More Spatial Blogging

To continue today’s focus on the Space Hijackers, here’s a part of their manifesto that I found compelling:

Users of space are disturbing elements that enter into architecture, they are something random that the architect cannot design. To compensate for this, space is designed to control and manipulate its users into harmony with their surroundings. In order for this space to function as it is meant to, the users must be guided around it by various architectural methods. Because people disrupt the harmony of built space, they are not something the architect relishes, and so do not form part of his or her vision. We simply need to look at architectural photography to see this in evidence. Almost any architectural photograph you care to look at will have been shot with one very specific requirement, that the space is clear of people.

In my own experience in architecture school design labs, it’s completely true that a lot of architecture is about controlling how people use/experience space. Of course this is supposed to have benevolent goals: to make the space intuitive and user-friendly, to make it pleasant and beautiful, to make sure people get to where they need to go without being sidetracked.

In the real world the tools architecture schools teach are also put to use keeping out houseless people and skateboarders, making wallets open up, and discouraging pedestrians. To modify the traditional saying: architecture can be as bad as the clients…

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