not an easy book
In the ceilings of his secular chambers Sir John Soane glories in spaces and structures both rectangular and curvilinear, and domed and vaulted. His methods include complex combinations of vestigial structural shapes resembling squinches and pendentives, oculi, and groins. Soane's
Museum employs a vestigial element in another dimension: the partition in the form of suspended arches, meaningless structurally yet meaningful spatially, defines rooms at once open and closed.
The facade of the cathedral at Murcia employs what has been called inflection to promote largeness yet smallness. The broken pediments above the shafts are inflected toward each other to help suggest an enormous portal, appropriate spatially to the plaza below and symbolically to the region beyond. Storied orders within the shafts, however, accommodate the scale of the immediate conditions of the building itself and its setting.
The tower of Christ Church, Spitalfields, is a manifestation of both-and at the scale of the city. Hawksmoor's tower is both a wall and a tower. Toward the bottom the vista is terminated by the extension of its walls into kinds of buttresses perpendicular to the approaching street. They are seen from only one direction. The top evolves into a spire, which is seen from all sides, spatially and symbolically dominating the skyline of the parish.
Quondam © 2019.09.28