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Constructing the Gestalt

Forrest Bibeau
ARCH 4515/16: Undergraduate Thesis
Virginia Tech
Fall 2015 & Spring 2016

A framework of place is explored through a study of architectural gestalts, in which the whole is greater than sum of its parts. The architecture is conceived as a collection of elements that form a composition as one cognitively links the elements. The composition brings forth an implicit totality achieved through design decisions operating at more than one scale. This enables a connection between a singular element and the larger context in which it is situated. The linking of these elements constructs a sense of place.


The architecture presented depends simultaneously on a shared vocabulary in the parts and a response to a specific condition. The thesis proposes a model in which the nature of the whole is implied through this constructed composition. This model is latent with opportunities for spatial perception to increase cognition beyond an immediate condition. Architecture that heightens cognition allows an inhabitant to construct a sense of place.

- Forrest Bibeau

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