Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Report a Data Error | About
Tip: To sort articles by author…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

While performing a search, you can sort the articles by Author in the Search section. This will rearrange the results of your search alphabetically according to the author’s surname. This feature is useful to quickly locate the work of a specific author.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Pallasmaa, J. (2000). Stairways of the Mind. Int. Forum Psychoanal., 9(1-2):7-18.

(2000). International Forum of Psychoanalysis, 9(1-2):7-18

Stairways of the Mind

Juhani Pallasmaa, Ph.D.

Our materialist culture has turned buildings into objects of utility devoid of any mytho-poetic content. However, in addition to providing physical shelter, buildings should also house our souls, memories and dreams. Like all art, architecture expresses the human existential condition, and our lived space and mind define each other reciprocally. Architecture addresses the body and is experienced multi-sensorily. Fundamental architectural experiences are encounters that appear as verbs rather than nouns. One of the most potent images of architecture is the stair, which possesses a wealth of metaphoric and symbolic connotations. The stair is the symbolic spine of the house, whereas ascending a stair in dream-imagery signifies copulation. The qualitative differences of ascending and descending derive from the images of Heaven and Hell. Stairs appear frequently in literature, cinema and painting due to their extraordinary image power. The staircase is simultaneously a stage and an auditorium. It is also a vertical configuration of the labyrinth with consequent associations of vertigo, and getting lost. Our human reality has become threateningly concrete and one-dimensional as the environment has lost its symbolic dimension. One of the most demanding tasks of architects today is to re-mythologize and re-poetisize the built environment. Is it feasible that stairs would again come to express the existence of Heaven and Hell?

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

Copyright © 2018, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.