The Site of Recapitalizing the Spiritual Capital of the City: Welcoming the Stranger with Intention and Architectural Edifice

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 9:18 AM
Room: Harbor Lounge B
Oral Presentation
Calvyn DU TOIT , University of Pretoria, South Africa
Hendrik AURET , University of the Free State, South Africa
Violence during the protests in Tahrir Square, buses driving through London that threaten undocumented foreigners with extradition, and xenophobic attacks in South Africa. These events divulge a spiritual capital bankruptcy in the city of our era. The dominant reaction to this spiritual bankruptcy is analysis, but the spiritual capital present in the city is not analytically-complicated, it is (counter) intuitively-complex. Rather than an Analyst narrative, we need the Lacanian opposite: a Master narrative, which offers solutions to the spiritual capital bankruptcy. In our paper we offer a Master narrative of spiritual capital that moves beyond the Analyst narrative. This we do by combining our two fields of study: Spirituality and Architecture. The Master narrative of spiritual capital comes in the form of the Stranger, who passes through the city. The Stranger, as political neighbour, has the potential to recapitalize the city spiritually. Then, we move to conceptualise and visualise an architectural edifice that can facilitate the spiritual recapitalization of the city in the Stranger's movement in and through the city. This architectural edifice will aim to recover a historical aspect of spiritual architecture that has been neglected: architectural edifices as build expressions of kindness extended in acceptance to the Stranger. From the intricate systems of asylum offered by medieval churches, to the social functions embodied in the Ottoman Külliye, spiritual architecture traditionally upheld the way of life of the place, while being open to the influence of the Stranger. The above-mentioned edifice will be conceived as a re-interpretation of Norberg-Schulz’s formulation of ‘belonging’ to the ‘vocation’ of the place, inspired by Heidegger’s concept of ‘sorge’ (care). As an expression of the art of care, the architectural edifice extends kindness to the Stranger and provide a location for the spiritual recapitalization of the city.