Laith Matarweh Studio for Architecture

Wholeness and Life - The Underlying Substrate in Architecture and the Built Environment

Masters Thesis: Masters of Science in Design Research



This research addresses a strive to reason the poverty of the dimensions of life, richness, and beauty in architecture and the consequent fabric, in Amman. It is an endeavor to grasp the logic behind the anomalies of life and richness where they happen, where they create environments that are able to support existence in using and dwelling. It aims to find means to replicate them and to apply them into the architectural practice, creating meaningful structures and built environments. In modern cities, where monotonous and superficial architecture prevails, there is an ever-current need for an objective understanding of the felt and the untouched; the subjective matters of how life and beauty are experienced in architecture. This research aims to address life and richness through examples of my personal real-world encounters. It anticipates an understanding easily apprehended and applicable by architects. Driven by the passion for architecture, I aspire to utilize photography as a modality which is ought to be positioned on the crossing between the architectural drawing expression, and the written wording, with aims of forging new understandings of architecture that would broaden its realm to lapse into not only its material sense but into its immaterial and felt agency. The methods utilized in this research required vigilant observation of the parts which make up such encounters and reasoning the rationale behind their structural configuration in the build-up of richness and life in the tangible reality. By being immersed in the parts, the obvious and the subtle, the material and the immaterial, we are able to understand how they build up the physical and the consequent sensual experience of architecture and the built environment. By approaching them attentively and giving them their due, not as isolated parts but as integral components of that physical experience, we are able to objectify the subjective. I will base my theoretical research on the concept of Wholeness by Christopher Alexander. A series of cases are presented to the readers on how life unfolds in our intimate abodes, in the architecture of traditional villages in Al-Karak and the city center lush with the diversity of forms and life in Al-Salt. This itinerary of possibilities of how life unravels itself in architecture concludes an ever-recurrent adaptation and interaction between inhabitants and their built environment, given that their built environment supports their existence.