Sensing spaces


sensing spaces

I do believe spaces influence our lives and our thinking. In London we visited the exhibition ‘Sensing Spaces: Architecture Reimagined’ at the Royal Academy of Arts, in April 2014. Entering a Japanese house is like entering a temple. You can sense the space, the spirituality of the place, and the scale of humility because of living close to the ground or on the floor and sometimes resting on your knees. I have felt these emotions in Japan, but also looking at the horizon sitting on the beach. The seascapes and photography of Hiroshi Sugimoto capture this sense of absolute contemplation and serenity. The ‘Casa Poli’ in Chile designed by the architects Pezo and Von Ellrichshausen has this ambiguity – neither a house nor a pavilion but a combination of both. The exhibition in London allowed children, adults, architects and lovers of spaces to playfully enjoy what architecture is actually all about. Without great rhetoric or theoretical texts on the wall, people experienced the different rooms. Climbing up a stairway to look down from practically the ceiling of the room, or playing with straws to be part of the activity of building, or simply walking in the labyrinth of wooden walls to emerge in a bigger mirrored room, and to contemplate what the Chinese architect Li Xiaodong says ‘space is perceived through a dialogue between imagination and reality’. I am conscious that our spaces became bigger and bigger during the years, but that they will become smaller and smaller the older we become. But for education I dream of ‘The Laboratory’; a meeting point, where ‘creatives’ of disciplines can discuss with scientists or with great industrial leaders to define the future of the ‘Creative Industries’. It is a space where we will talk, write, discuss, ask questions, find temporary answers that will provoke new questions. Maybe my houses, pavilions, schools, offices, shops, museums were such places, but now it is time to destroy the walls that divided all these spaces and bring them together under one roof. Education cannot be locked in classrooms where students listen and teachers speak from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Education has to keep breaking the rules, exploring knowledge and absorbing what is found. The search for knowledge must be a dialogue. Space is important, an open space, a ‘Palais de Tokyo’ space, were we play, sing, dance, or simply contemplate images, write, educate, experiment, sew, knit, and create objects, not garments. A place where we make the ‘F…… house of the Future’. We start by looking for scaffoldings of wood, stone, metal frames, glass or we simply begin building something like the artist Von Ellrichshausen – to construct the dream location for education.