Bartlett UCL, London
I argue that the experience of architecture, the delight and wonder of finding oneself in beautiful places and spaces resides both in highly designed interactive spaces and events and in spaces from which close functionality has departed or in which close functionality was always transient. I describe the latter as a-functional spaces and places. The combination of transient functionality with a-functional spaces and places is a rich and challenging future for architecture. This paper is an attempt to suggest representations of the way that observers make sense of a-functional spaces and places and representations and models of the way that architects might design them.
The suggested model is not based on an understanding of any one particular space and place. It is derived from Gordon Pask’s description of his understanding of an aesthetically potent environment. The resulting type of architecture is, in principle, similar to both the highly designed architecture and vernacular architecture of the past.
An extreme example is that given by Evans in his description of the architecture of the 15th and 16th century palazzo, where corridors and spaces off them hardly existed, where spaces where all “ en suite” and activity was supported by furniture. The incorporation of “slack” in the design of these spaces and places is critical to their long-term success.