Transition in architecture: Elements that establish the relationship between inside and outside

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School of Arts, Design and Architecture | Master's thesis
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Arkkitehtuurin, maisema-arkkitehtuurin ja sisustusarkkitehtuurin maisteriohjelma
The relationship between inside and outside varies from ancient to contemporary architecture. The fundamental relationship is contradiction. Traditional enclosed by four walls or with openings create the dichotomy of architecture’s inside and outside. The external interface and internal interface can consider outside dominant, inside dominant and ambiguous continuity both. In ancient and classical architecture, the exterior interface represented outside dominant, which can be found in order and portico from ancient Greek architecture, and concave façade in Baroque architecture. While in modern architecture, the outside interface is inside dominant, including the expression of program inside as stated by Le Corbusier’s “the outside is the result of an inside”, and the separate and complete continuity as demonstrated in Mies van der Rohe’s flowing space, as well as volumetric continuity that integrates programmatic, structural and symbolic considerations as a whole system to continue the exterior nature to interior space, such as Alvar Aalto’s circular skylight. However, the dominant of inside and outside can coexist, with the external interface as outside-dominated considerations while the internal interface is inside-dominated. Interfaces between them form an additional transitional space that buffers the contradiction between inside-outside opposition. Such an in-between space can nest within each other, resulting in a multiplicity of space in architecture. The meanings and forms of transitional space vary, owing to the variety in the forms and materials of the interface. They can be purely structural, such as poche, or they can serve as spaces for equipment, such as servant space. They can also act as entrances and passages, such as portico, or as enclosed functional rooms or opened spaces like corridors and courtyards, depending on the primary and secondary expression of space. Based on the investigation of inside-outside relationships, the design principle is formulated in five points, in relation to transition in architecture. They are horizontals as definition, verticals as identity, detached interfaces of inside and outside dominant, volumes as separation and partition, and multiple layers as transition and function. The design proposal is to explore the way architectural elements, design composition, and spatial transitions contribute to the interpretation of the relationship, to establish a design methodology that bridges the gap between old tradition and contemporary innovation.
Ahlava, Antti
Thesis advisor
Ahlava, Antti
order, portico, horizontals, verticals, detached, interface, volumetric, continuity
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