Some have taken this idea even further, and argued that one of those embedded memories is a recollection of the ultimate supportive environment: the womb. This buried memory, if it exists at all, is so remote as to be no more than a canvas on which our wider search for the perfect space is painted. The idea of the womb is intriguing because it suggests the comprehensive aspirations of design: to create environments that sustain us completely while offering protection from the outside world.
But even if its place in our collective memory remains unprova-ble, BALI HOUSE DESIGNS the example of the womb can serve as a metaphorical point of origin for the way we perceive our spatial surroundings. For example, James Marston Fitch argued, on largely physiological grounds, that the man-made environment – from our clothes to the physical volumes enveloping us – should support us in a manner similar to the way the womb does.29 Designer Frank Alvah Parsons wrote that, “House and Clothes have answered the human requirement for shelterâ along with their more evident aesthetic requirements.30 But Fitch notes a psychological shortfall in the way we experience the built world: “unlike the womb, this external environment never affords optimum conditions for the development of the individual. The contradictions between internal requirements and external conditions are normally stressful.â31 Interior space must, therefore, serve as a bridge between the realities of the built world and the ideal conditions we seek.
The evolution of early forms of shelter. The development of these shelters shows the replication of elements of the cave in forms that were easily constructed from available materials. Nearly all these forms of dwelling use a simple round shape, which was the easiest to build with limited time and resources, and which best captured the circular thermal zone of the fire. This diagram also illustrates the evolution of architectural form from the round into square footprint. For centuries, these forms have expanded in plan size or upward. With the advent of new materials and representation techniques, organic forms are made conceiveable
Though driven by this same search, early attempts to create shelter did not always succeed, especially according to our modern expectations. Yet even in its most minimal forms early shelter satisfied- or attempted to satisfy – emotional and sensory desires that the outside world alone could not provide. Even today, human beings can just barely survive without the intervention of clothing and buildings. And our need for stimulation, perhaps even more pressing now than our need for shelter, also persists.