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Cabinet Monastery

Isaac Harms and Daniel Heski
Cabinet Monastery

From the third-year undergraduate studio Commune: Architecture and Collective Living, Fall 2019
Faculty: Francesco Marullo (coordinator), Jimmy Carter, Abby Chang, Agata Siemionow

About the studio:

Monasticism—and, by extension, a monastery—is a withdrawal from the world, a liberation from objects, social bonds, temptations, and distractions, allowing the complete dedication of the self to spirituality. This withdrawal can be individual or collective. In Carthusian Charterhouses, inhabitants make a collective attempt to live together in isolation according to established rules. This studio explored the architecture of the Carthusian monastery as a paradigmatic experiment of common living: an introverted collective form—constituted by an archipelago of private and shared rooms of various sizes—but also an extroverted machine, an outpost for seizing unknown territories of the world as the subconscious extensions of the soul.

About the project:

Unity and compartmentalization are the key concepts that govern the design and arrangement of this monastery. In order to uphold the linear, repetitive lifestyle of the monks, the monastery is composed of buildings that are rectilinear in form and that are connected together by a long, linear corridor, creating a sense of physical and psychological solidarity. The main corridor simultaneously divides the monastery into three distinct sectors: one private, another communal, and the last productive.