We all retain memories of places. They simultaneously help to identify who we are as individuals and tie us to networks of people, culture, and society. Certain places reach into the past, reflecting lives and experiences as real as our own while also pointing to future lives and circumstances we can only imagine.
As a designer, Frances Downing has searched for ways to express or explain why images of place were meaningful to her work. The connections are interwoven and complex. Subconsciously, designers often transcend personal experiences by using them to imagine other people and places, to discover something new and surprising, and to deepen concepts. In this book, Downing suggests a method to regularize the memory of personal experience and translate the memories of past and existing places to the design of new ones.
Through her investigation of the act of remembering, Downing has discovered three different acts of "expression": naming remembered places, contemplating their meaning, and putting them in meaningful categories. Through a combination of emotional response to a place and the reasoning that categorization requires, designers can work to understand the significance of a particular place -- both its objective characteristics and its emotionally charged constructs, which are the most difficult to clarify and express.
To aid designers in following the steps she has identified, Downing introduces the game of "Spatial Solitaire", in which a person can use a memorable image of past place in a limited design situation, and she includes as examples a number of the completed drawings and descriptions that have resulted from designers' games.
Downing also discussessignificant forms of experiences and how they relate to architectural practice, the content of metaphors of experience, intentional frameworks for the transfer of meaning, and case studies and theories of imagination and innovation.
Remembrance and the Design of Place provides designers a greater understanding of their own meaningful acts of design, allowing the passage between past places and future places to be mapped carefully and debated openly.