The Refuge: Essay on the Architecture of Retreat
And any retreat of the soul has, in our judgment, the figure of refuge
It is in the generous wake of Bachelard’s words where lies the essence of the refuge we seek. The ancestral call of the longed retreat-real or imagined-, home to peace, quiet and seclusion, is our cornerstone, with attributes of both insulation and reunion, be it with oneself or the environment. This essay proposes to go beyond the shelter itself and inquire into the reasons that make of retreat an unstoppable drive, a permanent scape or a simple and flattering transit. In an intended bidirectional relationship, the refuge is also a unique vantage point from which to look out to the historical and cultural conditions that make the concept, in its various formulations, an element of epochal uniqueness.
The refuge as an argument is the glass from which to observe a world of autocentric spheres that, in their ceaseless friction with their vicinities, best define the egotistical cultural paradigm in which we live in. In these lines we shall find a solid approach to the causes and sources of the systematic dismantling of community, and particularly, to the material expression of this modeling of self-consciousness. The broad cultural frame we propose involves considerable scalar jumps that guide the exploration from the interior of the encapsulated receptacle itself to its propagation by social and political orders.
To conclude, in a genealogical approach, with the exposure of its most visible historical manifestations, each one of them illustrated with well known examples of contemporary architectures of isolation. Thus, The Refuge also deepens inside the taxonomy of primary centrifugal impulses, trying to unravel the thickly interwoven threads that we have inherited.
The essay goes into these issues with the aim of improving the current mapping. We maintain that the object of research continues to lack so far a comprehensive and multifaceted vision. The Refuge seeks to provide with tools for those interested in the tensions on housing models generated by the contemporary dynamics here outlined. In its pages one shall find helpful elements for thought to delve into the experimental keys for a budding existential architecture in a dense and transiting world.