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Dwelling in the Opening

February 19, 2018 \ Studio
by multiple authors

The thickness of the wall is the mediator between the idea of inside and outside, and a potential habitable zone in and of itself.

Dwelling in the Opening

We have been preoccupied in our projects with the idea of the thick Glasgow wall mediating between the daylight of outside and the interior, in the Theatre Royal as a series of alternating bays framed by columns and ventilation shafts and in our Scottish Power project as structural columns and ventilation ducts freeing up the internal floorplate.

Prudenci presented an anthology of this idea and its rich potential. For him the opening in a wall was first and foremost about light, and by means of a figure standing in an open window in a Dali painting he discussed how the thickness of the wall mediated between the idea of inside and outside, by the creation of a space within which to be.

He observed that the architecture of the Scottish Castle expanded this idea, the wall thickness occupying the interior in the form of a room in itself. He contrasted this idea with the Witch House by Alison and Peter Smithson where the window expanded to be a glass room attached to the exterior face, a space as he said ‘colonising’ the exterior.

This play of spatial dynamics culminated in his mind in the idea of the room in the wall becoming the whole interior captured beautifully in a house by the architect Alejandro de la Sota. Here a room was framed by two blocks either side housing the support rooms. The resulting room suspended between the two masses was an enlarged opening in the wall, the deep reveals of Dali’s painting of the window reveal had become, if you read it in one direction the enclosure for living but seen transverse it became a bridge between one exterior experience on one side of the house, another on the other. To cap it all this was an idea taken to another extreme in Miles Van der Rohe’s Resor House where the room did become in fact a bridge.

When we thought the idea had become exhausted of possibility he sprang a final twist with the Klaus Chapel by Peter Zumthor. Changing the perspective from the horizontal to the sectional, between the skyward looking oculus of the Chapel and its internal ground floor, the contained void bridged the earth beneath our feet and the heavens above. When Prudenci started his journey standing in the window mediating on dwelling between inside and outside, we didn’t think we would end up here, reflecting on beginning and end.


February 12, 2018 \ Studio
by multiple authors

Interiors have a unique haptic, sensory quality, enhanced by the judicious use of materials, and involving all five of our senses – touch, taste, smell, hearing and sight.

1875Dwelling in the Opening