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Geometrical Walks in Architectural Space - The Synchronous Order of Geometry and the Sequential Experience of Space

Psarra, Sophia; (1997) Geometrical Walks in Architectural Space - The Synchronous Order of Geometry and the Sequential Experience of Space. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Architecture creates spaces to accommodate social relations. It also creates spaces to look at and experience through movement and through observation. In addition to social purposes some buildings carry an extra level of content. This refers to the ways they become visually appreciated as spatial systems o f a specific appearance. These buildings are often thought of as works of architecture. It is on this additional dimension that this thesis focuses - How works o f architecture are seen experienced and interpreted as systems o f cognition. Cognition depends on grasping a mechanism of construction; architectural composition is based on laws o f construction. Cognition and architectural com position becom e, thus, intrinsically interrelated generating the need to look at composition as the source of architectural experience. Architecture is subject to laws and these laws are expressed through two levels of systems. Architects combine geometrical shapes and forms to give buildings a specific appearance. They also combine spaces to give buildings a specific experience. The ways in which geometry and space interact in the course o f cueing and channelling the viewer’s cognition o f a building is the question addressed in this research. This is examined in the context o f the architecture o f Le Corbusier and Mario Botta. This thesis attem pts to develop a common theoretical and analytical fram ew ork that studies the relationship between geometrical and spatial patterns. It argues that form al and spatial description is a description o f composition seen as a transformation process. This process progresses in stages from abstract-simple order principles to specific-complex ones. It also proposes that form al and spatial patterns interact through geometrical properties that stay invariant as an observer moves in space. The more properties stay invariant the more these patterns coincide. (Botta). The less they remain invariant the more a tension is created between these patterns, (Le Corbusier). The form er display a structural unity guiding and easing intelligibility towards a single reading. The latter present a structural complexity accommodating a multiplicity of readings. The analysis of the two architects reveals also that there are two compositional directions. In the first one com position is dominated by an explicit syntax established at the first stages of the transformation process, (Botta). In the second one composition is dominated by a release o f combinatorial possibility emerging during this process, (Le Corbusier). The former generates buildings that are grasped at once subjecting spatial narrative to formal pattern. The latter results in buildings that demand intense attention and extensive exploration making spatial procession the main protagonist of spatial experience. The overall research concludes that architecture is based on a recognition of a composing strategy articulating the relationship between the synchronous geometrical order and the sequential experience of space.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Geometrical Walks in Architectural Space - The Synchronous Order of Geometry and the Sequential Experience of Space
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > The Bartlett School of Architecture
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10065750
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