The Architectures of Paradise

Dr. Tessa Morrison
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The Biblical earthly paradise is a garden, the Garden of Eden. The Garden of Eden was watered by four rivers; the Pison, the Gihon, the Hiddekel and the Euphrates. The rivers meander though Eden in no fixed pattern; Eden appears to be an asymmetric, bountiful wildness where nature prevails. This is in contrast to the celestial Jerusalem, described in the Revelation of John the Divine, which is symmetrical in its shape and design. It is described as being cubic in shape with entrances on the north, south, east and west; all these sides are symmetric and identical. The foundations of the city were gems; the streets were made of gold and the gates carved from massive pearls. The garden of the celestial Jerusalem is the tree of life symmetrical place within the city – symmetry prevails.

However, the celestial city of Revelation is not the only architecture for Paradise in the Christian tradition. In early Irish literature there are seven Heavens, but the city of God is still highly planned, with its architecture described in Gaelic verse, such as 'Saltair na Rann'. In the 'Divine Comedy' Dante does not describe a city but his Paradise is housed in a closed, symmetric and fourth-dimensional universe. This paper examines some of the differences and similarities of the architectures of Paradise.

Keywords: Utopian Cities, Symmetry, Architecture, Paradise
Stream: Aesthetics, Design, History, Historiography
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Architectures of Paradise, The

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Dr. Tessa Morrison

Researcher, The School of Architecture and Built Environment, The University of Newcastle

My academic background is in art, mathematics and philosophy. A move to the School of Architecture last year has reinvigorate an interest in the philosophies behind the geometric structure of cities and my current research is examining the geometry and philosophy behind the architectural structures of cities in utopian literature from the ancient era to the modern times. I am also also a practising artist in computer graphics and printmaking. In recent years she has exhibited in France, Italy, England, Scotland, Canada, Belgium, China, Korea, Turkey, Spain, Poland, Romania, and throughout Australia.

Ref: H06P0088