Post #9: EDGZ – Zen-blime
Eric Tse
December 16, 2021

Z, the last letter of EDGZ, is the experiential principle, which stands for 'Zen-blime', a portmanteau of Zen and Sublime. Zen evokes the sense of sanctuary and repose we all seek, and Sublime evokes that sense of awe, effected by thoughtfully articulated architectural elements, where you cannot readily determine how something was built, leading to mystery and depth.

Here the essential calming character of Zen evokes the spatial and experiential qualities leading to that feeling of sanctuary so desirable in a turbulent and ever-changing world. Light, materiality, and space – these are the tools to craft a kind of architectural chiaroscuro to escape the busy and loud world.

As for the Sublime, it is invoked through aesthetic philosophy but reinterpreted to serve as the framework for exploring architectural tectonics as ascribed to fundamental design elements such as light and materiality. From Wikipedia: “In aesthetics, the sublime;(from the Latin sublīmis) is the quality of greatness, whether physical, moral, intellectual, metaphysical, aesthetic, spiritual, or artistic. The term especially refers to a greatness beyond all possibility of calculation, measurement, or imitation.” This is a bit grandiose – in my interpretation I would simply say that the Sublime means to elicit some feeling of awe, as expressed through architectural tectonics.**
** Side note on tectonics, an architectural term: I have heard it described as the art of construction. I would define art as part craft and part vision. Thus, tectonics can be thought of as understanding the elements of building (materials, mass, space, void, light) to craft a vision or concept. The simplest example of this would be the floating wall look, often found in museums, achieved by mudding in a D300 Z-shaped trim at the base of a drywall partition to create a shadow line and make it appear to hover slightly above the floor.
The sense of awe comes from observing an architectural phenomenon articulated tectonically in a way that cannot easily be discerned, leading to a sense of mystery and depth. Viewed as a form of art, the craft of creating spatial experiences with massing, light, and materials should be in service of a larger concept or parti.
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