2) Core qualities

The next step is to find the Core Qualities that are to permeate the physical form of the building.

The above aim begs again the obvious question: What is the “Spirit of Australia”?

Whatever this spirit may be, it arises out of the mutual interaction of three essential factors:


1) The ancient land with its climate and geography

2) The ancient indigenous population with its history and culture

3) The migrant population of the last 200 years with its modern culture and consciousness


The land and its indigenous people are some of the most ancient in the world, as a modern nation Australia is one of the youngest countries in the world. This gave us the overall theme:




The next step is to find the qualities that are implied in the above factors and overall theme. Biosculptural Architecture works a lot with the qualities of the 4 Elements. This provides us with a helpful template through which typical qualities begin to reveal themselves.



In a literal sense the four elements describe the condensation of matter from the fiery to the gaseous, watery and solid state. Everything in material existence is subject to these states. On an archetypal level, the four elements also represent four equivalent sets of non-physical qualities. This was explained in an earlier section. The summarized qualities are again shown below:



Earth Solid Form, Resistance, Purposeful Whole
Water Life, Motion, Emotion
Air Light, Expansion, Thought
Fire Spirit, Will, Motivation



Lets therefore, through the perspective of the 4 Elements, take a look at the Australian continent and its ancient and modern people:



The interior of the Australian continent is an ancient, weathered, dry and rugged desert landscape, with its more fertile and densely populated areas stretched like a green belt around the periphery. This land is hard, wild and mysterious and still contains the footprints of the ancient creator beings. In fact the land and its geographic features are but an outer expression of Aboriginal spirituality and the beings and creatures of the dream time. The indigenous population learnt to live with this land and has a deeply experienced connection with it. The modern settlers and migrants endured great hardship learning to cope with and to cultivate the land. Necessity taught them to become practical and resourceful and to shrug off tragedy and suffering with a dry comment and a larrikin sense of humor.



Although as an island Australia is surrounded by water, it has little freely articulated water of its own. In comparison to other continents, rivers are small and few, water is scarce and multiyear droughts are common. On the other hand vast artesian basins lie in its centre deep beneath the surface. The element of water is the outer, physical expression of what we experience on a non-physical level as the flow and movement of our feelings and emotions. Surprisingly this curious absence of the watery element in the Australian continent seems to have also left its mark on the psyche of its people, whose dry sense of humor and practical, down to earth approach to life is not easily given over to the kind of animated emotional styles of expression we might expect to find in southern Europe but would find “out of place” in the Australian outback. However, reticence or dryness of emotional expression shouldn’t of course be confused with a lack of emotional life or resources. Far from it. It takes a great deal of emotional resilience and stamina to persevere in the face of the back breaking work and hardships faced by the early pioneers and explorers. The watery element or emotional life is not lacking at all, it’s just hidden underneath a rugged looking surface layer, like the underground artesian basins in the heart of Australia.



The element of air is connected with light, which in turn is associated with thought and consciousness. There appears to be an archetypal synonymy between outer and inner light. Just like physical light becomes visible through the fact that it is being reflected from the surfaces of the environment, so our inner environment becomes visible to us when we “reflect” on it with the inner light of our thoughts. Whilst the element of water is scarce in the Australian landscape, there is an overabundance of light, air and open spaces. The horizons are vast, the air is hot and dry, the skies are clear and the light is bright and intense. Again we can draw an interesting parallel between the physicality of the land and the people living there. Australians are open minded, practical and perceptive. They are uncomplicated, quick-witted and sharp, with an irreverent attitude towards authority and a dislike of “tall poppies”. Australians are not prone to formalities and traditions, their approach is direct, to the point and quick on the give and take. Modern Australians are among the fastest to adopt new technologies and their experience with farming and mining have challenged them to come up with many new technologies and a great number of practical inventions. All of which amounts to an open, quick and practical mind, born as it were out of the need to adapt in order to survive and thrive in a hard and ancient land. The land is ancient and of the past, but the consciousness and cultural life of its migrant population is modern and directed to the future.




The element of Fire is an expression of the spiritual element. We all can experience within us an individual spark and essence which represents the core of our being. Our internal fire is what motivates us into action. When this fire no longer burns we have lost the will to live. On a physiological level the element of “Fire” resides in our metabolic system, which burns up the fuel that supplies us with physical energy. On a geographical level, as one of the oldest continents Australia has little volcanic activity. Physical Fire does not reside in its depths, but at the surface. Fire regularly sweeps the earth, in fact many plants and trees need cyclic bushfires for their seeds to be able to propagate. The element of fire also lives in the red earth, red rock, and in the red sands, red iron and other metallic minerals of the outback. Uluru, the big red rock stands like a big red heart in the middle of the Australian desert. For the aboriginal people the elements of Earth and Fire are closely interlinked. Aboriginal spirituality does not dwell on far away cosmic abstractions but reveals itself behind every rock formation, animal and tree. There is still a gap of understanding today between the ancient spirituality of the land and its indigenous people and the modern spirituality and consciousness of the 21st century. It seems part of the destiny of Australia as a nation to bridge this gap.

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