THESIS | PLACE FOR RITE OF PASSAGE

  • Abstract:
     
    Birth, coming of age, marriage, parenthood, advancement to higher status, and death: these events mark points in life, awareness of the self, thresholds between the known and unknown, the new and the old. How one transitions from one to another is a precarious moment. Landscapes, and the human experience of the earth, used to be marked by dramatic transitions in the form of frontiers: the places where rivers begin to flow, flatlands become mountains, the clearing in the forest. Our perception of these boundaries has diminished in modern times. Highways connect cities, airports connect countries, and the Internet connects the world. However, the Fox Point Hurricane Barrier in Providence, Rhode Island, does the opposite. This structure separates the ocean from the civilization of the city. This barrier represents a physical as well as mental threshold between the two worlds. This thesis proposes a place within the Fox Point Hurricane Barrier to hold rites of passage. In order for these rituals to be successful, the moment of cross over needs to be understood physically and mentally. And this understanding is at the greatest potential during the course of union within the community, the highest point of the ritual, when the two sides are facing each other, exchanging artifacts to acknowledge one another.
    Therefore, I propose to create a gathering space at the tip of this edge. The architecture of this space will honor and mark these moments of transition. This frontier between two worlds, land and water, is the perfect location to celebrate rites of passage.
  • Rite of Passage:
    “In such societies every change in a person’s life involves actions and reactions between sacred and proface-actions and reactions to be regulated and guarded so that society as a whole will suffer no discomfort or injury. Transitions from group to group and from one social situation to the next are looked on as implicit in the very fact of existence, so that a man’s life comes to be made up of a succession of stages with similar ends and beginnings: birth, social puberty, marriage, fatherhood, advancement to a higher class, occupational specialization, and death. For every one of these events there are ceremonies whose essential purpose is to enable the individual to pass from one defined position to another which is equally well defined.”(Gennep,3)
    I believe the rite of passage to be the most important aspect of humanity within our lifetime. It marks the accomplishments, the moments to remember, and the future potentials. This thesis pushes to find an architectural representation of this threshold between this procession and transitions.