2014-03-29

3 Ways Architecture Tells the Difference between Similar Beaches. Project Place.


How do we experience the spirit of place of of a given site? We know how to create place. And here are 3 ways architecture can manifest the quality of a place. Christian Norberg Schulz has spoken about Genus Loci, sense of place that comes from the local activities, the social economy of place, but what can be much objective in the way which is formal, structural, existential and architectural? We have an objective view on it.

In project place,  beach is selected to be a constant due to its quality and the way it serves as a place(beach) in generic. While generic quality remains the same for the beaches around the world, the other aspects like location, geography, feature, vegetation, people, culture will be significantly manifested. And our job is to document those, and to think along with architecture to actually come out with prescriptive theory that can be used to create unique places. Unique in a way that the place is down to its spirit, its significant difference, the sense of the place.

In generic beaches, you cannot really tell which one is of which place.










1. St Kilda beach
2. Ye Liu, Taiwan
3. Senai, Singapore
4. Somewhere in Penang
5. Langkawi
6. Sekinchan
7. Somewhere in Singapore
8. Hua Hin, Thailand
9. Hua Hin, Thailand


So here are 3 Ways Architecture Tells the Difference between Similar Beaches.

1. Relative Location
A Place can be distinctively experienced like no others when its location is signified. In other word, when a location or coordination of place can be told by reference, from neighbouring places, important landmark, significant feature around the place, it will be conceived as unique. The relation of place to reference of places that they can offer shall makes it distinctive in user locational-existential sense. The way architecture can make the place unique, or to magnify its sense of place is to have its structure pointing, referring, directing, indicating user directly or indirectly to the relative and locational reference that is well known or significant. That piece of architectural spaces, construction, or effects actually has the capability to inform user on the difference of interesting landmarks in different direction in order to embed concept on location of the place itself in users mind.

The course of the sun is always a key factor to identifying the uniqueness of a beach. Sunrise can be seen on some beaches while some offers view over sunset.

2. Way and Type of Vegetation
Way and type of vegetation, is literally the way plants around the site actually grew before and even the site was being occupied. There would be similar vegetation type, trees, bushes, but the way they grow could be far different. This can be manifested when architecture is thoughtfully built around ways of vegetation on site, the amazing tree house is an unexceptional one. 

3. Access to the Site 
Journey and way of travelling to the site brings about interesting sense of place to user, only when there is strategy to actually recap them. Architecture can reminds user of the journey they have travelled, even the way they travel before reaching the site, thus, signifying way the place can be accessed that is ever distinctive according to its topography and geography. A lookout tower that overlooks 1000 steps, steps one take to reach a place can reminds user of the way they access it, and it brings out the sense of place. Similarly but in other way, when architecture actually recreate experience or feature along the way of approaching the site, the distinctiveness of site can be manifested.

A lookout tower, high ground gives you altitude that you can orientate yourself to have idea on your location with reference to relative location of other places or feature. It actually overlooks to the mountain with steps that one can climb to access to the site, and that creates a great potential of acknowledgement to the spirit of place.

The way of trees gives idea of activity, structure, way of dwelling to take place. 

The amazing tree house can be a result from the way of vegetation on site.

Tree house experience from the way of tree that grows on site.


High ground offers look out to journey travelled to access to the site, it can reminds of the condition of accessing the site to bring out its uniqueness of place. Despite, high ground gives orientation over coordination with reference to things around.

The idea behind tells the orientation, relative location of the place that one can acknowledge.

1. Lookout tower, Teluk Bahang, Penang
2. The Monkey Beach, Penang
3. Pantai Redang Sekinchan
4. Tree house, Pantai Redang Sekinchan
5. Pantai Redang Sekinchan 
6. Top of a mountain, Ye liu, Tapei
7. A pavilion, Ye liu, Tapei