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5 Examples of Genius Loci

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Genius loci is the spirit of a place. Historically this was taken quite literally as the term extends from classical Roman religion and the belief that districts of Roman had their own protective spirits. In its modern usage, genius loci is a design or practice that matches the culture, environment, traditions, society and economics of a place. The following are common examples.


Buildings and infrastructure that are designed for where they will be built. For example, organic architecture that blends a building into the local environment.


Landscapes such as gardens that match the surroundings. For example, a garden that "borrows" from the scenery by using background hills, mountains and structures as elements in its design.

Urban Design

Neighborhoods that reflect the society, culture, history and environment of a place. For example, a neighborhood designed to celebrate its characteristic cultural identity such as Paifang gates at the entrances to a neighborhood that is traditionally considered "Chinatown."


Education that is tailored to a place such as programs design to teach the culture, history and languages of remote northern communities in Canada.


Development of crops that match the ecology, landscape and agricultural traditions of a place. This can allow a farm to produce high quality foods that command premium prices.
Overview: Genius Loci
Definition (1)
The spirit of a place.
Definition (2)
A design or practice that matches the culture, environment, traditions, society and economics of a place.
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