space + architecture


space + architecture
  ---- by Graham Livesey
  From Deleuze and Guattari's extended discussion of smooth and striated space in A Thousand Plateaus, one would typically determine that architecture is highly striated: rectilinear, measured, controlled, centered, extensive, constructed, and regulated. As an example they identify the city has an exemplar of striated space (D&G 1987: 481). Smooth space, as the space of nomadicism, displays opposite tendencies to those of striated space. However, as they point out, space is always a mixture of the smooth and striated, and a given space (or territory) can reverse its dominant tendencies or qualities. Examples of smooth and striated space reversals drawn Deleuze and Guattari include their description of Henry Miller walking through a city effectively converting striated space to smooth space (D&G 1987: 482), and the smooth spaces found in the shantytowns, or 'informal cities', that surround many large global cities (D&G 1987: 481).
  The striated qualities of architectural space are evident across much of the history of architecture, as architecture emerges with settled or sedentary cultures, in opposition to the nomadic cultures that urbanisation displaces. Here architectural space is precisely delineated, the rectilinear room being the most enduring example. Like cities, most urbanised cultures have produced buildings that respond to the spatial and functional patterns of the State (or the dominant religion). Nevertheless, even within State organisations there have been cultures that have produced architecture that moves away from the highly striated. Buildings, under certain circumstances, can act as smooth space structures; notably, traditional Japanese residential architecture, the architecture of the European Baroque (see D 1993a), and some examples of twentieth-century architecture, particularly recent experiments in folded architecture. In contradistinction to the architecture of urbanised cultures, the structures of nomadic cultures (tents, huts, yurts, etc.) operate in smooth space.
  Ultimately Deleuze and Guattari have no generalised concept of space, they tend to foreground localised concepts of territoriality over spatiality. These localised conditions are most precisely defined by modes of movement and navigation, and are continuously remade by the forces of deterritorialisation and reterritorialisation. The concept of assemblage can be useful for architects in that it signals how bodies, actions, expressions, and territorialities (spatialities) productively combine.
  Beyond his concepts of smooth and striated space, Deleuze examines folded and pliant space in The Fold: Leibniz and the Baroque. Consistent with his emphasis of smooth and folded space, Deleuze is always more interested in the intensive qualities of space over the extensive. Spatiality is continuously created and is part of the productivity inherent to assemblages, space is the effect of inter-connections. In this sense, territoriality is a more productive concept for Deleuze and Guattari than spatiality. Therefore, Deleuze and Guattari's spatial and territorial concepts do lend themselves to examining existing architecture and creating new architecture, and they stress the idea that buildings and cities can allow for the continuous production of new spatial, or territorial, arrangements.

The Deleuze dictionary. . 2010.

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