Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Spatial Relationships and Organizations.

Now that we have defined our spaces, we can look at how they relate to each other and how they're organized. Doing this not only keeps them interesting, but makes them cohesive and relate to whatever central guiding principle we're working with for any given project. For example, an ultra-modern house for a family that needs a high degree of organization to keep it clutter-free will not work well if each space is too cut off from the central space, or arranged haphazardly with no relation to each other. Family members would feel justified in keeping their areas less clean and neat because "it won't be seen" from the main public area.

Spatial Relationships
The concept of "spatial relationships" is fairly self-evident, however, looking at examples can clarify what it entails, for it really is a visual construct and understanding. It's rather important, in fact, because although it can be applied broadly, it can also be applied on smaller scales to maintain aesthetically pleasing arrangements in your home or ensure that each piece will fit appropriately in a given space.

These relationships include: space within a space; interlocking spaces; adjacent spaces; and spaces linked by a common space. Examples include atriums and courtyards (for spaces within a space), or kitchens and dining rooms that follow immediately from living rooms (for spaces linked by a common space).

Image credit: Drucker, Stephen. "Connecticut Crossover." Architectural Digest. June 2004. 196. (Overlay mine.)

 The above is an example of space within a space - the squared-off area surrounds a stairwell leading downstairs, but also has purpose of its own as storage and display.

Image credit: Newhouse, Victoria. "In Accord With the Landscape." Architecture by Zvi Hecker. Architectural Digest. September 2006. 110. (Overlay mine.)
In the plans above, there are many examples of interlocking spaces, of which I have picked out a few. Note that this can be achieved many ways, some of which can be seen above and some that can not.

Spatial Organizations
 Additionally, spaces can be organized -- as groupings of spaces, or as groupings or arrangements of furniture or other defining elements within a space. Again, this should adhere to the aesthetics and guidelines you desire for your spaces. If you are designing for an eclectic, bohemian and kitschy client, it's helpful to have an organization scheme that also reflects these sensibilities - something clustered would work better than arrangements in a grid or linear manner.

The organization schemes we commonly work with are centralized; linear; radial; clustered; and grid. Occasionally an organization scheme could incorporate more than one type, such as linear and radial. As long as it fits with the client's needs, is aesthetically pleasing and relates to the central concept, it doesn't matter.

Image credit: Aronson, Steven. "Distilling the Cottage." Architectural Digest. June 2006. 228. (Overlay mine.)
 Here we see clustered organization, which is similar to centralizing in that the spaces or objects surround a central space or object. Where it differs is in how they may be arrayed around the central axis, differences in size, shape or form of the surrounding objects, and so on; the only organizing principle is the centrally-located object.

Image credit: Bissell, Therese. "State of the Art." The Mary Howard and Lester Wing (by Hugh Newell Jacobsen), University of Oklahoma. Architectural Digest. Sept 2006. 164. (Overlay mine.)
Hugh Newell Jacobsen's plan for the new wing of the University of Oklahoma shows a very straightforward grid organization of the spaces, which relate to each other via hallways and stairs, as well as gallery spaces. It also features examples of interlocking, adjacent, and space within a space relationships.

Image credit: Schmertz, Mildred. "Gavin Macrae-Gibson." Architectural Digest. Sept 2006. 264. (Overlay mine.)
Linear organization doesn't always follow a straight line as seen above; it can also follow curved, jagged, u-shaped, or other kinds of lines. At its essence, spaces or objects are arranged in a linear fashion to promote a certain continuity or flow. In the example above, the bed leads to the breakfast nook which leads to the lounge chairs outside in a logically progressing manner.

Speaking of continuity and flow, my next posting will address circulation, another important consideration of your interior spaces!

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