Vimana, Hindu mythology, Hindu temple, architectural tectonics of the temple, Marin Headlands, Temple Matrix
The architecture of the Hindu temple, as we know it today, has become a caricature of applied style and a theater for rituals rather than the symbolic representation of the core concepts of Hinduism. There is a disconnection between the beliefs and their translation into architecture, which has resulted in a dissolution and erosion of the temple as a vehicle for the ritual spiritual journey1. The temple is built on a literal and conceptual framework of core essential elements such as the sanctum sanctorum, the roof, the plinth, its orientation on earth, and its function to, metaphorically, transport people from earth to the sky. Lost in this apparent evocation is the ability for the architecture to transmit and provide a permanent built monument to the universe and a conduit for the individual’s soul to realize moksha (ultimate enlightenment). This thesis proposes to design a possible new evolution of the Hindu temple through the identification, extraction, and redefinition of Hindu mythology, cosmology, ritual, architectural tectonics of the temple, and the vimana as a machine. The word vimana first refers to an ancient aircraft extensively documented in ancient Indian scriptures that predate Hindu temples2, translated through history to mean mythological flying palace/chariot, and then phased into temple architectural vocabulary to mean the monumental roof structure over the sanctum. The injection of the vimana’s mechanistic origins back into the temple typology will result in what can be interpreted as a pre-historic future architecture. The ambition for the architecture is to create a meaningful translation of the core essential elements of the Hindu temple and the prehistory of the vimana that will set the groundwork for the temporal continuity of its typology. This thesis may or may not operate as a prototypical framework of the Hindu temple where the essential elements are often combined to communicate its place on earth regardless of context or site.
Rao, Apoorva, "Vimana: A Crisis of Translation" (2019). Architecture Senior Theses. 436.
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