This thesis investigates the life-affirming Dionysian philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche and how its components can be translated into a Dionysian temple. Ever since Nietzsche’s pronouncement of the death of God, affirming life has become one of existential philosophy’s most important tasks, and of greatest concern to nineteenth and twentieth century European culture. To this day, the philosophy of life affirmation remains an important body of work whose relevance extends far beyond its era of conception and initial audience. This thesis attempts to understand the central concern of affirmation through Nietzsche’s concepts of nihilism, Greek tragedy, Dionysian pessimism, and the will to power. Greek tragedy teaches us that we must find joy in the destructive aspects of life and accept life’s objectionable foundation if we wish to find peace and harmony in it. The nihilism of the modern age prompts us to discover new ways of finding meaning in the philosophical void that has been created by the devaluation of values belonging to Christian morality, thus causing the death of God. Striving to become the Übermensch teaches us that we must confront and overcome obstacles in order to increase our power. This thesis elaborates on Nietzschean philosophy using two iconic North American movies. One major aspect of life affirmation, the creation of new values for oneself, is investigated through David Fincher’s Fight Club. Labyrinths, as a maddening and therefore Dionysian psychological state of mind, are investigated through Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining.
The Dionysian aesthetics of affirmation are explored in this thesis through the sublime, abstract art, illusion in art, affirmative art, and martial arts. These concepts serve as a groundwork for implementing artistic principles into the architecture of this thesis. Additionally, because Dionysus is the god of music, my architecture attempts to engage in a relationship with music. Choir music and martial arts coalesce in this thesis, in which inspiration from the tragic chorus and Nietzschean philosophy of overcoming and the will to power come together in a grand dome to create a unique, Dionysian experience. Furthermore, this thesis incorporates a nightclub to evoke themes of the Dionysian. Large concerts, raves, and festivals are highly comparable to the spirit of Dionysian festivals. In these settings participants can lose their individuality in the moment and transcend their suffering for a moment in time. Clubbers will parallel Dionysian orgies through the enjoyment of music, dancing, sexual liberation, and induction of states of intoxication and ecstasy. Lastly, a bathhouse is implemented to evoke the sensual and sexual nature of Dionysus. The aesthetics and principles of abstract art are used as a design strategy to conceive of a temple that expresses a primordial, and thus Dionysian, state of mind.