception, and space, providing a method to transform what is originally considered as outside and independent from us into part of us: a space not just unfolds with viewer's movement but is re-composed along with the movement and succession of phenomenon.
As the essence of landscape architecture is fundamentally phenomenological, moving forward, one approach of place-making might be spatializing the fluid boundary between us and our environment, tempering our instrumentalizing tendency with wonder through the openness created by phenomenal transparency.