On Wednesday afternoon, OpenGrounds hosted an OpenTable discussion with Israeli architect and graduate student Ram Eisenberg, who discussed the idea of “The Sense of Well-Being of Being in Nature.” As an architect of many projects throughout Israel, including the Sderot Hahaskala in Tel Aviv, Eisenberg continuously received positive feedback from those who used his spaces, who stated that they felt “cared for” in these areas. Eisenberg began to reflect on this response, attempting to gain a better understanding for what it meant to feel “cared’ for in a particular place.
Returning to graduate school after almost twenty years working as both an architect and lecturer, Eisenberg wished to base his thesis around questions pertaining to well-being within the context of nature. He posed many questions, including:
- “What is the particular sense of well-being experienced in nature?”
- “Why is [well-being] felt in natural settings so much more than man-made settings?”
Through an exploration of the dichotomy of objective versus subjective experiences of the external world, Eisenberg discussed the idea that feeling must intrinsically link actions and perceptions. Using the ideas of psychologist Eugene Gendlin, Eisenberg began to explore the use of “Focusing” in order to better understand how to describe the feeling that nature inspires internally. “Focusing,” or the ability to specifically hone in on certain feelings and effectively articulate them, can be used to give words to an indescribable phenomenon.
Eisenberg’s work is ongoing, and conclusive results have not been released that give a name to the feeling one gets in nature, and how this feeling can be used in the architectural process. However Eisenberg is hopeful that this line of thinking will fundamentally transform the field of architecture as a whole.
The OpenGrounds Corner Studio, designed by Professor of Architecture Bill Sherman, is an space in which the ideas of those like Eisenberg can take shape. During the Q&A session following Eisenberg’s speech, graduate student Gwendolyn McGinn raised the idea that the beauty of architectural projects that transform ideas found in nature is that they are never complete, which allows those inside the spaces to add their own contributions to the space. In this way, OpenGrounds seeks to be a continuously transforming space, one in which the objects found inside, as well as the space itself, are constantly used in new and novel ways.