Architect, Landscape Architect, Urban Designer, Land Use Planner, Environmental Observer

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Spatial Composition - part 4

Path vs. Place

Spaces in environmental design can suggest "rest" or "motion". It is the ratio of the length to width that determines the perception. A place (where a person is at rest - and has a conceived center) cannot be more than twice as long as it is wide.

Paths are, by their proportion, spaces that suggest movement. Their length to width ratio is over two to one.

Can a space be both a Path and a Place? - NO !!. If it is ambiguous, that is a design fault. Clarity is the goal. There can and almost always is a combination of paths and places.

Architects throughout the centuries have used clever combinations and variations of path and place. Here are a few samples -


- Where are the "places" in the diagrams above?

- Are the "paths" clearly indicated?

- What role does light play in each of the diagrams?

- What would different heights of these spaces mean to the determination
and experience of path and place?

- How could you make the experience more "distinctive" and "memorable"?

. . .

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Recommended Books

  • - Precedents in Architecture
  • - City Comforts
  • - A Pattern Language
  • - The Architecture of Happiness
  • - Architectural Composition
  • - Design Language
  • - Elements of Garden Design
  • - Chambers for a Memory Palace