The Concept Of Space In Architecture

2836 words - 11 pages


Modern architecture is all too often an exercise in sensationalist form making. The visual image occupies a tyrannical immediacy in modern life and this has been absorbed into the practice of architecture. Yet we spend the majority of our time within spaces - so what are the qualities of these spaces? If architecture is about our experience of space, then what are the important aspects of these spaces, and how can we learn lessons to help us design spaces of an appropriate quality - with memory and with meaning?

poetry : ‘work in which the expression of feelings and ideas is given intensity by the use of distinctive style and rhythm; poems collectively or as a genre of literature’ (Oxford Dictionaries, 2013)

The construction and composition of a space can be related back to poetry, by the use of similar methods and devices. By looking at these devices present in poetry, it is possible to begin to deconstruct how an atmosphere is created within spaces. Firstly, rhythm is a key identity of poetry and consequently space, defined as a harmonious sequence of elements (Oxford Dictionaries, 2013), which signals the need for coherence between the range of devices used. The idea of repetition is also fundamental in poetry, where poetical devices such as rhyme and assonance, contribute to the rhythm of the whole. Does this signal that order and regularity are crucial in the composition of spaces? It is interesting to analyse the use of similes and metaphors in poetry with relation to spaces, in the way they are descriptive devices used to represent ideas by comparison to something else. It is important for spaces to cohere with their historical/social context through the use of devices such as this. The way viewers perceive poetry is also essential; a poem is read differently by everyone and is usually open to various interpretations, triggering a range of different emotions and attitudes.


To be able to explore the idea of internal space, it is first necessary to look at how and why attitudes towards space and form have developed and changed. In ancient western architecture, the Greek temple focused on the sequences of experiences, beginning at the ascent of the stairs, concluding in the grandest space, dedicated to the Gods (McCown, 2005, p.7). In these times, Botton (2006, pg.28) states that ‘a beautiful building was synonymous with a classical building’ , where symmetry and repeated ratios were prominent. Decorated columns were dictated by successful rules and ratios. The idea of repeating previous designs was the norm, with architects of the classic era having little regard for innovation (Botton, 2006, pg.32). Limitations of this period and the many periods that followed were that of transport; materials used had to be local, while the lack of travel meant that building styles from around the world were rarely seen (Botton, 2006, p.32). The development of spatial hierarchies in the middles ages and...

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