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Environment, Space, Place

Volume 1, Issue 1, Spring 2009

Emiliano Trizio
Pages 27-52
DOI: 10.7761/ESP.1.1.27

Built-Spaces for World-Making

The aim of this article is to contribute to the understanding of the relations existing between, on the one hand, some specific types of built-spaces and, on the other, the manner in which man belonging to a given culture defines a particular way of conceiving and inhabiting the world. The interdependence between the forms of the construction of the human environment and the intellectual and practical articulation of social life has been the object of numerous researches. The focus of this analysis will be, more specifically, on built-spaces that play a decisive role in the shaping of both the forms or orientation of collective life and the underlying worldviews, built-spaces that, in virtue of this two-fold function, deserve to be called world-making. The approach will be diachronical and comparative. I will first reconstruct, on the basis of phenomenology-inspired reading of Mircea Eliade’s works, the representative as well as orientative function of sacred built-space within certain religious traditions and its relations with a specific conception of the world in general and of the earth-sky relation in particular. Subsequently, I will show that the overthrow of these cosmological and metaphysical beliefs during the scientific revolution, has deprived sacred space of its original meaning, while rendering at once possible and necessary a completely new type of built-space, the laboratory, which exerts, in an utterly different way, a world-making function. In this way, this article develops yet another comparison between the religious conception of the relation between man and the world, and the conception issued by the modern scientific and technological development.