Rebecca Han

MArch I

Commoning the Seed: Ritual and Preservation as Practice for the Modern Monastery

Advised by Mark Lee

Characterized by strict organizations of time, rules and divisions of space, the monastery has provided the ideal set of conditions for early religious practice throughout the centuries. While monastic practice has been increasingly categorized as anachronistic, it is precisely these rules that have allowed possibilities for freedom of thought. 

Situated upon the site of a former monastery complex now left as a public open ground, this thesis proposes a contemporary renewal in the form of a commons within the city. By adapting to a world of shifting cultures and climates, it seeks to strengthen what may be shared as part of the commons for all communities. The assemblage of spaces and discrete elements shapes attitudes upon the individual, the collective, as well as the public by framing and choreographing ways of communing at various scales. Specifically, the design calls attention to the growing seed crisis amid the roots of capitalism and sees potential in the monastery as a closed-loop ecosystem for preservation through practices of ecological and cultural commoning today.

20 photos of white models

Brightly lit exterior pathway between a cement wall and a glass wall with cement columns, with potted plants in various spots.

A curved interior walkway with handrails on either side.

 A brightly lit corridor with concrete walls and doorways along either side.

Rendering of a courtyard showing two people amidst trees, flower boxes, and outdoor furniture.

Interior room with a single desk at the center holding piles of seeds. Behind the desk is a tall narrow opening in the wall showing shelves with jars on them.