Page C1 . 15 March 2006       
ArchitectureWeek - Culture Department
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    Dear ArchitectureWeek,

    In an expanse of land almost as arid as a desert, lies a relatively unknown architectural jewel one that is well worth investigating further for those with a spirit of adventure. This region of 16 square miles (40 square kilometers) was once filled with over 13,000 stupas, temples, and pagodas, and some 2000 or so remain today. Bagan, in the center of Myanmar (formerly Burma), can be thought of as a sister of Angkor Wat in Cambodia, though here tourists are fewer, and the most common form of transport is the horse cart.


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    Austrian-born artist and scientist Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925) developed the "spiritual science" of anthroposophy "a path of knowledge aiming to guide the spiritual element in the human being to the spiritual in the universe." He saw all natural phenomena as interconnected spiritually and dependent on the larger whole. To explore the integrative and holistic ideals of anthroposophy, Swedish architect Erik Asmussen built the Rudolf Steiner Seminary, at Jrna, Sweden. Its social and cultural focus is the Culture House (completed in 1992), an expression of art, craft, spirituality, and functionality. Editor


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    Since before its completion in 2002, Stephen Holl's award-winning MIT dormitory, Simmons Hall, has been garnering praise from the architectural community. But assessing a building as a professional critic is different from living in and interacting with it. I wondered how the students who lived there felt about it.


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