Published in the journal Psychoanalytic Psychology
Hans Loewald’s understanding of sublimation differs radically from Freud’s use of this term. Whereas Freud saw sublimation as a change of aim, elevating drive-based desire to a higher level of art, for Loewald, sublimation is a process of linking two experiences of reality. I suggest that Loewald’s sublimation combines ideas from his two teachers—Martin Heidegger and Sigmund Freud. Using Heidegger’s terms building and dwelling, I argue that architecture is always a sublimatory product, combining a rational, functional reality of building with a phenomenological experience of inhabiting space and dwelling. I described how this concept of sublimation is useful to understanding architecture, a field that is charged to elaborate the links and boundaries between oneself and others. Buildings are interfaces between our fragile body and the powerful forces of nature, between individual solitude and the social, pulsating metropolis. It is a meditation and elaboration of self-other boundaries. I end by demonstrating how Loewald’s notion of sublimation might be utilized to understand three architectural projects we designed. These projects are based on an underlying, unifying field that is then differentiated to create singular functional and social moments within the building.