Spoken Silence - Designing for a Catholic Ritual

Kneeling Action Intro Image
Genuflection - 'a momentary kneel of bending one knee'

'Spoken Silence – Designing for a Catholic Ritual' is a thesis of three equal parts: Silence, a Catholic Gesture, and the Design Methodology.

Silence is an essential ingredient in our daily life: a simple and basic need for sanity and survival. The world has become too loud with an increase in activity; people have become insensitive and detached, and the loudness has become so intense that it has developed into noise. Silence then enters, initiating our focus, our direction, and ultimately our peace. But silence is more than the absence of voice or sound. It is not about being mute or ignorant when communication is required. Nothing needs to be said, and we should still be able to express ourselves.

Though quiet, we make ourselves counted. When we are silent, we should be able to speak not only in words but also through action.

The Catholic ritual, kneeling, is diminishing due to a lack of encouragement, and the meaning behind the practice is becoming lost. This thesis presents a community garden inspired by the ritual and aims to revive the practice of unconsciously kneeling within space.

The posture comes with a great desire to worship God. The bending of the knee means the submission of one's strength to our creator. This posture is communicated in silence and allows for peace, harmony, beauty, and hope. Kneeling is the completion of believers' holistic adoration in God, with the physical action magnifying the spiritual intention.

Methodologies progressed throughout this thesis are crucial in manifesting and investigating kneeling as a Catholic ritual. The processes followed in this thesis were initiated by photography and an analysis of the act of kneeling. Developments included drawing iterations through trace in sections, resulting in simplified vector lines, spatialising the ritual into forms.

Lastly, model-making prevailed to realise the gardens in the following compositional studies. The process was cyclic and repeated, allowing re-interpretation of early drawings and models via these various media.

This thesis is a Garden of Serenity, on the periphery of St Luke's Catholic Community Church property down to Otara Creek, in East Auckland. It is a place of meditation, appreciation, and conversations. Native flora will flourish seasonally, with some presence of fauna along the various courtyards pierced on the meandering site. The garden's plants will be as diverse as the community they serve, with the residents in Flat Bush able to plant their own – unconsciously weaving ownership, respect, and civility through time.

Hopefully, in the simple revival of the ritual, kneeling will ultimately enhance faithfulness within the Catholic Church. Kneeling extends through Catholic and secular communities, connected through the architectural space of the Garden of Serenity. The garden builds a community that provides a space and relationship with each and the Earth, to become a cultural touchstone – unifying the community in the coexistence of spoken silence.

04 Model 798X1000Px Edited For Modos
The Touch of Light - Final Model - 1:50 Scale
Whole Flowering 2300X700Px Edited For Modos
Communal Promenade Section :1:50 Scale
Otara Creek Section 2460X700Px Edited For Modos
Otara Creek Section :1:50 Scale
Garden Of Serenity 1462X4000Px Floor Plan Edited For Modos
The Garden of Serenity Floor Plan - 1:100 Scale
03 Model Photo Plan 798X1000Px Sidebyside Right Edited For Modos
Pressure Point Plan - Final Model - 1:50 Scale
Compositional Model Phase C Enclosure Composition Plan Or Section Study Edited For Modos
Compositional Section and Plan Study - Enclosure - 1:100 Scale
01 Model Photo Sidebyside Left Edited For Modos
Pressure Point Perspective - Final Model - 1:50 Scale
02 Model Photo Sidebyside Right Edited For Modos
Descent to Otara Creek Perspective - Final Model - 1:50 Scale
Front Courtyard 1400X700Px Edited For Modos
Front Courtyard Section - 1:50 Scale
Sign Of The Cross Sidebyside 600X1000 Left Edited For Modos
Sign of the Cross - 'In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.'
Silent Cove Close Up Section Sidebyside 600X1000 Right Edited For Modos
Silent Cove Section - 1:20 Scale
Nursery 920X700Px Edited For Modos
Nursery Section - 1:50 Scale