When is space a fleeting contingency to see you?

Iris Lykourioti


Through the analysis of 1)an architectural project of a built interior space designed by our team, 2)Mallarme’s poem ‘One Toss of the Dice never will abolish Chance’ (1897) and 3) a diagram drawn by George Brecht on his Notebook III(1959), describing subjects included and relations developed in the production of a musical work, we launch a new description of the architectural form, closer, we argue, to its fundamental and distinct –as contrasted to other media- properties, shifting attention away from its geometrical and technical characteristics : architectural space is defined, here, as the field where relationships, between the human subjects using it through repetitive and contingent everyday life activities, can be delivered.

The difficulty of describing and ‘measuring’ these properties of architectural forms emerge from the complex factors and relationships involved both in the creation and experience of an architectural work; the biography of the designer; the intellectual participation of the client in the making and using the designed space; the separation of the role of the inhabitant as contrasted to that of the visitor; the human subjects whose work is involved in the process of construction; the cross-modal representational ‘maps’ and design methods used to trace and direct architectural intentions that take into account the above listed relationships.

By leaving obscured these aspects we only give way to a limited discourse, which, historically, has been and is still dominating architectural theory and morphogenetic practices: neutralizing architectural form and design methods by considering them outcomes of measurable techniques and not inventions of human intellect that can described and directed differently.

We introduce Anti-Form as the architectural form that ‘is aware’ of its intrinsic properties, in the way that Mallarme formulated a poem which ‘is aware’ that it is be printed, in paper, with words in measured characters, read page by page, from left to right, maybe from right to left, read aloud, produces sound that can change the meaning of two words, uses syntax, is comprehended by the virtuosity of the reader and his ability to make poetry by himself, reconfiguring the words and phrases.

The printed/constructed form of the poem/building cannot be changed and is strictly defined in such a way that it can be handed over to the reader/inhabitant to use and reshape it multiplying/constructing its meanings/living contingencies.

The concept of Anti-Form is materialized in our architectural proposal through the construction of visually interrelated multifunctional points in space, different combinations of which can be used/syntaxed in various ways, staging the co-awareness and performance of human subjects who conduct with virtuosity their own everyday life affairs.


Architectural Composition, Hypothesis, Anti-Form, Stéphane Mallarmé, Georges Brecht

Full Text: JOSS_2011_P180-200.pdf