Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Reading Space

Keels Field School measuring Reg Hobbs's house (Photo: Edward Millar)

               September 18th, 2012 marked the end of the anticipation. We were ready to test the waters of measuring and documenting architecture. While wandering through Keels on a general building survey in the morning, Gerry spoke of the importance of analyzing ‘space’.
                In interacting with one another, we develop this concept of the ‘mental template’, and project our expectations and desires into the landscape. In architecture, this translates into the development of similar forms, shapes, and uses for the interior and exterior of buildings. Everything has deliberately been conceived and laid out; forms, shapes, and uses influenced by a combination of internal and external factors. While the forms and shapes of a space can and do vary, the greatest variation concerning space seems to be in its use. For example, although this space in the living room sprawled out before me was organized and designed to be an area for relaxation and leisure, it is currently being used as my workspace.
The soft sofa cushions and the coffee table, coupled with my own expectations about workspace, led to my decision to work from the sofa. I could just as easily set up the laptop on the bed, which is even softer than the sofa; or I could sit in the dining room and work there. But the boundaries of a bedroom uncomfortably position me on the edge of the social fabric of a shared house, and the kitchen area is a space for cooking or eating. The living room as a space for entertaining and relaxation reflect my personal concerns in finding somewhere to work: it should be comfortable yet functional.  Whether I realized it at first or not, my choice to work in the living room was influenced by a web of different factors. My friend Peter always taught me that a relaxed, clear, and meditative mind is necessary to deeply engage your thoughts. I like to think of my current situation as arriving at the ‘coziness of mind’: the living room sofa, where I can relax, and work stress-free. Or at least approach being ‘stress-free’ with little baby steps.
            Over these next few days we will be measuring and documenting both homes and outbuildings. It is extremely vital that I improve this skill of reading a room not only for how I myself might use it, but also for how others use theirs.
“What has happened has happened, and what will be, we’ll see.” – Langhorne Slim

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