Posted: Wednesday, September 28, 2011 | Posted by Stupa Satu | Binus University | Labels:

image: the making of a room by Louis Kahn.
Space is an important element in architecture. Loius I. Kahn in 1957, stated that architecture means creating a planned space.

Space terminology is rooted in classical terms spatium which became espace in French, spazio in Italian, and espazio in Spanish. While the German word, raum derived from the Teutonic, ruun, and later became a room in English and ruimte in Dutch. (Cornelis Van de Ven, 1995: XVII)

Thirty spokes converege upon a single hub;
It is on the hole in the centre that the purpose of the axle depends
We make a vessel from a lump of clay;
It is the empty space within the vessel that makes it useful
We make doors and windows for a room;
But it is these empty spaces that make the room habitable.
Thus while the tangible has advantages;
It is the intangible that make it useful. 

-Lao Tzu.

Ideas of space in architectural theory has begun to be discussed since the 5th century BC. Lao Tzu who was a mystic philosopher of ancient China lived around 5th-4th BC stated that the empty spaces created from its materials are more important. The inside spaces make the room useful. There are certain boundaries between inside and outside, between tangible and intangible.

The idea of space has become an important issue in theory of philosophy, but in theory of architecture, there were no essays nor statements that consider space as an important aspect before the latter half of the 19th century. Since 1890, German historians, Hildebrand and Schmarsow crystallized the idea of space as essential to the plastic arts, many of the leading architects in the 20th century began to follow them by making statements that space is fundamental to the architecture.

Creation and artistic space

August Schmarsow explained that the human emotion and fantasy towards space has forced them to find the satisfaction in arts. The early conclusion stated that the volume of a building not just the construction and the existing of the surrounding walls, but representation from a soul manifested as spatial dispute between human beings and its world. He also differentiated between spatial idea and spatial form (the spatial form is the representation of the spatial idea). The most simple spatial form is expressed with the four walls that surround us.

Roof in Schmarsow's spatial space is not automatically included, because a space doesn't need to have a roof, example in a courtyard or in urban spaces. The understanding of the ideas of the spatial form created by human would be always have two principles. First, the creation of space with its elements, forming space boundaries. Second, the creation of the mass that formed or defined the space.

He also defined the purpose of space as a creation of limited space, where human can move freely. Therefore space is not only functioning as an umbrella where human does its activities, but it is also served as its playing space. In existence, the space combines three types of senses, tactile, mobile and visual. Thus, all the human senses can play part to perceive the experience of space at the same time or in sequences through space and time.

Space provides an understanding that the beauty of the architecture is not merely shown visually from the building's forms, but also on the meanings and the expressions contained by the form itself and the space created. The arrangement of shapes and design attributes such as textures, colors, materials, facades and light are some of the elements used in the creation of architectural spaces, and they also can determine the space qualities. The space attributes can be easily perceive by all the human senses, so it can be useful and meaningful.


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