Fieldwork in Ritual Reality: A Qualitative Method in Architectural Research

Apr 06, 2015

The objective of this paper is to re-examine the role of fieldwork in architectural research. As fieldwork has often been a valuable method in culture-specific studies, the paper looks at research in one specific cultural milieu as an example of its applications. Cases in point are research projects conducted in Japan in which the location of sacred or secular objects and buildings (or lack of those), as well as the ritual procession of regular Shinto festivals, reveal interesting ways of analyzing the invisible features of these built environments – or the ritual reality.

keywords: Japanese urban context, Shinto festival (Matsuri), Activity space (Kaiwai), Spirit of place (Genius Loci)

Marja Sarvimäki (University of Hawaii at Manoa)
Presented at: 
ARCC 2015 Conference – The FUTURE of Architectural Research (Chicago, IL)
Published & professionally reviewed by: 
Architectural Research Centers Consortium (ARCC)
University of Massachusetts Amherst

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