Sunday, March 13, 2011

Do the houses we imagine reflect who we are?

Imagine if you could have any house you wanted. Money is no object. You can place the house anywhere in the world (or off it) and you can build the house from any materials you wish.

What would that house look like? What would be the color and texture of the walls, the shape of the rooms, the quality of the light?

Everything in the unconscious seeks outward manifestation...
- Carl Jung

A Child's Dream House
When I was a child, I dreamed of a house shaped like a doughnut. Rooms would be arranged in a ring around a central courtyard, and the courtyard would have a glass roof, a steamy climate, and exotic tropical birds. All windows in this house would look inward at the courtyard. No windows would look outward at the exterior world. This was an introverted, perhaps egotistical, house.

As I aged, my dream house reshaped itself. Instead of an inner courtyard, it developed sociable porches and big bay windows. The house of my dreams reflected who I was becoming.

Carl Jung's Dream House
For the psychologist Carl Jung, building a house was a symbol of building a self. In his autobiographical Memories, Dreams, Reflections, Jung described the gradual evolution of his home on Lake Zurich. Jung spent more than thirty years building this castle-like structure, and he believed that the towers and annexes represented his psyche.

Can we know more about who we are by looking at where we live?
- Clare Cooper Marcus

Psychology and Your Home
Clare Cooper Marcus, a Professor of Architecture at the University of California in Berkeley, has written extensively about the relationship between dwellings and the people who occupy them. Her book House as a Mirror of Self explores the meaning of "Home" as a place of self-expression, as a place of nurturance, and as a place of sociability. Marcus spent years looking at people's drawings of memorable childhood places, and her book draws on Jungian concepts of the collective unconscious and archetypes.

If the houses we live in are so significant, what about the houses we imagine? What do our wishes say about who we are?

Resource: Architecture.About.Com

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