SPACE: A CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK

Space vs time
SPACE: A CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK

 

Any definition of architecture itself requires a prior analysis and exposition of the concept of space !!!

 

Henri Lefebvre (1991: 15)
Everything exists and moves in space (that Panofsky would call mathematical or geometric
space). “Space and time are the framework in which all reality is concerned. We cannot conceive
any real thing except under the conditions of space and time. Nothing in the world, according to
Heraclitus, can exceed its measures – and these measures are spatial and temporal limitations,”
(Cassirer, 1953: 42). People would be lost without space and time. Paradoxically, space theories
are not an ancient part of architectural history and theory. Space becomes a subject of
architecture only by the end of the 19th century through the treatises of art historians and the
formal experiments of the avant-garde. It has not been considered the essence of artistic
experience before the 1890s (van de Ven, 1978: 80). Before the industrial revolution, as a
metaphysical concept rather than architectural, space was a subject of philosophy and science.
Besides, what is meant by space in this relatively short period -from 1890 to the present- varies
from text to text, and from time to time. As soon as it becomes a part of architectural theory, this
multi-dimensional concept begins to gain different meanings and keeps on altering. Like their
designs, architects’ conceptions of space vary. It is discussed within different (aesthetic,
technical, functional, formal, social, cultural, political, philosophical, historical and economic)
contexts, through different paradigms, and via different viewpoints. One may come across
various types of space in architecture:

slide 5
Abstract space, artificial space, Baroque space, capitalist space, Cartesian space,
cinematic space, conceptual space, communicational space, cosmic space, cubist space, cultural
space, differential space, digital space, divine space, ecological space, egocentric space,
epistemological space, Euclidean space, existential space, expressionist space, family space,
fantastic space, felicitous space, formalist space, functionalist space, galactic space,
geographical space, geometric space, global space, Hegelian space, heterogeneous space,
ideological space, industrial space, ineffable space, infinite space, irrational space, Kantian
space, literary space, local space, Marxist space, mathematical space, mental space,
metaphysical space, mobile space, modern space, montage space, musical space, natural
space, neutral space, Nietzschean space, non-Euclidean space, organic space, perceptual
space, peripheral space, personal space, perspectival space, physical space, psychological
space, pictorial space, plastic space, poetic space, political space, postmodern space, pragmatic
space, public space, real space, religious space, representational space, semiological space,
social space, socialist space, strategic space, symbolic space, tactile space, textual space,
topological space, urban space, virtual space, visual space, warped space… There is no single
definition of space.

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