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Altered Body

Part 1 Dissertation 2023
Callum Purdue
University of the West of England | UK
This dissertation seeks to understand the effect of the Saxon church of St Lawrence on the body, particularly that of the author. Therefore, it was necessary to examine the phenomenon of occupying the church.

Multiple factors feed into the experience of the church. First and foremost are the sensory qualities of the church: the narrow doorways, the taste of stone in the air, the cave-like coolness etc. Second, is the context of present- day architecture that often reduces sensory experiences. Third are philosophical and architectural developments which have occurred since the church was first built. These developments contributed to the present-day architectural context and an atheist sensibility that dispenses with God and solely occupies the body.

Theories of postmodernity and phenomenology provide a contextual diagnosis of architectural theory and history. These ideas also serve to motivate the spatial design of the text. As in our everyday lives, sensory experiences are interwoven in situ with personal and academic reflections. As the numbered paragraphs unfold, the church is experienced as a haven for the senses, with the author’s research functioning not just as a ‘lens’ through which to view the church but as a constituent part of the experience itself.

Callum Purdue

Tutor(s)
Matthew Hynam
2023
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