Space (architecture)

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Space is a medium of architecture . The definition, dimensioning, structuring, joining and formal design of space is an important task of architecture.


Interior (traditional japanese house)
Outdoor space, public urban space ( Piazza del Campo in Siena )
  • Indoor and outdoor space:
  • Converted and non-converted rooms:
  • Private and public spaces:
    • private rooms , especially living rooms / apartments , but also hotel rooms etc.
    • public spaces , the spaces around, on and in buildings that are not reserved for house users in terms of secondary use and interface.
    • semi-public spaces : spaces that are accessible to a restricted public: e.g. B. Schools, common rooms in residential buildings, etc.
  • Lounge and storage room (which is required, for example, in connection with the Condominium Act ).

Room designations such as square , courtyard , garden can take on the role of outdoor space as well as the enclosed space in architecture, or represent both.

Space concepts of architecture

It is not uncommon for the entire architecture to be defined by its space-creating task. This function is particularly emphasized in modern architecture. Architecture is often thought of in terms of the duality of “space and shell”, at least when it creates closed interior spaces.

Often, however, flowing spaces and transitions from the inside to the outside are created quite deliberately. The built architecture recedes as a light shell (e.g. curtain walls or light partition walls) behind the architecture as an enclosed space. By emphasizing space and (light) shell, the building often loses massiveness and physicality. The load-bearing construction is often taken over by an independent support system , so that the space envelope only appears as a light membrane-like border.

One stylistic device is the amor vacui , the “empty space”, which can generally stand for fixed elements that recede into the background, for simple components and interior walls, but also for a center that has been left empty.

Space definition

In building practice, an architectural space is defined by vertical or horizontal elements. These can be components such as walls , columns , panes , ceilings or facades . In outer space are urban spaces through houses and buildings groups, but also formed fences, hedges, trees, bridges and roads.

The rooms can be divided into zones for further differentiation. A room zoning or room division should enable different features and requirements of the room use (public-private, light-dark, loud-quiet, serving-served, representative-profane, etc.).

Spatial relationships

Relationship of interiors (example enfilade )

A wide range of relationships between rooms can be established by carefully arranging openings in the delimiting components. The most important are visual and visual relationships, but there are also acoustic (sensory) connections, in the horizontal / vertical direction ( galleries , air spaces), open on one side / both sides (mirror glass), small / large-scale (city gate, peephole), etc.

With the formal description of spatial relationships, the complexity of architecture can be analyzed and described. The examples of addition , division , interpenetration , series , and grouping show the formal recording using geometric and mathematical units and sequences. The formal description of geometry and mathematics works better in the architecture of antiquity, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and modern times than in the organic-dynamic spatial formations of other epochs, e.g. B. the baroque.

The interfaces between the specific architectural space and its surroundings, which people use in their movement between spaces, are called "development" ( property development , building development ).

Spatial perception

How the user experiences a room does not only depend on spatial factors. Also building physical properties such as temperature, thermal conductivity, absorbency , tactile effects of surface texture, reflectivity, color, texture, pattern, smell, decomposition, aging, etc. play an important role.

After all, the measurable space is interpreted and perceived very differently by the human factor itself. The perception of a space can be overlaid by socio-cultural, historical or economic aspects (metropolitan area, bonzen district, artists' district, student district, ghetto, milieu district). Children perceive rooms differently than adults or older people. Blind or deaf people also have a different perception of space. Familiarity with rooms (birthplace, home, foreigners) also plays a decisive role in the perception of space. According to the latest neurological / perceptual psychological studies, gender-specific differentiations are also taken into account. And of course the subjective wealth of experience of each person themselves, with which one understands, experiences, senses and perceives rooms in a very individual way ( sociology , psychology ).


  • Stephan Günzel (ed.): Space. An interdisciplinary manual. Verlag JB Metzler, Stuttgart 2010, ISBN 978-3-476-02302-5 .
  • Jürgen Krusche (Ed. Japanese-German Center Berlin): The space of the city. Space theories between architecture, sociology, art and philosophy in Japan and in the West. Jonas Verlag for Art and Literature, Marburg 2009, ISBN 978-3-89445-362-6 .
  • Ernst Seidl: Political Types of Space. On the power of public building and spatial structures in the 20th century. v + r, Göttingen 2009, ISBN 978-3-89971-712-9 .
  • Peter Stephan: The forgotten room. The third dimension in facade architecture in the early modern period. Schnell & Steiner publishing house, Regensburg 2009, ISBN 978-3-7954-2178-6 .
  • Axel Buether: The formation of spatial-visual competence, neurobiological basics for the methodical promotion of clear perception, imagination and representation in the design and communication process. No. 23 of the series, Burg Giebichenstein University of Art and Design Halle, Halle 2010, ISBN 978-3-86019-078-4 .
  • Susanne Hauser, Christa Kamleithner, Roland Meyer (eds.): Architecture knowledge . Basic texts from cultural studies. Vol. 1: On the aesthetics of social space. transcript-Verlag, Bielefeld 2011, ISBN 978-3-8376-1551-7 .
  • Susanne Hauser, Christa Kamleithner, Roland Meyer (eds.): Architecture knowledge . Basic texts from cultural studies. Vol. 2: On the logistics of social space. transcript-Verlag, Bielefeld 2013, ISBN 978-3-8376-1568-5 .