The Space Within
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The Space Within

Interior Experience as the Origin of Architecture

Robert McCarter

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eBook - ePub

The Space Within

Interior Experience as the Origin of Architecture

Robert McCarter

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About This Book

Alvar Aalto once argued that what mattered in architecture wasn't what a building looks like on the day it opens but what it is like to live inside it thirty years later. In this book, architect and critic Robert McCarter persuasively argues that interior spatial experience is the necessary starting point for design, and the quality of that experience is the only appropriate means of evaluating a work after it has been built.
McCarter reveals that we can't really know a piece of architecture without inhabiting its spaces, and we need to counter our contemporary obsession with exterior views and forms with a renewed appreciation for interiors. He explores how interior space has been integral to the development of modern architecture from the late 1800s to today, and he examines how architects have engaged interior space and its experiences in their design processes, fundamentally transforming traditional approaches to composition. Eloquently placing us within a host of interior spaces, he opens up new ways of thinking about architecture and what its goals are and should be.

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Information

Year
2016
ISBN
9781780237077

References

1 The Space Within as the Origin of Architecture
1 The Japanese culture of blackness and shadows is documented in Jun’ichiro Tanizaki, In Praise of Shadows, trans. Thomas J. Harper and Edward G. Seidensticker (New Haven, CT, 1977).
2 Frank Lloyd Wright, An American Architecture (New York, 1955), pp. 217–19.
3 Ibid., p. 80.
4 Okakura Kakuzō, The Book of Tea (Tokyo, 1956), p. 45.
5 John Dewey, Art as Experience (New York, 1980), p. 209.
6 Wright, An American Architecture, pp. 208–10.
7 Le Corbusier, Oeuvre complète, 1946–1952, ed. W. Boesiger (Zurich, 1953), p. 186.
8 Le Corbusier and Jean Petit, Un couvent de Le Corbusier (Paris, 1961), p. 20.
9 Le Corbusier, letter to Edgar Varèse, 12 June 1956, Fondation Le Corbusier, g2.20.516–517, quoted in Roberto Gargiani and Anna Rosellini, Le Corbusier: Béton Brut and Ineffable Space, 1940–1965, Surface Materials and Psychophysiology of Vision (Lausanne, 2011), p. 465.
10 Louis Kahn, ‘The Room, the Street, and Human Agreement’ [1971], in Louis I. Kahn: Writings, Lectures, Interviews, ed. Alessandra Latour (New York, 1991), p. 263.
11 Louis Kahn, What Will Be Has Always Been: The Words of Louis I. Kahn, ed. Richard Saul Wurman (New York, 1991), p. 85.
12 Kahn, ‘The Room, the Street, and Human Agreement’, p. 265.
13 Kahn, What Will Be Has Always Been, p. 248.
14 Kahn, ‘The Room, the Street, and Human Agreement’, p. 264.
15 Kahn, ‘How’m I doing, Corbusier?’ [1972], in Louis I. Kahn: Writings, Lectures, Interviews, pp. 298–9.
16 Steven Holl, Steven Holl: Architecture Spoken (New York, 2007), p. 274.
17 Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, ‘What Lasts’, lecture given at Washington University in St Louis, Missouri, 30 January 2009; from the author’s notes taken at the lecture.
18 Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, quoted in Michael Welton, ed., Drawing from Practice (London, 2015), p. 208.
19 Adrian Stokes, ‘Smooth and Rough’ [1951], in The Critical Writings of Adrian Stokes (London, 1978), vol. II, p. 241.
20 Adrian Stokes, ‘The Stones of Rimini’ [1934], in The Critical Writings of Adrian Stokes, vol. I, p. 258.
21 Ibid., p. 235.
22 Adrian Stokes, ‘The Invitation in Art’ [1965], in The Critical Writings of Adrian Stokes, vol. III, p. 277.
23 Adrian Stokes, ‘The Stones of Rimini’, p. 229.
2 The Nearness of Interior Experience and the Distance of Exterior Form
1 During the 1990s, when I was Director of the School of Architecture at the University of Florida, at the beginning of the school year the 300 new freshman architecture and design students were asked to name their favourite architect, with some 98 per cent typically responding ‘Frank Lloyd Wright’, and then they were asked if they had ever visited a building designed by that architect, to which only 1 per cent responded in the affirmative – they ‘knew’ Wright’s work only through photographs of it.
2 Alvar Aalto, quoted in Colin St John Wilson, The Other Tradition of Modern Architecture (London, 1995), p. 123.
3 Frank Lloyd Wright, ‘Reply to Mr Sturgis’s Criticism’, in In the Cause of Architecture (Buffalo, NY, 1909), reprinted in Jack Quinan, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Larkin Building (Cambridge, MA, 1987), p. 166.
4 Josef Albers, ‘On General Education and Art Education’, quoted in Mary Emma Harris, The Arts at Black Mountain College (Cambridge, MA, 1987), p. 17.
5 Wilfried Wang, ‘Architecture as Art’, in Alterstudio Architecture, 6 Houses (Oxford, OH, 2014), pp. 8–9.
6 Aldo van Eyck, Aldo van Eyck: Writings, ed. Vincent Ligtelijn and Francis Strauven (Amsterdam, 2008), vol. I, p. 63.
7 David Van Zanten, ‘Kahn and Architectural Composition’, unpublished paper read on 24 January 2004, ‘Engaging Louis I. Kahn: A Legacy for the Future’, conference, 23–24 January 2004, Yale University; courtesy of David Van Zanten.
8 Louis Kahn, quoted in ‘Kahn on Beaux-Arts Training’, ed. William Jordy, Architectural Review, CLV (June 1974), p. 332.
9 Frank Lloyd Wright, Frank Lloyd Wright: Collected Writings, 1894–1930, ed. Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer (New York, 1992), vol. I, p. 24; vol. II, p. 205.
10 Ibid., vol. I, p. 36. Wright later restated this even more explicitly: ‘for buildings are the background or framework for the human life within their walls’; Frank Lloyd Wright, An American Architecture (New York, 1955), p. 53.
11 Walter Benjamin, ‘The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction’, in Illuminations: Walter Benjamin, ed. Hannah Arendt (New York, 1969), pp. 239–40.
12 Martin Heidegger, ‘The Thing’, in Poetry, Language, Thought, ed. Albert Hofstadter (New York, 1971), pp. 168–9.
13 Juhani Pallasmaa, The Eyes of the Skin (London, 1996), p. 10. Pallasmaa followed this first book, an instant classic, with two other equally succinct arguments for all the senses to be re-engaged in architectur...

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