What exactly strikes your mind when someone says, ‘Space’? One is certainly accustomed to think of it as absence of mass, filled with air. Well, there is certainly more to that. Space is that immaterial essence that the painter suggests and the sculptor fills, the architect envelops, creating a wholly human and finite environment within the infinite environment of nature.
Spaces that we inhabit influence the way we act or feel when we are surrounded them. Let’s illustrate this concept with some examples.
How exactly will you feel when you enter such a place? Insecure?? You will certainly not feel powerful. You will be very careful when you step inside such a place. But when you trek and reach a hilltop, you feel powerful. We feel exhilarated.If we enter a gothic cathedral, the high walls closely confining us on two sides restrict our possible movements, suggesting advance along the free space toward the altar; or their compression forces us to look upward to the vaults and the light far overhead, there to feel a sense of physical release, though we are earthbound.
These are psychological and motor reactions that result from measuring one’s potential for movement against the surrounding spaces. As a person enters the architect’s space he measures it in terms of the degree and the quality of his potential for movement. Regardless of the formal design language employed, the quality of a space is determined above all by the users’ instinctive acceptance of it. An architect must be aware of how exactly people would feel in that space created by him. Before putting their designs forward, architects are faced with the constant challenge of interpreting a particular space’s potential impact, using all their senses and looking at it from many different perspectives, and then creating a space.
Similarly, there are some spaces that people will get fascinated by. They would love to spend their time in that place. But in just the same way, spaces can emerge that are uninviting, that generate discontent, and that are ultimately shunned. This highlights the concept of positive and negative space, one of the simplest yet least applied concepts in architecture. Positive space would be then the spatial shapes that have been deliberately designed under a preconceived plan. Negative space would be the open space left over after a construction, what is remaining.
However, I think that negative spaces are those spaces which people dislike and don’t feel comfortable in; The reason as to why it’s called ‘negative’. Some architects take negative spaces as ‘the open space left over after a construction’ and try to fill that empty space. Here, we need to understand that sometimes the absent object becomes the object of attention. Too much construction can lead to no space at all, therefore creating a negative space all over again.
There are certain ways in which we can avoid ‘negative architecture’. For example, since circular shapes are said to be some examples of positive architecture, most of the architects try to approach this concept in a totally wrong way. Instead of placing the objects equidistant from the focal point of the room, they try to give the room a circular shape! We got to be careful about the minor details that change the whole meaning of a space.
Negative spaces cannot be completely avoided. An architect has to strike a balance between the positive and the negative architecture. His or her task is therefore to discover potentialities, to detect the qualities and effects of interior and exterior spaces, to create a space that every individual perceives positively-which is certainly very challenging!