Page 11 - The New ARCH Vol5 No1 (2018)
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International Journal of Contemporary Architecture ”The New ARCH“ Vol. 5, No. 1 (2018)                  ISSN 2198-7688

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                            Table 1: Ways of characterising architectural form according to Giulio Carlo Argan’s two space concepts:
                                                                     Perspective Space and Elastic Space

FORMAL ASPECTS AND DEVICES  A design process of composition with a bias          A strategy of assemblage with a preference for a
                            toward isolation and hierarchy                       practice of enfolding

                            Rooms are distributed in a striated plan             Rooms are arranged in en suite patterns of
                                                                                 interstitial space
                            Spatial units are attached via perspective
                            connections, generally plan based.                   Spatial units are propelled to the surface in plan
                                                                                 and elevation
                            A system of parts in favour of a larger whole
                                                                                 Parts never coalesce into a whole, retaining their
                            Logical relationships established with exterior      independence
                            conditions                                           Significance is largely internal according to a logic
                                                                                 of absoluteness

                            Form relationships exist a priori                    Relationships among forms are settled a posteriori

CONCEPTUAL ASPECTS                            PERSPECTIVE SPACE                                        ELASTIC SPACE
                            Space is structured                                  Space sensed amid a shifting assemblage of light
                            Space as geometric structure                         and atmosphere effects
                            Transitional conditions abound                       Space as datum or grid
                            Realised in the continuity of the wall plane at the  Elements are confronted one to another with no
                            horizon                                              transition
                            Homogeneous configurations in a closed form
                                                                                 Rendered as a ground of undulating levels

                                                                                 Heterogeneous dispositions in an open
                                                                                 configuration

                            Architectural form generated by a space concept Singular spaces generated by architectural forms

spatial effects at work generally and those singular                             as analytical lens. A too-cursory analysis of these
exigencies aligned with specific program types including                         institutional projects will begin to test the above
institutional projects specifically. The impact on                               propositions. I do this by examining the projects
architecture’s potential when critically deployed in the                         according to the following questions:
process of conceiving and developing a building is still to
be tested. Trialling this difference between perspective                             1. Do the case study projects render different kinds
space and elastic space as a lens for analysing aspects of                               of space and if so is one better revealed in the
the question of architecture and the institution thus                                    plan and the other the section, and by extension
serves as a secondary proposition of the present study.                                  on the side of sight and composition versus
                                                                                         sensation and assemblage? In other words, what
2. Analysis                                                                              differences in sensibility and effect – on form,
                                                                                         on space, and their architectural expression -
With the above propositions as background, I turn now                                    are revealed in the two projects?
to a descriptive analysis of a part of two buildings.
Bordeaux Law Courts by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners                               2. Do the categories of perspective space versus
(1992-1998), and Le Corbusier’s Palace of Justice                                        elastic space contribute to understanding the
Chandigarh (1951-1957) are taken as case studies in this                                 capacity of architecture to render internal
inaugural foray into the extension of Argan’s categories                                 characteristics and external conditions of any
                                                                                         architecture?

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M. Jasper: “Architectural Sensibilities: Observations on Perspective Space and Elastic Space”, pp. 1–8                                  3
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