The Right Angle Journal - Fall 2017 - 10

PLACES
INTRODUCTION
by GORDON S. GRICE OAA, FRAIC

I told the students that they were at the age when they might begin to choose places
that would sustain them the rest of their lives, that places were more reliable than
human beings, and often much longer-lasting, and I asked them where they felt at home.
- Rebecca Solnit, The Faraway Nearby

Ondaatje Dining Hall,
Massey College,
one of the Editor's
favourite places.
IMAGE: LUKE ANDRITSOS

was talking with one of our contributors about the idea of "special places." She told
me about a place in northern Finland, north of the Arctic Circle, where she went
skiing once. She said it was the quietest and cleanest place she has ever been.
It seems that sometimes a place speaks to you in a way that a person can't. It
stirs something inside you - a lost or half-formed idea that may have little to do
with the physical place, but embodies the genius loci - the spirit of the place.
Places, it seems, can have a personality - a quality that allows them to interact
with the people who visit them. This may sound a little bit paranormal, but you will
probably agree that sometimes you find yourself in a place, whether it's architecturally
designed or naturally created, that alters your mood - makes you feel comfortable,
calm or invigorated, thoughtful, creative - where time slows down or speeds up - a
place that makes you feel especially like yourself.
In Modern English, the word "place" can mean many things. We can use it to indicate something grand, as in the currently popular phrase "place making" - designing
or creating a significant public space - or humble, as in "Can you please find a place
for your shoes; I'm tired of tripping over them."
This reflects the checkered history of the word itself. Introduced into Old English
as plaecum, in the 10th century, from Latin (platea) and Greek (plateia), meaning "an
open space in a city" (OED), it was reintroduced into Middle English 300 years later,
from the French place, meaning simply "material space." So "place" can be used to
describe something big and important, or something small and insignificant. It can even
describe something that doesn't really exist at all, except in the memory or imagination.
When we asked our contributors (mainly architects) to tell us about a place that
is (or has been) special to them, we imagined that most of them would describe an
important work of architecture or urban planning, and that at some level, visual qualities would be the most important. This was not what happened. In most cases, the
characteristics that made a place special were not those things that an architect or
designer can control. Timelessness, nostalgia, memories, tradition, quiet seclusion,
aromas, the quality of light, a reminder of home - these are the qualities that our
contributors cherish.
One of our goals in The Right Angle is to dig down to the very roots of architecture
and environmental design: What makes a good environment? What qualities do people
value most? What can designers do to try to satisfy these desires?
GORDON S. GRICE is Editor of The Right Angle Journal and a Director of the Built Environment Open Forum

Belief in the significance of architecture is premised on the fact that we are, for better or worse, different people in
different places - and on the conviction that it is architecture's task to render vivid to us who we might ideally be. P. 13
- Alain de Botton, The Architecture of Happiness.
10 | Read The Right Angle Journal online www.therightanglejournal.ca


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Right Angle Journal - Fall 2017

Message from the Board
Introduction to The Right Angle Journal
Places
Allied Arts & Professions: Light-Colour-Darkness
Index to Advertisers
Locations
The Right Angle Journal - Fall 2017 - Intro
The Right Angle Journal - Fall 2017 - cover1
The Right Angle Journal - Fall 2017 - cover2
The Right Angle Journal - Fall 2017 - 3
The Right Angle Journal - Fall 2017 - 4
The Right Angle Journal - Fall 2017 - 5
The Right Angle Journal - Fall 2017 - 6
The Right Angle Journal - Fall 2017 - Message from the Board
The Right Angle Journal - Fall 2017 - 8
The Right Angle Journal - Fall 2017 - Introduction to The Right Angle Journal
The Right Angle Journal - Fall 2017 - Places
The Right Angle Journal - Fall 2017 - 11
The Right Angle Journal - Fall 2017 - 12
The Right Angle Journal - Fall 2017 - 13
The Right Angle Journal - Fall 2017 - 14
The Right Angle Journal - Fall 2017 - 15
The Right Angle Journal - Fall 2017 - 16
The Right Angle Journal - Fall 2017 - 17
The Right Angle Journal - Fall 2017 - 18
The Right Angle Journal - Fall 2017 - 19
The Right Angle Journal - Fall 2017 - Allied Arts & Professions: Light-Colour-Darkness
The Right Angle Journal - Fall 2017 - Index to Advertisers
The Right Angle Journal - Fall 2017 - Locations
The Right Angle Journal - Fall 2017 - cover3
The Right Angle Journal - Fall 2017 - cover4
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