Space and Structure

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This week’s reading was mostly about the relationship between structure and space. The writer points out three broad categories of this relationship: One covers the constructs in which a structural order is more dominant. Another is when the spatial order comes forth even more. Lastly there is a type of relationship that is a harmonic combination of the other two. An important strategy in architecture would be a sort of accord between structural and spacial order. Like in the Greek amphitheatre how the social and intended geometry is in harmony with the structure.

The book also talks about how structure can be used to divide spaces. That is again a way of thinking both structure and space together. This division is usually performed by the columns and the way they follow a grid. Even though the grid may look random at first it still has a certain geometry and idea while dividing space. This idea gives the place a meaning. It shows an intention. Just like how the spaces in Hagia Sophia are identified by the structural features. 

How the type of dome holds information to the sacred place it covers in Hagia Sophia shows the intimate relationship between space and structure, just like in other medieval churches and cathedrals. (The book even has a strong statement: Hagia Sophia is architecture.) 

Structure was mostly dividing space in rectangles but in 20th century this approach starts to change. There are architects that suggest spaces associated with life should not have forced geometric plans. Le Corbusier was a familiar name, suggesting with his “Dom-Ino” idea that the planning of buildings should be freed of all restraints.

There is one example where we can observe this liberation perhaps the most. Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona Pavilion is a building in which the space is almost completely freed from the discipline of structure.


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