• Einstein in his introduction to this book provides a useful note concerning the relationship between architecture and space. He writes, “now as to the concept of space, it seems that this was preceded by the psychologically simpler concept of place. Place is first of all a (small) portion of the earth’s surface identified by a name. The thing whose “place” is being specified is a “material object” or body. The simple analysis shows “place” also to be a group of material objects. Does the word “place” have a meaning independent of this  one, or can one assign such a meaning to it? If one has to give a negative answer to this question, then one is led to the view that space (or place) is a sort of order of material objects and nothing else. If the concept of space is formed and limited in this fashion, then to speak of empty space has no meaning. And because the formation of concepts has always been ruled by instinctive striving for economy, one is led quite naturally to reject the concept of empty space” (Jammer, xiii). It is precisely this kind of space involved in architectural design, and one might contend that a “place” is the largest space that an architect is able to deal with as a unified work of art. (Collins) Einstein provides another way to think of space, as we can place a definite number of grains of rice of cherries into a certain box. It is here a question of property of the material object “box space.” This concept of “space” thus achieves a meaning which is freed from any connection with a particular material object. In this way one can arrive at a concept of an independent (absolute) space, in which all material objects are contained. According to Einstein, “these two concepts of space may be contrasted as follows: (a) space as positional quality of the world of material objects; (b) space as container of all material objects. In case (a), space without a material object is inconceivable, in case (b), a material object can only be conceived as existing in space; space then appears as a reality which in a certain sense is superior to the material world. Both space concepts are free creations of the human imagination, means devised for easier comprehension of our sense experience.” (xiii) I think both Collins and Jammer would agree that within the realm of architectural design, the creation of space is indistinguishable from the depiction of space.
Posted by:Liyang DING

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