3.4. Classical places of leisure

The architecture of great public buildings provides a constant source of ideas about division-thinking, not only on the classical past, but in the present as well. Great recreational buildings, be it either the older thermen and amphitheaters or the more recent stadiums, sport ‘palaces’ and concert halls have their own, specific place within a cultural setting. Building ‘for the masses’ is often a distinct moment in the visible presence of a culture. The balance between the political power of a ruler and the desire of the people should be just right.

Quadralectic architecture has a special interest in these types of buildings. One may wonder why. Recreational architecture is, by its very nature, situated in a psychological area of play. Therefore, it has to do with the dynamism of sentiments. These elements are situated, in a quadralectic interpretation, in the Fourth Quadrant. The realm of the visible invisibility (senses) is not ‘higher’ than the visibilities of other quadrants, but it has the greatest affinity with four-fold thinking. Simply, because communications in lower forms of division thinking do not have this extended form.

A dualistic component is always present in the process. Most places of leisure reflect, on the one hand, the taste of a limited group of those in power. And, on the other hand, the masses, which like to be impressed and be part of political and economic successes (regardless of how they are achieved). The architect has the difficult position to deal with the people in power (offering the commission), his own creative integrity and the appreciation of the general public. It is no wonder, that Philibert Delorme (in 1567) liked an architect  to have four hands and three eyes to face the problems in architecture (see  fig. 6).

The Roman Empire – as a historical entity with a beginning (750 BC) and an end (500 AD; see also fig. 88) – can act as an agent to pinpoint the position of thermen and amphitheaters in the communication-as-a-whole. Their architectural prominence in the visibility period (X) gives an indication of a glorification of the individual, on the one hand, and an attention to the multitude to the other hand. Buildings to cater for the community in order to fulfill their personal and social needs bring a ‘Third Quadrant’ (III) individual together with a ‘Fourth Quadrant’ (IV) mass. The outcome in stone can be fruitful.

The Roman bath houses and the amphitheaters have their purpose as buildings of leisure in common. Leisure activities and social intermingling carry the characteristics of a Fourth Quadrant setting. The various forms of visible and invisible interactions of individuals come together in a publicly staged act in a (relative) carefree environment, which creates a form of well being. The term ‘recreation’ point to this very process, in which the constraints of lower division thinking are broken down and the freedom of higher division-thinking is found (again). Life could be reinvented when the chains of opposition are broken.

The following sub-chapters will draw the attention to a number of famous classical places of leisure with the intention to place them in a greater cultural framework. Certain features in plan and details are pointed out, but it is realized that further investigations are necessary to support any suggestions in relation to division thinking. This short survey will act as a way to point into a new direction of scientific research, which has not been tried yet, but might be worth following.

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