existential space

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A SUMMARY OF THE FIRST TWO CHAPTERS OF ‘EXISTENCE, SPACE AND ARCHITECTURE’ BY CHRISTIAN NORBERG-SCHULZ

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  • 1. EXISTENTIAL SPACE
    A SUMMARY OF THE FIRST TWO CHAPTERS OF EXISTENCE, SPACE AND ARCHITECTURE BY CHRISTIAN NORBERG-SCHULZ

2. 3. 4. THE CONCEPT OF SPACE
5. HOW MAN PERCEIVES SPACE?(WHAT EXACTLY IS SPACE)
MANS SENSE OF ORIENTATION-SPATIAL INTUITION
WHEN ASKED A DIRECTION, PEOPLE IN FLAT LANDS SAY EAST-WEST-NORTH OR SOUTH, BUT PEOPLE FROM HILLY AREAS SAY UP OR DOWN. ENVIRONMENT OR GEOGRAPHY PLAYS A PART HERE.
HUMANS BASICALLY, AND PRIMITIVES, OR FARMERS OR PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN CLOSE CONTACT WITH NATURE ESPECIALLY, HAVE SPATIAL INTUITIONS AND ORIENTATIONS IN RELATION TO OBJECTS AND LOCALITIES. THE SPACE IDENTIFIED THUS IS COGNITIVE SPACE.
6. EARLY THEORY
PHILOSOPHERS TRY TO DECIPHER THE IDEA OF SPACE IN DIFFERENT THEORY.
Parmenides: Space cannont be imagined and therefore non-existent
Leucippos: Space is real, but with no bodily existence
Plato: Geometry is the science of space
Aristotle: Space(topos) is a sum of all places, a dynamic field with directions and qualities.
Lucretius and Kant: There are bodies and there is emptiness in which the bodies have their place, where they move.
7. EUCLIDEAN SACE- THE MEASURABLE, PHYSICAL SPACE-REPRESENTED BY ORTHOGONAL CO-ORDINATE SYSTEM. THIS IS AN ABSTRACT CONCEPT OF ARTIFICIAL SPACE WHERE MASS EXISTS.
THEORY OF RELATIVITY- INSTEAD OF THE MASS, WHAT EXISTS IS A SERIES OF EVENTS- THE SPACE ATTAINS A FOURTH DIMENSION OF TIME.
BUT THESE THEORY DO NOT CONSIDER THE HUMAN ASPECTS OF SPACE- THE EMOTIONAL RELATIONSHIP TO ONES ENVIRONMENT.
8. SPACE PERCEPTION OF A PERSON IS THE SUM OF HIS MOTIVATIONS AND PAST EXPERIENCES(A FOREST AS SEEN BY A TRIBAL PERSON AND A CITY DWELLER), AND IT VARIES ACCORDING TO SITUATIONS(THE SAME ROAD EXPERIENCED BY SAME PERSON WHEN IN CAR OR WHEN WALKING).
PIAGET: A PERSON RESPONDS IN A PARTICULAR WAY TO A SITUATION. THIS RESPONSE IS A COMBINATION OF AN ACTION BY THE PERSON ON THE ENVIRONMENT(ASSIMILATION), AND THE ACTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT ON THE PERSON(ACCOMMODATION), AS ARESULT OF WHICH, THE PERSON AND ENVIRONMENT SURROUNDING HIM IS MODIFIED TO OBTAIN A BALANCED EQUILIBRIUM (ADAPTATION). SUCH RESPONSES IS TERMED SCHEMATA.
IN SIMPLER TERMS WE MAY SAY, THAT THE SPACE PHYSICALLY IS CONSTANT AROUND A PERSON, BUT HIS CHARACTER MAKES HIM PERCEIVE THE SPACE IN A WAY, AND MODIFIES ITS MEANINGS ACCORDING TO HIS PAST EXPERIENCES, AND THIS MODIFICATION HAS A PATTERN.(A LONE CHILD SCARED OF THE DARK, ASSOCIATING IT WITH DEMONS, BUT SAME CHILD, SAME SPACE, SAME DARKNESS IS NOT SCARY WHEN HES WITH A PARENT-IT IS NOT SCARY WHEN THERE IS NO DARKNESS, AND GRADUALLY AS THE CHILD GROWS UP, THE SPACE IS NOT SCARY EVEN WHEN IT IS DARK, EVEN WHEN HE IS ALONE. SO SAME PERSON POSSESSES VARIOUS SCHEMA PROVIDING VARIOUS PERCEPTIONS)
A PERSONS PERCEPTION OF SPACE- THE ACTUAL SPACE IS THE SUM OF SUCH PERCEPTIONS.
9. A SPACE IS EXPERIENCED IN IMMEDIATE PERCEPTION, AND AS A SUM OF SCHEMATA. FOR EG., A PLAYGROUND, IS EXPERIENCED FOR ITS OPENNESS AND THE FEEL IT CREATES(IMMEDIATE PERCEPTUAL SPACE), BUT IT IS ALSO ASSOCIATED WITH THE NUMEROUS GAMES THAT HAPPENED THERE, THE VARIOUS EVENTS OF VARIOUS TIMES. TOGETHER THE EXPERIENCE AND SCHEMATA MAKE THE IMAGE OF THE SPACE.THIS IS THE CONCEPT OF EXISTENTIAL SPACE- NOT EGO CENTRIC, NOR TOTALLY OBJECTVE. USUALLY THE SCHEMA IS ASSOCIATED WITH CULTURAL OR SOCIAL BACKGROUNDS.
10. FIVE SPACE CONCEPTS
GROWING ABSTRACTION
PHYSICAL, PRAGMATIC SPACE
PERCEPTUAL SPACE
EXISTENTIAL SPACE
COGNITIVE SPACE
ABSTRACT GEOMETRICAL SPACE
11. APART FROM PERCEPTION OF SPACE, THERE IS ALSO CREATION OF SPACE- EXPRESSIVE SPACE. CREATION IS USUALLY DONE BY THE ARCHITECT, SO IT IS AN ARCHITECTURAL SPACE. (ARCHITECT HERE IS ANY ONE WHO CREATES A SPACE- INCLUDING THE DWELLER HIMSELF).
ARCHITECTURAL SPACE, OF COURSE, FORMS WITH REFERENCE TO PRAGMATIC, IT GIVES A PERCEPTION, GIVES COGNITIVE DIRECTIONS AND IS MADE OF CARTESIAN GEOMETRY. BUT IF IT DOES NOT PROPERLY EXPRESS THE EXISTENTIAL SPACE, IT LOSES ITS QUALITY. SO ARCHITECTURAL SPACE IS OR SHOULD BE THE CONCRETIZATION OF EXISTENTIAL SPACE.
12. ARCHITECTURAL SPACE THEORY AND STUDIES ARE USUALLY CONFINED TO EITHER THE GEOMETRY OF THE SPACE(THE 3D FORM AND VOLUME INSIDE, ITS RELATION TO EXTERIOR ETC.), OR TO THE IMMEDIATE PSYCHOLOGIC PERCEPTION OF SPACE.
NITSCHKE: SPACE HAS A CENTRE-THE PERCEIVING MAN, ITS DIRECTIONS CHANGE WITH MOVEMENTS OF THE MAN, SO IT IS NOT NEUTRAL, BUT HETEROGENEOUS AND SUBJECTIVE-ITS DISTANCES RELATIVE TO MAN.
BUT THIS CANNOT BE USED TO DEFINE ARCHITECTURAL SPACE, SINCE ARCHITECTURAL SPACE CAN EXIST EVEN WHEN THE HUMAN IS NOT INSIDE IT, EXPERIENCING IT. IT IS INDEPENDENT.
MANY OTHER THEORY TRY TO DEFINE ARCHITECTURAL SPACE IN TERMS OF PERCEPTIONS AND EXPERIENCES.
13. DAGOBERT FREY: ARCHITECTURE IS A STRUCTURING OF SPACE BY MEANS OF A GOAL AND A PATH. A HOUSE HAS A SPECIFIED MOVEMENT, FROM ENTRANCE TO EACH ROOM, THROUGH THIS SEQUENCE OF MOVEMENT, THE ARCHITECTURE IS EXPERIENCED. HERE THE START IS WITH THE PHYSICAL SPACE, AND PERCEPTION OR EXPERIENCE COMES LATER, MAKING THE DEFINITION MORE CONCRTE.
RUDOLF SCHWARZ:MAN CANNOT PLAN THE WORLD WITHOUT DESIGNING HIMSELF. THAT IS, A PERSONS CHOICE OF LAND AND THE WAY HE BUILDS SUIT HIS WAY OF LIFE.
14. KEVIN LYNCH: (ON CITIES) MANS ORIENTATION PRESUPPOSES HIS ENVIRONMENTAL IMAGE, A PRODUCT BOTH OF IMMEDIATE SENSATION AND OF THE MEMORY OF PAST EXPERIENCE, USED TO INTERPRET INFORMATION AND TO GUIDE ACTION.
HERE WE SEE CORRESPONDENCE TO THE SPACE SCHEMATA, AND THE INTERPRETATION OF CITY AS AN EXISTENTIAL SPACE.
LYNCH: THE WORLD MAY BE ORGANIZED AROUND A SET OF FOCAL POINTS, OR BE BROKEN INTO NAMED REGIONS, OR BE LINKED BY REMEMBERED ROUTES.
THIS, IS THE TAKING POINT OF OUR STUDY OF ARCHITECTURAL SPACE AS EXISTENTIAL SPACE.
15. TILL NOW THE THEORY SAY THAT SPACE IS EXISTENTIAL-WITH THE PERCEPTION AND SCHEMATA. BUT HEIDEGGER SAYS THAT EXISTENCE IS SPATIAL. THE SPACE IS THERE, AND ONLY IF IT IS THERE, CAN MAN EXIST. AND ONCE MAN DWELLS(AS IN THINKING) ON THE SPACE, OR UNDERSTANDS IT, THEN HE CAN BUILD, AND PHYSICALLY DWELL.
BULLNOW: A CONCRTE SPACE IS TO CONSIDERED IN ITS TOTALITY, INCLUDING THE EVENTS EXPERIENCED IN IT, AND THIS SPACE SHOULD EXPRESS AND REFLECT THE PERSON LIVING AND EXPERIENCING IN IT- ONLY THEN THE SPACE ATTAINS THE QUALITY OF EXISTENTIAL SPACE.
16. THE ELEMENTS OF EXISTENTIAL SPACE
IN CONTINUATION WITH LYNCHS THEORY(DISCUSSED EARLIER) OF WORLD AS PLACES WITH A CENTRE FOR EACH, AS A PATH OR AS NAMED REGIONS, WE ALSO LOOK AT PIAGETS CONCEPTS WHERE HE SAYS THAT THE SCHEMATA OF PERCEPTION CONSISTS OF ESTABLISHMENT OF CENTRES OR PLACES(PROXIMITY), DIRECTIONS OR PATHS(CONTINUITY) AND AREAS OR DOMAINS(ENCLOSURE). THIS IS IN AGREEMENT WITH MOST THEORY ON EXISTENTIAL SPACE, INCLUDING HEIDEGGERS.
17. CENTRE AND PLACE
18. 19. 20. ROMA CAPUT MUNDI
21. 22. ULYSSES RETURNS TO ITHACA
23. 24. DIRECTION AND PATH
25. 26. 27. 28. HODOLOGICAL SPACE- PREFERRED PATH, NOT NECESSARILY STRAIGHT LINE, BUT A DECISION BASED ON SHORT DISTANCE, SAFE ROUTE, MAXIMUM EXPERIENCE, MINIMAL WORK ETC.
29. AREA AND DOMAIN
AXIS MUNDI- FOUR QUARTERS- THE TERM QUARTER IS STILL USED TO DEFINE A SPACE OF DWELLING.
A CITY CENTRE DEFINED LIKE JAIPUR, WHICH HAS A CHARACTER, IN CONTRAST TO FORT KOCHI.
GLOBALISED WORLD-NO DEFINITE DOMAIN.
30. 31. ELEMENTARY INTERACTION
NOMADS: IMPORTANCE TO THE WEB OF PATHS FORMING DOMAINS WITHIN.
AGRICULTURAL CIVILIZATIONS: CENTRE IS IMPORTANT
EGYPTIANS: PATH IS IMPORTANT. LIFE-DEATH MOVEMENT.
FOR A SPACE, THERE IS AN INSIDE AND AN OUTSIDE- THE DEFINITION OF THIS, GIVES IDENTITY- THE SPACE OF DWELLING EXPRESSES THE PERSONALITY. AND THIS INSIDES RELATION TO OUTSIDE IS THROUGH OPENINGS.
32. THE ELEMENTS THAT DEFINE SPACE HAVE A HIERARCHY OF LEVELS
GEOGRAPHY- INTERACTION WITH NATURE
URBAN- SOCIAL INTERACTION
HOUSE- TERRITORY- EXTENDED BODILY MOVEMENTS
FURNITURE- SIZE OF BODY
HAND- GRASPING
INTERACTION OF LEVELS CONSTITUTE STRUCTURE OF EXISTENTIAL SPACE.
THE LEVELS MAY BE DEVELOPED OR NOT-GEOMETRICAL OR TOPOLOGICAL- THERE IS VARIATION.
33. GEOGRAPHY
THOUGHT, NOT LIVED
GIVES IDENTITY- CULTURAL, POLITICAL, ECOLOGICAL, ECONOMIC.
A COSMOLOGICAL LEVEL ALSO EXISTS.
LANDSCAPE
ANCIENT CITIES SITUATED IN AREAS THAT WERE SIGNIFICANT SOMEHOW- ASON A PATH, OR WITH A PROTECTION(DOMAIN DEFINED BY NATURAL BARRIERS), OR GAVE A CHARACTERISTIC IDENTITY.
THE FORM AND FORMLESSNESS OF LANDSCAPE.
34. URBAN
STARTED AS FOOTHOLD PLACE TO MAN
THE TOWN IS CLOSED- BUT COMMUNICATES WITH OUTSIDE THROUGH MEANINGFUL OPENINGS.
IT HAS A DENSITY- IT IS INTIMATE
ACTIVITIES TAKE PLACE HERE.
WITHIN URBAN LEVEL, MAN HAS A PRIVATE EXISTENTIAL SPACE, WHICH GRADUALLY DEVELOPS WITH HIS SOCIALIZATION.
HOUSE
PRIVATE-SITUATED. BUT SOME HAVE A PUBLIC CHARACTER-DWELL ING TOGETHER AS A COMMUNITY.
IN HOUSE MAN FINDS HIS IDENTITY.
WE FOLLOW DOMAIN-DOMINATED LANDSCAPE THRU PATH-DOMINATED CITY TO PLACE-DOMINATED HOUSE- GROWING IN PRECISION AND FORM.
35. THE THING
MAXIMUM PRECISE FORM-SERVES AS FOCUS-BED/FIREPLACE ETC.
CUPBOARDS THAT PROTECT FROM A CHAOS- THEY CAN BE OPENED AND CLOSED- ACTIONS OF HIDING AND REVEALING.
THE INTERACTION OF LEVELS
IN THINGS, EVERYTHING IS FOCUSSED, IN NATURE, EVERYTHING IS CONTAINED-IN BETWEEN IS MANS DWELLING.
TODAY MAN HAS LOST NATURE LEVEL TO A GREAT EXTENT. THE HOUSE LEVEL CHANGES CHARACTER TO PRIVATE OR PUBLIC. AND LEVEL OF THINGS, WHICH SHOULD BE WITHIN GRASP, IS NOT THERE AS THEY ARE USE AND THROW.
LEVELS ALSO REPRESENT EACH OTHER SOMETIMES.
LEVELS CONTAIN EACH OTHER- KNOWN PLACES IN A TOWN, ROOMS IN A HOUSE
36. CONCLUSION