My research explores the role of the imagination, creativity, and genius of the architect as defined by the Romantics and American Transcendentalists. It begins with German Idealist philosophers, such as Friedrich von Schelling, who saw the world and its objects being organic, as opposed to being mechanistic. Samuel Taylor Coleridge adopted Schelling's philosophy in an attempt to develop a philosophical system for organicism. The imagination in Coleridge's system is the faculty that forms an idea from seemingly discordant thoughts. This is a process of reasoning, which surpasses sensory understanding. Coleridge's use of reason is suprarational; it recognizes objects through the senses and also penetrates into the essence of the object's vitality. Coleridge's distinction between "reason" and "understanding" appeared in Aids to Reflection; it was a work that excited the precursors of American Transcendentalism. Nature and objects are symbols engaging the mind to reveal their essence and entelechy in order to make something meaningful and assist in completing their purpose. This means that the poet, a person of genius such as a writer, architect, or artist, makes works of art through a creative process that is in communion with the continuous Creation of God.
What role does the Romantic imagination play in our world today? Presently, it is difficult for us to conceive an architecture where the building's ornament, symbolism, and meaning all constitute the building itself. One possible answer lies in Frank Lloyd Wright's formulation for organic architecture. Organic architecture is an expression of the building's purpose manifesting itself from the imagination of the architect. The source of the building's purpose could be mythic, such as the speaker and listeners sitting under a tree forming the first school. In the words of Louis Kahn, the architect expresses what the building "wants to be."
- Worked at Mitchell/Matthews Architects, Charlottesville, VA, 2005-2009
- B. Arch., Virginia Tech, 2005 & MS in Architecture, Virginia Tech, 2011
- Registered Architect, 2010-Present
- Research Topics: Organicism, American Transcendentalism, German and English Romanticism, Imagination, Myth, Mysticism, Pietism & Inner-Light Religions, Poetics, Ornament, Frank Lloyd Wright, Louis Kahn, Louis Sullivan, H. H. Richardson, Coleridge, Emerson, Thoreau, Heidegger, Gadamer, Vico
- Interest Topics: American History - particularly the Revolution and Civil War, Agrarianism, Picturesque & Sublime Landscape Paintings (Turner, Friedrich, Cole & Hudson River School), Abstract Expressionism, Photography, the Outdoors