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Movement in Architecture

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The influence field of a building goes beyond its volumetric limits. In this sense, therefore, buildings are not merely placed outdoors, but they actually affect outdoors. The experience of understanding the environment involves a perception of the volume of air that surrounds the observer. The built form triggers off the initial judgement mechanism wherein a person begins to evaluate the built environment through his knowledge of the subject. The spatial exploration of the built form involves movement, that is a function of ‘motion’, ‘distance’ travelled as a result of ‘time’ taken, and the ‘experience’ of the space. Motion in a strict physical sense, is a change of position with respect to a reference system of space coordinates. Gyorgy Kepes says. “We are living a mobile existence… The earth is rotating; the sun is moving… light and shadow are hunting each other in an indefatigable play; forms are appearing and disappearing; and man, who is experiencing all this, is himself subject to all kinetic change. ”

Things grow and disintegrate; they change their shapes, size and position relative to themselves, to each other, and to us. The perception of physical reality cannot escape the quality of movement. The understanding of spatial facts, meaning of extension or distances, involves the fusion of space-time, which is movement. In spite of all this mobility, the essential characteristic of the world as we perceive it is in fact, constancy and stability. The world as we perceive it, is made up of things with persisting identity, existing in a frame of reference of stationary space. It is the changing position of our eyes relative to an object that reveals its three-dimensional character. There is, thus a fundamental figure-ground relationship of constancy and change. One does not exist without the other, and together they build all the figures of experience. The perception of the spatial world is controlled by the changes in the textual characteristics of visual surfaces. From an optical viewpoint, we are always splitting the environment into two components: the existing and the emerging view. [3] each event of the sequence is relative; set against the remembered past and will affect the observer’s attitude, response and perception of the future. A dark space entered from an even darker tunnel, may seem very bright.

Past, present and future are joined. Perception depends to a certain degree on the spectator’s knowledge and expectancy in a given situation. The observer selects and organizes the perceptual world through an assimilation of his senses of touch, smell, hearing and sight, either singularly or collectively, depending on the given situation. He can enjoy it, at a purely sensory level, identify it structurally for the purpose of orientation or he can add meaning into it. a spectator may fail to perceive what is before him if it is perhaps unfamiliar, exceedingly complex or poorly illuminated, or camouflaged. In this instance, he will try to watch the experience with that of any previous and similar encounter. In the words of Bruno Zevi, “…when a man moves towards a building, and within the building, studying it from successive points of view, he himself creates, so to say, the fourth dimension, giving space an integrated reality. ”

Kenneth Frampton explains this through the example of a free-standing vertical pillar. It creates an impression of stability, of power to resist. When a body approaches the pillar, from the contrast between the movement of body and the immobility of the pillar a sensation of expressive life is born, which neither the body without the pillar, nor the pillar without the body would have been able to evoke. The expressive contrast between the sinous and rounded lines of the body and the solid angles of the pillar is in itself expressive. Through opposition it creates life in the inanimate form; space has become living.

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Movement In Architecture. (2020, February 27). GradesFixer. Retrieved November 28, 2021, from
“Movement In Architecture.” GradesFixer, 27 Feb. 2020,
Movement In Architecture. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 28 Nov. 2021].
Movement In Architecture [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2020 Feb 27 [cited 2021 Nov 28]. Available from:
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