Wednesday, February 4, 2009

stonehenge ruminations

stonehenge "cropped" from a certain history professor
's sketchbook (and it's in pencil and edited further in photoshop)...this is what we mean by being selective in your opus online. see the full stonehenge post.

The Cromlech of Stonehenge connects closely to other stone circles on the British mainland, dating from the same time period. Perhaps its closest “relative” is that of the Cromlech of Avebury, though Avebury is much larger. There are other stone circles in Africa, Asia, North and South America that may
signify a unity among prehistoric peoples not often acknowledged. As many of these similar structures are created of stone, this is further evidence of the resonances.

Stonehenge clearly has religious overtones and connections, most related to the observation of celestial phenomena. Stonehenge’s size suggests that the central circle was for a leader while others gathered in the outer circles. Certainly, this speaks to a hierarchy of religious “institution” echoed in the architectural space. A slaughter stone is but one feature of the cromlech and this indicates the offering of animal or human sacrifice, somehow connected to the other rituals of the time and place.

Due to its design clarity and appeal, Stonehenge has been emulated many times over in almost every time period since its construction. Perhaps even the circular temples of Greece and the early round churches of Rome stand as testimony to the impact of Stonehenge on design far afield from England.

The Cromlech of Stonehenge, quite useful in its careful expression of focus in design, applies to any centralized space I might undertake as a designer. Because of its meticulous attention to details, connections, alignments, Stonehenge provides a terrific example of simplicity in design.

What structure might best embody Mies van der Rohe’s notion (some twenty five centuries later) of “less is more” than this prehistoric fabrication?

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