A Ground of Nullity

This paper raises the question of the continuity of territorial control over the urban space. In other words, should sovereignty over the territory be continuous, with no anomalies or exceptions? For purposes of the discussion, I examine the sanctuary as an element of the urban entity that is marked off from the rest of the space and not subject to regulatory legislation. I consider the spatial significance of the temenos, sahn, and pairi-daēza, conceptualizing them as differentiated components in the urban syntax, a ground of nullity that is designated for a use distinct from that of its surroundings. As a sacred place under the authority of God, it is by definition exempt from the territorial control of any other power. Thus, the enclave excluded from conventional regulated space takes on the features of the original site. By maintaining the trend toward vacancy, it becomes a symbolic object in and of itself, the source of the nullity that allows the urban space to contain the processes of displacement and transformation. 

Terra nullius // Temenos // Sanctuary // Asylum-Place nexus // Territorial possession.

Shira Noy Goren

Shira Noy Goren, an architect and urban designer, teaches at the Architecture department in Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem. Her interest focuses on the conceptual root of the urban structure; movement-territory nexus concerning possession aspects; the urban topography as the interaction between ritual practices and the cityscapes; structures of dynamic systems; and on the implementation of spatial issues related to deterritorial situations in existing urban spaces.