Book//mark - The Poetics of Space | Gaston Bachelard (1958)

Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space                                            Model for Final Thesis Project by Laida Juanikorena Agirre in Lesaka, Navarre

“I should say: the house shelters day-dreaming, the house protects 
the dreamer, the house allows one to dream in peace.”

                                    the dream house

“We comfort ourselves by reliving memories of protection. Something closed must retain our 
memories, while leaving them their original value as images. Memories of the outside world 
will never have the same tonality as those of home and, by recalling these memories, we add 
to our store of dreams; we are never real historians, but always near poets, and our emotion 
is perhaps nothing but an expression of a poetry that was lost.”

“Sometimes the house of the future is better built, lighter and larger than all the houses of 
the past, so that the image of the dream house is opposed to that of the childhood home. Late 
in life, with indomitable courage, we continue to say that we are going to do what we have 
not yet done: we are going to build a house. This dream house may be merely a dream of 
ownership, the embodiment of everything that is considered convenient, comfortable, healthy, 
sound, desirable, by other people. It must therefore satisfy both pride and reason, two
 irreconcilable terms.”

''Maybe it is a good thing for us to keep a few dreams of a house that we shall live in 
later, always later, so much later, in fact, that we shall not have time to achieve it. For a
 house that was final, one that stood in symmetrical relation to the house we were born in, 
would lead to thoughts--serious, sad thoughts--and not to dreams. It is better to live in 
a state of impermanence than in one of finality.”

“Thus the dream house must possess every virtue. How­ ever spacious, it must also be a 
cottage, a dove-cote, a nest, a chrysalis. Intimacy needs the heart of a nest. Erasmus, his 
biographer tells us, was long "in finding a nook in his fine house in which he could put his 
little body with safety. He ended by confining himself to one room until he could breathe 
the parched air that was necessary to him. ”

Douglas Ramos, Architecture From a Dream, 2015                                             Schützen community housing -The Architectural Review 


“A creature that hides and “withdraws into its shell,” is preparing a “way out.” This is true 
of the entire scale of metaphors, from the resurrection of a man in his grave, to the sudden 
outburst of one who has long been silent. If we remain at the heart of the image under 
consideration, we have the impression that, by staying in the motionlessness of its shell,
 the creature is preparing temporal explosions, not to say whirlwinds, of being.”

“And all the spaces of our past moments of solitude, the spaces in which we have suffered 
from solitude, enjoyed, desired, and compromised solitude, remain indelible within us and 
precisely because the human being wants them to remain so. He knows instinctively that this
 space identified with his solitude is creative; that even when it is forever expunged from the 
present, when, henceforth, it is alien to all the promises of the future, even when we no longer 
have a garret, when the attic room is lost and gone, there remains the fact that we once loved 
a garret, once lived in an attic. We return to them in our night dreams. These retreats have the 
value of a shell. And when we reach the very end of the labyrinths of sleep, when we attain to 
the regions of deep slumber, we may perhaps experience a type of repose that is pre-human; 
pre-human, in this case, approaching the immemorial. But in the daydream itself, the recollection
 of moments of confined, simple, shut-in space are experiences of heartwarming space, of a space
 that does not seek to become extended, but would like above all still to be possessed. In the past, 
the attic may have seemed too small, it may have seemed cold in winter and hot in summer. Now,
 however, in memory recaptured through daydreams, it is hard to say through what syncretism the
 attic is at once small and large, warm and cool, always comforting.”

Masao Yamamoto                                                              Casa Barragan, Mexico City, 1948 Architect: Luis Barragán / ph. Alexandre Georges 


“Verticality is ensured by the polarity of cellar and attic, the marks of which are so deep that, in 
a way, they open up two very different perspectives for a phenomenology of the imagination. 
Indeed, it is possible, almost without commentary, to oppose the rationality of the roof to the
 irrationality of the cellar. A roof tells its raison d'etre right away: it gives mankind shelter from 
the rain and sun he fears. Geographers are constantly reminding us that, in every country, the 
slope of the roofs is one of the surest indications of the climate. We "understand" the slant of
 a roof. Even a dreamer dreams rationally; for him, a pointed roof averts rain clouds. Up near 
the roof all our thoughts are clear. In the attic it is a pleasure to see the bare rafters of the 
strong framework. Here we participate in the carpenter's solid geometry.
As for the cellar, we shall no doubt find uses for it .. It will be rationalized and its conveniences
 enumerated. But it is first and foremost the dark entity of the house, the one that partakes of 
subterranean forces. When we dream there, we are in harmony with the irrationality of the 

Eleanor Taylor, Urban landscape                                                                        Skog by Frida Stenmark


“It is on the plane of the daydream and not on that of facts that childhood remains alive and 
poetically useful within us. Throughout this permanent childhood, we maintain the poetry of 
the past. To inhabit oneirically the house we were born in means more than to inhabit it in 
memory; it means living in this house that is gone, the way we used to dream in it.”

”In the realm of absolute imagination, we remain young very late in life. But we must lose 
our earthly Paradise in order to actually live in it, to experience it in the reality of its
 images, in the absolute sublimation that transcends all passion.”

”When we are at an age to imagine, we cannot say how or why we imagine. Then, when we 
could say how we imagine, we cease to imagine. We should therefore dematurize ourselves.”

“Daydream transports the dreamer outside the immediate world to a world that bears 
the mark of infinity.”

“Great dreamers possess intimacy with the world.”

"Intimate immensity"

New York Times Magazine Jan 2013, ph. Ina Jang                                                           Uta Barth, The long now


“All memory has to be reimagined. For we have in our memories micro-films that 
can only be read if they are lighted by the bright light of the imagination.”

“Far from the immensities of sea and land, merely through memory, we can recapture, 
by means of meditation, the resonances of this contemplation of grandeur. But is this really 
memory? Isn’t imagination alone able to enlarge indefinitely the images of immensity? 
In point of face, daydreaming, from the very first second, is an entirely constituted state. 
We do not see it start, and yet it always starts the same way, that is, it flees the object 
nearby and right away it is far off, elsewhere, in the space of elsewhere.”

“In the theater of the past that is constituted by memory, the stage setting maintains the 
characters in their dominant roles ... And if we want to go beyond history, or even, while 
remaining in history, detach from our own history the always too contingent history of 
the persons who have encumbered it, we realize that the calendars of our lives can only
 be established in its imagery.”

“Therefore, the places in which we have experienced day dreaming reconstitute themselves
 in a new daydream, and it is because our memories of former dwelling-places are relived as 
day-dreams these dwelling-places of the past remain in us for all the time.”

“Our past is situated elsewhere, and both time and place are impregnated with a sense of unreality”

Toyo Ito, U House                                                                                               Chiharu Shiota 


”As soon as we become motionless, we are elsewhere; we are dreaming in a world
that is immense. Indeed, immensity is the movement of the motionless man.”

”To benefit by all the lessons of modern psychology and all that has been learned about
man’s being through psychoanalysis, metaphysics should therefore be resolutely discursive.
It should beware of the privileges of evidence that are the property of geometrical intuition.
Sight says too many things at one time. Being does not see itself. Perhaps it listens to itself. It
does not stand out, it is not bordered by nothingness: one is never sure of finding it, or of finding
it solid, when one approaches a center of being. And if we want to determine man’s being, we are
 never sure of being closer to ourselves if we “withdraw” into ourselves, if we move toward the
 center of the spiral; for often it is in the heart of being that being is in errancy. Sometimes, it is in
 being outside itself that being tests consistencies. Sometimes, too, it is closed in, as it were, on
the outside.”

“Winter adds to the poetry of a house.”

"It is silence, rather, that obliges the poet to listen, and gives the dream greater intimacy.
We hardly know where to situate this silence, whether in the vast world or in the immense
past. But we do know that it comes from beyond a wind that dies down or a rain that
grows gentle.”

"Tranquil foliage that really is lived in, a tranquil gaze discovered in the humblest of eyes,
are the artisans of immensity. These images make the world grow, and the summer too. At
certain hours poetry gives out waves of calm. From being imagined, calm becomes an
emergence of being. It is like a value that dominates, in spite of minor states of being, in
spite of a disturbed world."

Tina Modotti, Telegraph Wires, c.1925                                          Tang Kwok-hin, Transparent Collage on Glass 

                                           poetic image

“The poetic image […] is not an echo of the past. On the contrary: through the 
brilliance of any image, the distant past resounds with echoes.”

''Rilke wrote: 'These trees are magnificent, but even more magnificent is the sublime 
and moving space between them, as though with their growth it too increased.”

”By means of poetic language, waves of newness flow over the surface of being. And language
 bears within itself the dialectics of open and closed. Through meaning it encloses, while through
 poetic expression, it opens up.”

”For Baudelaire, man’s poetic fate is to be the mirror of immensity; or even more exactly, 
immensity becomes conscious of itself, through man. Man for Baudelaire is a vast being”.

“All important words, all the words marked for grandeur by a poet, are keys to the universe, 
to the dual universe of the Cosmos and the depths of the human spirit.”

”The round cry of round being makes the sky round like a cupola”

“The poetic image is a sudden salience on the surface of the psyche”

“The poet, in the novelty of his images, is always the origin of language.”

“When the image is new, the world is new.”

Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space, 1958

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