Many of us describe ourselves as introverts or extroverts, depending on our behaviour in a psychological context. This concept of introversion and extraversion was introduced by Carl Jung, a renowned Swiss psychoanalyst who founded analytical psychology. He was an introvert himself, and secluded himself from the worldparticularly during his childhood.

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Carl Jung. Source-

Though Jung has contributed significantly to the field of psychology, he was also interested in the visual arts. He studied in great depth the Modernist art movement and the previous movements that influenced it. Like many architects, much of his work was inspired by art, both Western and non-Western.

Jung’s inclination towards the visual arts was piqued by his fascination with symbols. He was an expert in mythological and religious symbolism, and observed that many cultures, religious art pieces and even fairy tales of the past and present share immense similarities in symbols, patterns, and themes. These symbols came to be known as archetypes, and there are four main archetypes, namely- the Persona, the Shadow, the Anima/Animus, and the Self.

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An artwork by Jung from his Red Book. Source-

The Persona refers to how one presents themselves to the world, the Shadow consists of our repressed ideas and desires, the Anima is a feminine image in the male psyche, whereas the Animus is a masculine image in the female psyche. The Self refers to the unified psyche as a whole. Circles, squares and mandalas were often used to depict the Self archetype.

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The four major Jungian Archetypes. Source-

Carl Jung spent quite some time abroad, travelling to places such as England, East Africa, the United States of America, and India. These travels proved to be tremendously insightful and influenced much of his work. Influence of travels on his work is another factor Jung seems to have in common with many architects.

Therefore, Jung’s interest in art, symbols, and travels, make it quite easy to imagine him as an architect. I imagine that Jungian architecture would comprise of intricately developed frescoes and carvings. Mandalas and other circular forms would be widely used, not just ornamentally, but also as a layout. Perhaps a building which is circular in plan, built such that the hierarchy of spaces is very clear- the central space being the most important and the peripheral space the least. Ceiling frescoes comprising of Mandalas and mythological symbols could be a key feature in his spaces. Surprise-evoking contrasting elements such as spacious dark rooms with a graceful light well highlighting the centre could be common in his designs, to compliment his concept of the Anima/ Animus.

Jung being an introvert himself, could probably develop a liking towards the design of spaces that are modest, cosy, and not monumental in scale.

He would possibly have been influenced by the architecture of eastern Africa or the colonial architecture of pre-independent India, or the high-rise buildings that were slowly becoming a norm in the United States and London.

In fact, Jung built his own house on the shore of the Obersee basin of Lake Zurich in Switzerland. This was mainly to fulfil his desire of representing his thoughts in stone, as words and paper “did not seem real enough to him.” Initially, his idea was to build a single storied structure with a firepit at the centre of a circular dwelling, with bunks at the inner circumference. It was the African huts with die-fires in the middle that influenced this primitive design of Jung’s. However, he decided to scrap this idea as he believed this design was “too primitive.” This led to the conception of Bollingen Tower as it stands today- a stone clad two storey house. His travels to India also inspired the inclusion of a meditation room where one can withdraw from the outside world. After a few years, he also decided to include a courtyard- as he was in dire need of an open-to-sky space.

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Carl Jung’s residence in Switzerland. Source-

Plausibly, the interest Jung took in the design of his own dwelling would have motivated him to specialise in residential architecture- I can imagine him becoming the Frank Lloyd Wright of Europe!

Since his childhood days in Switzerland, he had taken a liking towards lakes, which was primarily the reason he constructed his house on the shore of a lake basin. Hence, soothing water bodies could also be a key component of his spaces, designed to bring calmness and serenity to the inhabitants.

Individuation is another philosophy of Jung’s, which is described as the integration of one’s life experiences that develop one’s distinct personality, making one an individual. Hence, it is safe to assume each Jungian structure would stand out from the previous, influenced by this doctrine.

Safe to say, Jungian architecture would be an excellent amalgamation of mythological motifs, religious symbols, primitive practices, and designs inspired by foreign cultures and countries, making it the epitome of global and timeless architecture. Carl Jung the psychoanalyst continues to be a topic of interest for millions of psychology and science students and enthusiasts around the world even today, and if this great mind were an architect, I see no reason why the case would not be the same.


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