Diary April, 2006, Nara Japan


I learned this unique architectural element in traditional Japanese buildings called ‘engawa’ - it’s like a balcony that wraps around the perimeter of the house- a transitional space where one could be inside but amongst nature or garden or outside in the comfort of the roof and shade. It is a place where one can experience nature within architecture. There is something powerful about this simple element which gives you a sense tranquility and takes you to a different level of awareness and relationship with nature. (Diary extract April, 2006, Nara Japan)


Later on, a Japanese friend of mine explained the meaning of the word ‘En‘. It doesn’t have an exact translation in English but it is close to the word ‘to connect or connection‘. If one says that you don’t have ‘en’ with something or someone (en ga nai), it means that you don’t have  the connection or destiny or it is not meant to be.


I realised that the word ‘engawa’ could have a deeper meaning than just a building element. It is perimeter or threshold which ‘connects’ one with nature and the elements. It is a place where ‘Man’ begins a relationship with nature through architecture.


This is my departure. I realised that the quality of architecture is measured by its ability to ‘connect’ us with our surrounding.  It can give us the opportunity to create a dialogue with nature and witness its phenomenon. It is a space where we gather as a community also intimately with people close to us. It  connects us to memory, history and each other. Ultimately it connect us with the world.

Atelier Soler
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