Monday, January 12, 2009


One of the lost secrets of architecture is layering. Attempting to craft rooms of simple beauty, designers often reduce spaces to bare essentials. This approach creates elegant harmony, but neglects dimensions of depth that make architecture come alive. 

The mosque in Istanbul shown in this photo makes the point. A single dome would have created an expansive, peaceful sanctuary. By layering dome upon dome, the space pulls your consciousness up and up and up. Yet, the curving layers don't drag your attention toward a single point. The rings of the domes move together like circular ripples of water mingling in a pond. This arrangement pulls the mind free of its grid of facts. It opens to wonder that can't be pinned down.

Most layering is not this elaborate. As you move through your house or apartment, go beyond seeing the walls, windows, furniture and other elements as isolated objects. Look at them as layers of experience tying together your path through the rooms. Notice the shades of color, light and shadow. Touch the layers of textures. Smell the layers of aroma. Listen to the symphony of sounds. The places you inhabit are made of layers that can take you beyond surface appearances into the hidden power of dwelling.

Please share your experiences of layers in nature, imagination and architecture in the comments section below. Enjoy.

No comments:

Post a Comment