Building, Dwelling, Thinking

Heidegger, Martin. “Building, Dwelling, Thinking”. In Poetry, Language, Though. ed. New York: Harper & Row, 1971. Translated by Albert Hofstader.

Martin Heidegger analyzes two terms, building and dwelling, looking for their significances and the relation between them. Heidegger thinks that the key is in language, because language, although a human product, is the master of man. He finds that the origin of the word building, Bauen, means to dwell: to remain, to stay in a place. That is the origin, also, for Ich bin, I am. So, being in the world, exists, means to dwell. I exist, I habit the world, I dwell. At the same time building–which derives from the same word–means building (as construction) and cultivating (to take care of). Therefore, 1. Building is dwelling; 2. Dwelling is the way of being on the earth and 3. Building as dwelling is showing into the building that takes care of and constructs.

In relation to dwelling, Heidegger says that it comes from wuon, wunian, to stay in a place in peace. The sense of dwelling, therefore, lies in remaining in peace. He distinguishes between dwelling and inhabiting, as the act of merely occupying a place.

Looking for the relation between dwelling and building, Heidegger asks for the relation between location and space, and man and space, concluding that that relation lies in his dwelling. Only if we can dwell, can we build. And dwelling is the basic character of Being in keeping with which mortals exist. Building and thinking are inescapable for dwelling, and mortals must build out of dwelling, and think for the sake of dwelling.

If it is possible to extrapolate building and dwelling to house and home, therefore the construction of a place to live should respond to the relational meshwork that that space allows, and must be a product of it. The relational network and its purpose should be the basis for physical space.

[from a domestic annotated bibliography, 2010] [img from miniscule, work in progress]