Architectural Space

I’ve been thinking about space a lot lately, which may sound odd. But I notice that I adopt a different mindset at the door of buildings.

Humans have become masters of space in their constructions. So much so that the concepts of “indoors” and “outdoors” I believe have become heuristics that conjure certain feelings and realities. It seems sometimes that we have engineered another dimension for ourselves. Windows help bridge that gap, yes, but it never seems to be enough. Maybe its the stillness of the air, or the warmth of the furnace, or more probably the smell that emanates from the people who live within,  but there is a tangible and artificial difference between the rest of the world and the abode which we inhabit.

Here is a study from Beatriz Colomina that follows two heralds to the “modern” movement: Adolf Loos and Le Corbusier. An Excerpt from the MIT press description for Privacy and Publicity:

Privacy and Publicity
Modern Architecture as Mass Media
Beatriz ColominaThrough a series of close readings of two major figures of the modern movement, Adolf Loos and Le Corbusier, Beatriz Colomina argues that architecture only becomes modern in its engagement with the mass media, and that in so doing it radically displaces the traditional sense of space and subjectivity.Privacy and Publicity boldly questions certain ideological assumptions underlying the received view of modern architecture and reconsiders the methodology of architectural criticism itself. Where conventional criticism portrays modern architecture as a high artistic practice in opposition to mass culture, Colomina sees the emerging systems of communication that have come to define twentieth-century culture—the mass media—as the true site within which modern architecture was produced. She considers architectural discourse as the intersection of a number of systems of representation such as drawings, models, photographs, books, films, and advertisements. This does not mean abandoning the architectural object, the building, but rather looking at it in a different way. The building is understood here in the same way as all the media that frame it, as a mechanism of representation in its own right.With modernity, the site of architectural production literally moved from the street into photographs, films, publications, and exhibitions—a displacement that presupposes a new sense of space, one defined by images rather than walls. This age of publicity corresponds to a transformation in the status of the private, Colomina argues; modernity is actually the publicity of the private. Modern architecture renegotiates the traditional relationship between public and private in a way that profoundly alters the experience of space. In a fascinating intellectual journey, Colomina tracks this shift through the modern incarnations of the archive, the city, fashion, war, sexuality, advertising, the window, and the museum, finally concentrating on the domestic interior that constructs the modern subject it appears merely to house.

Another figure, Andrew Geller, used Geometric shapes in often bizarre ways to alter our sense of architectural space, induce a new kind relationship with the household. The Hunt House was most intriguing to me.

A Geller sampling follows.

Reese House, 1955

Hunt House, 1958

Pearlroth House, 1959

Frank House, 1958

Lynn House, 1961

Elkin House, 1966

Andrew Geller


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