Human Scale & The Built Enviroment


Between the macro and microcosm of the built environment, humans define the very center. The Parthenon is a great example of this. It was the physical embodiment of constructed space according to mans architecture. Its shapely muscular columns bulge as as if it was a man lifting a heavy weight full of breath to hold up the roof.Its height and width define perfect golden ratio proportions, which define the human body. This was deliberately built with few right angles or straight lines, giving a very generous subtle curve to the entire structure. Salamis Stone, depicting an arm, hands and feet, may be a conversion table for the different measuring systems, Doric, Ionic and Common. The Salamis Stone represents all the competing ancient Greek measurements: the Doric foot, the Ionic foot, and, for the first time, the Common foot—virtually the same measurement we use today. This shows how important the human body was in constructing the temple. The hand and foot were literally used to measure the building.  The built environment literally revolves around the human scale, from the mightiest column to the tiniest step.

I highly recommend this documentary!!

PBS : Secrets of the Parthenon


The Hidden Dimension talks about space being a basic underlying organizational systems which allow living things to survive and reproduce their own. The space a building produces gives its meaning and purpose to the environment. If a building is built for great acoustics, the occupation will bring singing. If the space is built for a library, the space will define large vertical areas for storing books and lots of private nodes for studying.

I am going to leave this question with another question. Space and time is the essence of what we function in, and proved by Einstein to be the same thing. So if space and time are one, then by defining space, are we technically are defining time? Do we as architects have the ability to warp human occupation through defining space in ways we have only yet begun to understand? Some food for thought!

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