The Immeasurable Enclosure

This option studio explores the ability of a single enclosed space to be the spatial expression of that which is immeasurable.

The garden and the room can be considered the fundamental spatial expressions in the constitution of a culture and consequentially many consider them to be the essential spatial constituents of the designed environment. These single-space environments—outdoors, indoors, or in-between—are defined by enclosing and containing only a small part of the world and precisely because of this condition, they have traditionally been perceived as the means for designing coherent singular identities.

Due to their powerful but singular nature, the progression toward social plurality and cultural diversity seems to diminish the relevance of these fundamental spaces. As the inability of a single space to encompass and synthesize complexity becomes apparent, alternative spatial conceptions emerge as expressions and vehicles for multiple sensibilities and identities. Land mosaics, spatial fields, or network societies, just to name a few, have become the new spatial paradigms to accept and encourage plurality and diversity. Arguably, while these paradigms and the values that they represent have enabled the design of rich environments, their expansiveness has also enabled the appearance of multiple urban pockets, each of them behaving as nothing more than echo chambers of narrowly defined values and views.

As an alternative to these expansive spatial paradigms, this studio aims to reframe the discrete space as the mechanism for containing and expressing the world. Due to their confinement, single-space environments are places where one has to invariably acknowledge the other. Therefore, enclosures can contain the multiplicity which by its own sociocultural definition and value is apparently uncontainable. Through this paradoxical condition, these basic enclosures can transcend their fundamental nature to become comprehensive and holistic sociocultural expressions.

Through the design of a single-space environment, this studio proposes reframing the design technique of the enclosure and infusing landscape and architecture’s primordial roots with the ambition of holding the immeasurable. Students in this studio will work individually and each student will be responsible for selecting a physical and cultural context wherein to design an immeasurable enclosure.