Traversing the triad affordances-thresholds-ambiances has helped to emphasize the specific features of each sonic experience and to make the different sonic configurations emerge: solid, void, threshold, and bubble. This approach highlights the importance of certain marginalized concerns of contemporary architectural and urban thinking: thresholds, intimacy, and the permanence of memory. This study has shown the important role that these dimensions play in the perceptual process and the constitution of a distinctive experience of a place.
Thresholds link and separate different states of perception. They play an important role in the sensory experience of places by stimulating the senses due to the sensory variation they present. A threshold is, rather than a radical change, a shift, a flutter that gently leads to another state; they mark a state of becoming (Barazon 2010: 6, translated by the author).
The keen interest in these minor spaces lies in the liminal experiences they offer. They prepare the walker for another experience. Walter Benjamin observes a lack of this liminal experience and regrets that the contemporary thinking does not give it greater importance. He understands thresholds as zones. He says: “The Schwelle [threshold] must be radically distinguished from the limit or border [Grenze]. The Schwelle is a zone. Change [Wandel], passage, flooding lie in the word ‘swelling’ (schwellen)” (Barazon 2010: 12). For him, thresholds constitute experiences that take into account the importance of the moment (Barazon 2010: 4, translated by the author); they are indeed spatiotemporal elements that mark an opening for another thing. It is for this reason that many Arabic writers interpret thresholds along the passages in the medina as a succession of hope: in each transitional space, a new beginning starts.
The presence of thresholds in this oasis can serve as a model for thinking about contemporary Mediterranean urbanism. In the harsh climate of the desert, thresholds offer a succession of pauses during journeys; these short stops open new ways for reflecting on the sensory comfort at an urban scale, particularly in relation to the practices of walking.
The intimate dimension. One of the merits of this rehabilitation project is how it combines the intimate and the public character in this space. If intimacy by definition opposes the notion of a public space – a place of exposure – it constitutes here a particular sensory dimension of the Source Bleue. Intimacy emerges in different forms: architecturally, a tiny space surrounded by dwellings and thresholds; sonically, thanks to the enveloping effect of the sounds of water that configure collective subspaces and bubbles of intimacy; affectively, realized in the secular beliefs in the power of water, the myth of the holy woman, and the ritual sacrifices, providing access to deeper layers of intimacy and resulting in a special attachment to this place.
The permanence of memory. Despite the varying climatic conditions and the urban processes that have transformed the sensory relationships between humans and water, the collective memory remains largely stable. Oral transmission, rituals, and social practices related to the origin of the spring have been maintained over the centuries. The history of the origin of the place, the myth of the holy woman, the belief in its beneficial power, the feasts and memorials are now shared in this public space. Indeed, the current architectural design preserves a place for this collective memory.