James Mulligan

James Mulligan


This project was inspired by one of Pablo Neruda’s first sonnets from his Cien Sonetos de Amor collection. Each line and letter have guided my decision making and cultivated this structure. I started this process by reading the original Spanish version of “Sonnet 66” and creating a series of watercolors from the feelings it evoked. Using these watercolors, I was able to clearly visualize some of the patterns and similarities that surfaced in the text. The most prominent for me were a sense of separation, opposition, and waiting for the passage of time.

I took these key elements and started to design through floor plans and paper models to explore the relationship I wanted between this text and its physical form. After much trial and error, I found my way of representing some of these concepts. The most powerful was a colonnade of south-facing thin slats which cast shadows onto the large, organizing wall behind it. With this one idea in mind, I worked to refine a space that complements the themes and structure of this beautiful love sonnet.

Unfortunately, Pablo Neruda is no longer with us, however as I designed, I could not help but imagine him inhabiting the small space. Meaning this structure inspired by him is also meant to serve as his solitary writer’s retreat.

Soneto #66 – Original

No te quiero sino porque te quiero
y de quererte a no quererte llego
y de esperarte cuando no te espero
pasa mi corazón del frío al fuego.

Te quiero sólo porque a ti te quiero,
te odio sin fin, y odiándote te ruego,
y la medida de mi amor viajero
es no verte y amarte como un ciego.

Tal vez consumirá la luz de Enero,
su rayo cruel, mi corazón entero,
robándome la llave del sosiego.

En esta historia sólo yo me muero
y moriré de amor porque te quiero,
porque te quiero, amor, a sangre y fuego.



Sonnet #66 – English Translation

I do not love you except because I love you;
I go from loving to not loving you,
From waiting to not waiting for you
My heart moves from cold to fire.

I love you only because it’s you the one I love;
I hate you deeply, and hating you
Bend to you, and the measure of my changing love for you
Is that I do not see you but love you blindly.

Maybe January light will consume
My heart with its cruel
Ray, stealing my key to true calm.

In this part of the story I am the one who
Dies, the only one, and I will die of love because I love you,
Because I love you, Love, in fire and blood.

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