Thickening the Threshold: designing for communities of convergence in contemporary Brazil
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Pilgrimage is an act of convergence wherein individual desires coalesce into spontaneous communities. The formation of these communities is facilitated by the liminal quality of pilgrimage: its threshold state between the everyday and the extraordinary. It is this "between-ness" of the threshold, its state between states, that allows for freedom and possibility. The threshold is potentiality, and the act of pilgrimage is a state of threshold, with the pilgrim both part of and removed from the landscapes and communities he passes through. Contemporary pilgrimages, which are gaining in popularity, must bring together more and different elements than ever before, enhancing the potential of liminality. Any landscape, any journey is composed of overlapping experiences of people, place, and culture. This thesis seeks to take advantage of and build upon existing moments of convergence, overlap, and transition, heightening their sense of threshold at all scales in the pursuit of community. Using a strategy of overlap and juxtaposition to create liminal spaces, this project encourages moments of communitas at multiple scales. At the regional scale, a new pilgrimage route is proposed from Rio de Janeiro to Aparecida that acknowledges its urban context and creates overlapping moments of encounter with natural, historic, and cultural landscapes along the way. Within the hilltop city of Cunha, the demi-urban pilgrimage hotel becomes an exploration of thresholds: between individual and collective, pilgrim and resident, and artist and audience. These moments in-between act as catalysts for connection, providing pilgrims and locals alike with opportunities for interaction, community, and exchange.
- Architecture