How does the experience of turning a door handle, opening a door from one space into another, affect us? It is no wonder that the door, one of the most elemental architectural forms, has such metaphorical richness. But even on a purely physical human level, the cold touch of a brass handle or the swish of a sliding screen gives rise to an emotional reaction, sometimes modest, occasionally profound.
This book aims to understand how these everyday acts are influenced by architectural form, a concept that is vital for all architects to grasp. It considers how specifically built elements and volumes, taken from a wide array of buildings and settings around the world, can affect our powers of decision. From hand-carved stairs in Greek villages to free-floating catwalks, from the elegant processional steps of Renaissance Italy to Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterly manipulation of form, all provide very different experiences of stepping from one level to the next, and all affect our experience of that space.
Seamlessly integrating text and image, each chapter focuses on a different aspect of our daily interactions with architecture, looking at stairs, floors and paths, moving interior spaces, perception and perspective, transparency and the relationship between a building and its setting. This book is not just for architects and designers engaged in the production of space, but for all those who seek a richer understanding of their place in the built world.
Henry Plummer is Professor Emeritus of Architecture at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He received his M.Arch from MIT, studied light-art with György Kepes, and was a photographic apprentice to Minor White. He is the author of numerous books on the art of light in architecture, including The Architecture of Natural Light and Nordic Light.