“It has the monopoly on space. Architecture alone of the Arts can give space its full value.” (Geoffrey Scott)
I couldn’t have chosen a better phrase to represent my vocation for this profession. SPACE is able to evoke the most profound feelings, make any human being feel small, and express the true scale of amazement.
A perfect example is Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, where the solidity of the tall, heavy walls confuses the observer, because of the lightness and vastness of its interior space. Its brightness and decoration contribute to a unique setting, where every visitor feels their small size in comparison. Another classic example is the Córdoba Mosque (Spain), where a standout feature is the juxtaposition of the repeated columns of one of the most beautiful mosques in the world and the majesty of the cathedral constructed inside. Experiencing both spaces side by side is one of the most evocative religious experiences that a person can have.
The architect I consider to be the architect of light, said: “Architecture is deemed complete only upon the intervention of the human that experiences it.” (Tadao Ando)
Does a train station make sense without people? Does an airport? A theatre? The monumentality of the classics which represented the magnificence of God or the wealth of a country contrasts with the current concept of space. Spaces are understood only in conjunction with the intent of the light. It is the light which truly allows us to understand the space’s vocation.
It is not necessary for a space to be spectacular. Its vocation of service to man, and the game of volumes assembled under light (Le Corbusier), enable it to scale its intent and offer an appropriate use and meaning.
When I talk of space, I try not to refer to examples of excessive formalism or sculptural elements, which has been done in the recent past. Examples include Santiago Calatrava (Spain), whose excessive formalism involves taking certain risks in the construction of his buildings, and though he generates attractive futuristic spaces, they are of weakened durability.
In the middle ground we find Zaha Hadid, who displays enormous skill in the sculptural treatment of her constructions and achieves interesting concepts of space, but with excessive use of formalism which, in my humble opinion, is unjustified.
In conclusion, there is no one model of space which will surprise people. Each person’s own perception changes their feelings about the object being contemplated, or even experienced. However, what all these evocative spaces have in common is that the space, bathed in a controlled light, leaves no one indifferent. The ability to control these feelings is the true vocation of the architect.