Christian Norberg-Schulz (23 May – 28 March ) was a Norwegian architect, author, His book “Genius Loci: Towards a Phenomenology of Architecture” () was widely influential in Europe and the Americas. He is recognized as. CHRISTIAN .. The buildings bring genius loci; the “spirit of place” which. ELVIS .. the river-bank where it could arise), but Genius loci is a Roman concept. Ac-. Get this from a library! Genius loci: towards a phenomenology of architecture. [ Christian Norberg-Schulz].

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This clipping from a pamphlet about petroforms patterns on the the ground laid out with stones in the Province of Manitoba in Canada captures nicely the idea of spirit of place as an aspect of sacred space and a gateway to the supernatural. The idea of spirit of place has echoed norberg-schilz the ages.

Spirit of Place/Genius Loci

It derives from an ancient and widespread belief that particular bits of the world are occupied by gods, or spirits who have to be propitiated. This was a key element of Roman religion. Genius loci is the Latin for the spirit or guardian deity of a place and is a phrase that has been adopted in English and into other languages and achieved a broad degree of popularity. A quick Google search for genius loci brought up links to a recent art exhibition featuring the work of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei and others, an American kickstarter campaign for a book on tales of the spirit of place, the name of travel company specializing in Italy, and an art project in Weimar in Germany.

Probably the best known substantial investigation of spirit of place is the book Genius Loci by Norwegian architect Christian Norberg-Schulz, which I summarize below.


All sources are fully identified at the end of this post. And norberg-wchulz photo of a poster at Bloedel Christiaj on Bainbridge Island in Washington State, which also stresses the healing role of place, is an example of a secular, even scientific idea of spirit of place.

This is the reality of places that cannot be identified by inventories of contents, to which Isis Brook refers. They explain cultural and other differences so neatly.

Genius Loci : Christian Norberg-Schulz :

It is on a wall inside the Museum of London. If this place had any tangible effect norbergg-schulz its inhabitants then it was surely a malign one. It is a sort of thematic biographical study of Virginia Woolf, E. Forster, Rupert Brooke, Carrington, and E.

Consulting the Genius of Place In one of his poems that lici 18 th century English poet Alexander Pope satirized the life of landed gentry, especially their inclination to engage in ill-conceived landscape schemes on their estates that tried to echo Versailles. Instead he encouraged landscape gardening that responded to nature.

His explicit advice was to:.

Genius Loci : Towards a Phenomenology of Architecture

This is widely quoted in discussions of spirit of place, for instance, the book by environmentalist Wes Jackson Consulting the Genius of the Place: An Ecological Approach to a New Agriculture. Christian Norberg-Schulz Genius Loci: Almost all of them are of pre-modern buildings and genkus or natural landscapes from Europe and some from North Africa.

Since ancient times the genius loci, or spirit of place, has been recognized as the concrete reality man has to face and come to terms with in his daily life. Architecture means to visualize the genius loci and the task of the architect is to create meaningful places, whereby he helps man to dwell. Indeed it has remained a living reality throughout the course of history.


Holt Spirits of the Place In the discussions by Brook, Durrell and Norberg-Schulz the idea of genius loci is almost entirely secular. They write about properties of landscapes and buildings that may be elusive but can, for the most part, be seen. Holt was a student of Mircea Eliade the author of a major work on sacred and profane space. Holt discusses studies of religion in Asia made in the s by Paul Mus who maintained that the inhabitants of ancient India, Indo-China and southern China believed in spirits — disembodied human souls — that are present in all thing in all places.

Holt also writes about the transformation of beliefs in these through commercial and political actions that have marketed aspects of Laotian religious culture. He claims that we construct places in large measure by the ghosts we sense inhabit them.

The Ghosts of Place. The Village of Amulet in Saskatchewan has entirely disappeared except for this marker and plaque. Harper and Row Bell, Michael, M.

Fox ed Ethics and the Built EnvironmentLondon: RoutledgeBrown, Jane Spirits of Place: Viking Durrell, Lawrence, Spirit of Place: Letters and Essays on Travel London: Faber and Faber Holt, J. Towards a Phenomenology of Architecture. Pope, AlexanderEpistles to Several Persons: Epistle IV Tomich, S.