Unit 5-The experience of architecture

Architecture has 5 basic concepts: place, space, form, function, materiality and structure.


When we talk about the place, we analyze the relation between the elements and the place. A relation of contrast can exist, this could be a relation of juxtaposition or abstraction. Architecture is ablle to dominate landscape or ally with it.

There could also exist a relation of camouflaje where the building its totally integrated with the landscape.

Another possible relation is the organicisim relation, where building is a nod to the place. in this case
integration is done by reinterpreting its elements. It shows sensitivity towards the place.

The last relation we can talk about is the relation of contextualism, It’s related with the meaning expressed by the building. The relationship with the place is justifiable.

Tadao Ando-Naoshima Museum


Space could be classified in different socio-cultural terms, there exist different considerations about space, those are: classic space, spaces without a center and contemporary space.

Classic space is closed and compact, because the historical architecture has been ofmassive wall type. That is a structural question that has given it the closed and compact character. In the renaissance, as well as being a closed
space inheriting the characteristics of the classical space, it is centralized, with at least one axis of symmetry. The baroque follows the classical heritage and experiments with centralized spaces with tension.

Impresionantes techos verdes de todo el mundo - Forestal Maderero
ACROS Fukuoka

When we talk about spaces without a center, we found two kinds: japanese space and modern space. Japanese space is based on tatami, the building as a whole, rooms does not exist until it is lived. This is closely linked to the function, is never perceived as a whole or subdivided unit, is considered as the sum of the individual rooms. In Modern space, the modern movement «breaks the box» and let the space flow, it allows horizontal and vertical connections.

Finally, we have contemporary space, the entire building space is unique and continuous. The concept of free section is born: it consists of ending the tyranny of the horizontal plane, deforming it, twisting it, etc.


The form is a huge terme to explain, we have some main ideas to analyze, they could be: rhythm, axis, symmetry, hierarchy, module, movement, unity, centrality, balancing, limits, light, contrat, colour, texture, proportion and scale.

El arquitecto Kengo Kuma se estrena en Australia con un proyecto en madera  - Madera
Kengo Kuma-Darling Exchange

When we talk about rhythm, we think about music, but rhythm is also part of the composition of a building. In architecture we say that rhythm is the repetition of shapes in space.

Axis are linear elements that marks a direction and distributes the space or elements around it.

Symmetry is a regular arrangement of parts or points of a body or figure in relation to a centre, axle or plan.

The hierarchy is a Relationship of supremacy of an element over others based on an established approach. Hierarchy can happen due to the size, form or situation of the elements.

The module is a unitary element which serves as aproportional unit, is also repeated on the same scale or at different scales. Le Corbusier was interested in finding a system of proportions related to the human being, based on the golden ratio.

The movement is the irregularity of forms and the variants of order, it’s not a real movement, it just inspire the idea of movement or displacement.

Obras imprescindibles del arquitecto Shigeru Ban | Timberplan
Shigeru Ban-Centre Pompidou Metz

Unity is the relationship of the parts to the whole so that nothing should be removed or added. Unity means congruity or agreement that exists among the elements in a design. There is some visual connection and looks like they belong

Centrality is a kind of organization of space around a center that creates attraction towards it. The center is not necessarily the geometric center or a physical point, but it is the focal center.

Balancing is a Complementary relationship between the elements of a composition. If we talk about symmetry it’s a static equilibrium. If element are compensated we talk about dynamic equilibrium.

Limits are the edge of the elements of the composition where there is a change from the rest.

✓ Catedral de Santa María en Tokio - Ficha, Fotos y Planos -  WikiArquitectura
Kenzo Tange- St. Mary’s Cathedral of Tokyo

Light is one of the most important factors on art, without light shapes, colors or volums could not be exploited.

Contrast and colours are a chromaticmanifestation of the elements to be used.

Texture is the surface finishing of the elements involved in the final perception of architecture.

Proportion is related to the symmetry and the harmony of the piece, is the harmonic relation of dimensions according to certain mathematical or geometric rules.

Scale is the relation between the size of the building and the size of the human being. Sizing referred to a selected unit.


The concept of function associated to architecture has always existed, During history there have been several ways to
understand functionalism.

The Prince Park Tower Tokyo Hotel | Tokio OFERTAS ACTUALIZADAS 2020 desde  171€, Fotos y Valoraciones
Paul Noritaka Tange- Prince Park Tower

First way to understand it is mechanical functionalism, It has its roots in the Industrial Revolution. Form is a direct and mechanical consequence of the functions to which it is linked.

Second kind is organic functionalism, the form takes on a biological sense and adapts itself to the living functions which must be carried out in the environment, that is, adapted to human activities and the social environment.

Last one is moralistic functionalism, where utility exists for an end. It comes from the classical aesthetic, which argued
that something can be considered beautiful, when it is useful and suitable to its end (Socrates). beauty and utility are so close that they become confused. Beauty means precisely to make visible its utility, what it serves. Defining what is useful acquires a capital importance in this approach to modern functionalism and becomes a moral issue.

Una catedral de cartón en Nueva Zelanda » Vida Mas Verde
Shigeru Ban-Carton Church

Materiality and structure

According to Semper, in the process of technological evolution, materials and technology are changed with new ones, but the shapes continue being the same, translated into new technological realities but always expressed as symbols of the first materials and the primitive need to protect human.

Earth, bricks and wood are examples of old materials. Otherwise, steel, concrete and glass represent modern materials.

Structures and construction methods had been changing, nowadays, prefabrication is a real advance, that permets to do forms or shapes that hasn’t been done before.


Photo 1: https://www.destinosexperienciales.com

Photo 2: https://www.forestalmaderero.com/articulos/item/impresionantes-techos-verdes-de-todo-el-mundo.html

Photo 3: https://www.interempresas.net/Madera/Articulos/184575-El-arquitecto-Kengo-Kuma-se-estrena-en-Australia-con-un-proyecto-en-madera.html

Photo 4: http://moleskinearquitectonico.blogspot.com/2010/06/kenzo-tange-catedral-de-tokio.html

Photo 5: https://www.agoda.com/the-prince-park-tower-tokyo-hotel/hotel/tokyo-jp.html?cid=1844104

Photo 6: https://vidamasverde.com/2013/una-catedral-de-carton-en-nueva-zelanda/