A Monastery in Framingham

by Nicolás Delgado Álcega (MArch II '20)

Set in 2048, the monastery is a home base for the pursuit of meaning. It is one more world amidst a context, not a model. It is a proud position, not a retreat.

The monastery is built upon the physical remains of yet another world. It produces a new future for the existing urban objects on the Framingham site in an anciently fresh way.

The monastery is built by quarrying material within the city. A resource is understood as a material we invent a use for because we know it. The monastery is built from the remains of a highway intersection being demolished nearby. Principally, concrete rubble and granite curbs. There is more thinking and less toiling. Little is wasted. A new kind of craft emerges.

The common Bath is a fundamental component of life in the monastery. It is communal, and yet deeply about the self and body. The spaces in the Bath are sequential but open; available for a couple of minutes with one’s mind elsewhere, or for much longer than that, immersed in sense perception and feeling.

The Bath is not hermetic. It lets lights travel into the spaces; it accepts the entry of unexpected sounds; it reverberates certain movements from the exterior, sometimes. It is a deeply internal space that nonetheless makes one aware of the forces of that which we call the ‘exterior’; what we only understand as shadows in the walls of the cave because they exist outside of the ‘world’ we have built.