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  • Writer's pictureSteve JM

Re-Thinking with Configuration of Space

We believe the idea that architecture is a way of being concerned with the whole building, and a means of engaging the deepest aspects of what a building is. Many theorists arguing and trying to give better explanation or definition about what architecture actually is, but the interest subject in this reading is not about that.

Since the author believe that architecture is about the intention to create, his explanation about space become very clear and interesting. He suggested that we should see building not only as a product but also as a process. By doing this we would not see only building as a purposeful object or by its functional definition, but rather as an elaboration of form and space into configuration. This is the key to author argument not only about the nature of buildings, but also to how architecture arises from building.

There are two important notes about space in this reading. First, space is vacancy rather than thing and, second, space cannot seen all at once, but require movement from one to other experience the whole.

We build buildings and environments not base on ‘people configuration’ but merely because most of human activities only can be carried out in most reasonable space. The relation between space and social existence does not lie at the level of the individual space or individual activity. It lies in the relations between configurations of people and configuration if space. A configuration of space can be influenced by or influence, a configuration of people.

Configuration mean a set of relationships among things all of which interdepend in an overall structure of some kind, or in more simple explanation, is a set of interdependent relations in which each is determined by its relation to all others.

By analyzing configuration of its space with a justified graph (j-graph), we discover a fact about the spatial layouts of buildings and settlements that is so fundamental that is probably in itself the key to most aspects of human spatial organization. The analysis of space and functions in terms of their configurational relations within a building, and the search for common patterns across similar sample, can transmit common cultural tendencies through spatial form.

As space – and also as meaningful forms – buildings are configurational, and because they are configurational their most important social and cultural properties are non-discursive. Architecture begins when the configurational aspects of form and space, through which buildings become cultural and social objects, are treated not as unconscious rules to be followed, but are raised to the level of conscious, comparative thought, and in this way made part of the object of creation attention. This concept of architecture will be very useful especially when we have to design new kind of facilities or functions but based on traditional architecture. Starting with analyzing its configurational of space, it will bring more ingenious ideas on its architectural form without boldly copying its predecessor architecture.


Stevanus J Manahampi Joint Studio – Architecture Post Graduate Program

Articles Resources: Space is the machine – A configurational theory of architecture Bill Hiller

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