Download Language of Space PDF

TitleLanguage of Space
PublisherArchitectural Press
ISBN 139780750652469
File Size19.2 MB
Total Pages274
Table of Contents
                            The Language of Space
Copyright Page
Chapter 1. Space as language
	Why a language?
	The art of architecture
	The social art
	The language of space
	Reading the language
	Behavioural settings
	How this book works
Chapter 2. Space and the human dimension
	The human basis of the language
	The human psyche
	Motivation and need
	Spatial needs
	Behavioural settings
	The security of the passage of time
	The balance of needs
Chapter 3. Mechanisms of perceiving space
	Sensation and perception
	Size and distance
	Scale of movement
	Scale and the social order
	Foreground and background
Chapter 4. Ways of perceiving space
	The classical rulebook
	Perception as an active process
	Order, pattern and redundancy
	The good and bad side of being redundant!
	The expression of romanticism
	How buildings can signify
	Internal and external meaning
	Back to architecture!
	The language of modern architecture
Chapter 5. Space and distance
	Abstract and meaningful distance
	Too close for comfort!
	Flight and fight
	‘I need my space’
	‘Keep in touch’
	Human distances
	Intimate distance
	Personal distance
	Social distance
	Public distance
	Multiple distances in a space
	Personality and context variation
	Cultural variation
Chapter 6. Proxemics
	Non-verbal communication
	Spatially defined roles
	Spatial roles
	Sociofugal and sociopetal space
	Non-reciprocal relationships
	Waiting spaces
	‘Front of house𔃷, ‘back of house’
	Movable and fixed furniture
Chapter 7. The territory
	Are we really territorial?
	The nature and purpose of territory
	The national territory
	The borders and the heartland
	The city territory
	The family territory
	Trouble with the neighbours!
	Defending the territory and beyond
	The territory invaded
	The collapse of the territory
	The territory as social reinforcement
Chapter 8. Space and time
	Design strategies for uncertainty
	The span of time in space
	Identifying levels of uncertainty
	‘Designer’ knowledge versus ‘ordinary’ knowledge
	One-way prediction
	Confidence of prediction and rates of change
	Purposeful and non-purposeful behaviour (apparently!)
	Learning from children
	Individuals, groups and crowds
	The tyranny of functionalist space
	Invitational space
	Patterns of settings
Chapter 9. Recording space
	Measuring place
	Semantic differentials
	Problems with the semantic differential
	But what does it mean?
	Attention and focus
	Measuring geometry
	Divide and conquer
Document Text Contents
Page 2


Page 137


intense experience than one is likely to find in most European cities.
Not only do passers by frequently bump into you and move on without
acknowledgement, but traders trying to sell you their wares come well
inside our normally acceptable distances and may even lay hands on
you to guide you further into their premises. Burgoon and Saine go so
far as to describe some countries as having ‘contact cultures’, which
appears to contradict the usual assumption that the whole human race
is a non-contact species. They cite Central America, Arab states and
India as examples of contact cultures (Burgoon and Saine 1978).
Although most work on interpersonal distance has been conducted in
the West, some studies of cultural variations have confirmed what the
experience of travelling tells one more intuitively. Watson and Graves,
for example, studied students at American colleges and found that
ethnically Arab students would interact at closer distances than their
American counterparts (Watson and Graves 1966). Similarly, Aiello
and Jones have shown closer distances for black and Puerto Rican
children compared with indigenous white children (Aiello and Jones
197 1). Sadly, however, little quantitative work has taken place actually
in non-western countries into the variation of interpersonal distance
with culture.

Edward T. Hall learned about the human use of space partly
through his experience of observing different cultures. For a while he
had the unenviable job of training Americans how to behave overseas!
We Europeans sometimes mock Americans for their cultural isolation.
In truth of course the North American continent is as culturally rich
as anywhere else, but so many Americans never leave this continent
that they can often seem rather ignorant and rude when they do. Hall
points out that much of what we have come to accept as a global theory
of interpersonal distance actually enshrines many cultural norms. North
America and north-west European cultures seem to share much in
common in terms of the notions of public and private and how we
relate to both acquaintances and strangers in public space. Hall argues
rightly that the four distances of intimate, personal, social and public
space are to some extent a reflection of those cultural norms. Such a
taxonomy cannot, for example, accommodate behaviour subject to the
caste system in India.

Spatial manners then are ultimately a cultural phenomenon, but
underlying them all are some fundamental issues of the way we
perceive space and sense the presence of others in it. However our story
is not yet complete, since we have really only considered the distance
component of the language of space in any detail. As we have seen,
people will tolerate close proximity even of strangers in public under
certain circumstances such as sitting in the theatre. The story is
spatially and socially much more complex than a consideration solely
of distance would suggest.

Page 138


Aiello, J. R and T. D. C. Jones (1971). Field study of proxemic behaviour of

young schoolchildren in three subcultural groups. Journal of Personality and
Social Psychology 19: 351-356.

Burgoon, J. K. and T. Saine (1978). The Unspoken Dialogue. Boston, Houghton

Hall, E. T. (1966). The Hidden Dimension. London, Bodley Head.
Hediger, H. (1955). Studies of the Psychology and Behaviour of Captive Animals

in Zoos and Circuses. London, Buttenvorth.
Hildreth, A. M., L. R. Derogatis, et al. (1 97 1). Body-buffer zones and violence:

a reassessment and confirmation. American Journal of Psychiaty 127:
164 1-1 645.

Mitchell, W. J. (1995). City of Bits. Cambridge, Mass., MIT Press.
Mitchell, W. J. (1999). E-topia. Cambridge, Mass., MIT Press.
Moms, D. (1969). The Human Zoo. London, Jonathan Cape.
Negroponte, N. (1995). Being Digital. London, Hodder and Stoughton.
Sommer, R. (1969). Personal Space: The Behavioural Basis of Design.

Watson, 0. M. and T. D. Graves (1966). Quantitative research in proxemic
Englewood Cliffs, Prentice Hall.

behaviour. American Anthropologist 68: 97 1-985.

Page 273


Spatial needs, 18
Spatial roles, 131-3, 13340
Stimulation, 18-2 1

and security and identity, 19-20
space contribution to, 37

Stirling, James, Leicester University
Engineering Faculty Building,

Subliminal messages, 129-30
Submission as a biological strategy,

Supermarkets, and community spirit

Sydney Opera House, as a symbol of

Symbolic and iconic representations,

Symbols, 9 1-2


encouragement, 144

Australia, 86, 173

83-5, 172-3

buildings as, 92, 160
flags as, 91-2

Symmetry, 62-3
as at Blenheim Palace, 70

Synaesthesia, 43

Tax inspectors’ office layouts, 150-1
Telephone communication, 1

and lack of non-verbal
communication, 133

Territory and territoriality, 164-93
animal territoriality, 164, 165-6,

borders and the heartland, 172-3
by early humans, 165
children’s territoriality, 165, 167
city territory, 173-5
collapse of the territory, 190-1
communal territories, need for,

defence of territory, 182-3
defensible and indefensible space,

family territory, 175-8, 184-9
and inner-city problems, 165
invasion of territory, 183-90
and land boundaries, 165, 166
national territory, 169-72
nature and purpose, 167-9
neighbour problems, 178-82



186, 188, 191

as a social phenomenon, 168
as social reinforcement, 19 1
and stimulation, identity and

and the survival of the fittest, 168
territorial behaviour, 164-7

Thatcher, Margaret, and her
handbag, 130-1

Thick time concept, 197-8
Throw-away design, 195
Till, Jeremy, on thick time, 197-8
Time and space, 194-228
Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen, 21, 22
Too close for comfort, 102
Touch, distance considerations, 1 10
Tourist industry, stimulation and

security requirements, 30-1
Tranquillity, settings for, 30

security, 169

and need for security feeling, 38
and timekeeping, 196

Trespass, invasion of territory,

contamination, 183-4
invasion, 184
violation, 184

Typekoken ratio (TTR), semantic
differentials, 237

Uganda Kob, 173-4

design strategies for, 194-5
identifying levels of, 198

University lecturers’ office layouts,

University reading rooms, 13840
Urban spaces, and space syntax,


2 4 3 4

Van Eyck, Aldo, on place and

Vanbrugh, Sir John:
occasion, 23, 230

Blenheim Palace, 69-71, 78
and redundancy, 76

1 8 3 4


Vargas M.F., on territorial trespass,

Venice, as a collection of patterns,

Page 274


Venturi, Robert:
on mediated references, 85-6
and the National Gallery, 78, 80

Verticality, 62
Video-conferencing, will it offer

Villages in East Africa, layouts,
spatial communication?, 133


Waiting spaces, 145-7
Wartime community spirit, 192

Williams, Owen, factory for Boots,

Wind tower houses of Dubai, 176-7
Windows, to give time awareness, 30
Wittgenstein, on glory and

architecture, 128
Workplace environments, 226-7

Nottingham, 88

Zonal functional planning, 221-2
Zoos, and spatial behaviour of

animals, 104

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