When I was a little girl, my dad's visit to the flat in Singapore was a once-a-year affair, for two days or so. I would know about the day he was coming in advance, and would station myself at the louvre window of the bedroom which opened into the public corridor on the fourth floor of the high-rise. The lower two or four leaves were metal, probably aluminum: for privacy, and never opened. The upper four or so leaves were the milky glass kind with a safety wire grid inside. Those would be open. Over the whole opening was a security iron grille with diagonal grilles. When I was a little girl, climbing these grilles was easy and fun. When I heard footsteps, I would spring up and climb on top of the grille to look out to see if it was my dad. The corridor was sunk 1 ft 6 in lower than the flat, so from my position I would see the top of my dad's head as he walked by. It was a grand and exciting affair.
|Famously known as "Theorem 1909" in Rem Koolhaas' Delirious New York, each level is a different world, a phenomenon of the elevator; Full-page cartoon by A.B. Walker published in Life magazine’s “Real Estate Number” of March, 1909.|
|"Theorem 2015": the elevator is old news. The old is the new: horizontal 4-storey world space; Thesis in progress, October 2014.|
Every skyscraper is trying to be unique and iconic - in a densely built city it doesn't hurt because at the scale of the city they are all like perfume bottles on a dresser: the individual appearances don't really matter anymore, but rather the whole field is the impression. The more unique and impressive ones are admired individually in print (enlarged and singled out, reviewed for their merits, beauty and poetry- like perfumes) and in person.
In print, the criteria for critique is simultaneously zoomed in and zoomed out - zoomed into the engineering and architectural details and zoomed out into the object-form. It is primarily a critique of form and appearance that can be seen in print. What can be read (in words) in print is a critique of the space, but this is built on a personal experience of the space in person.
In person, the experience of the object-form is second place to the experience of immediate space. A small blank wall in print is a huge blank wall in person. In person, the sequence of rooms and the height of room ceilings, the color and texture of walls, circulation paths, the chance for encounters, the implied barriers and entries, the freedom or oppression, these become first place.
So, designing at two scales, 1) Object-form, 2) Space/function
Which is more important?
(In a small building, the two meld together much more, because there the form of a room and the sequence of spaces can actually determine to a greater extent the form of the building without contrivance, while in a large building with many rooms an over-arching form is needed (?) )