Creating Spirit of Place: Genus Loci

The ancient Greeks spoke of Genus Loci or the Spirit of a Place. It defines the profound qualities which gives the perception of a place its character and identity.

Genus Loci only exists because we perceive it so. What makes a place memorable? What design elements create character and identity?

By understanding the spirit of place, we learn to enhance our environment. As a designer, I most commonly apply this understanding to the connections that can occur between house and landscape, or between any building and nature. For it is at this margin, between the built and the un-built, where one has the best opportunity to shape people’s perception and pleasure in a place.

Their experience can be enhanced as simply as creating seating at just the right place to relax, providing calm, or creating a space that encourages engagement and socializing; or by providing a path with a clearly expressed purpose.

An understanding of Genus Loci has profound implications in creating a sense of place and is the animating principal in my work.