The line of domesticity intersecting the Redness of red

4 September, 2017

"A dark surface above our visual plain (the area generated from our eye level by peripheral vision), when intersected by a dark vertical plain that approaches but does not touch the overhead plain, induces a sense that the overhead plain is floating above us."

J P Eberhard, Architect and founder of Neuroscience for Architecture


Frank Lloyd Wright (arguably the 20th centuries best architect) talked about the horizontal line being the 'line of domesticity'.  If we analyse his architecture, it is clear to understand why he thought this way.  Elongated bricks, horizontal rendered bands, horizontal roof eaves and horizontally projecting roof and wall slabs all contributed to richness of his architecture.  I believe Wright, was subconsciously tapping into his biological appreciation of lines and forms that we all have inbuilt within us.  For example, when we are children we stamp our feet when we don't get our way, no one teaches us to do this, it's a hard wired in built reaction to a situation that exists within our brains through evolution.  In the same way, I get a sense, that certain architectural features, lines, shapes and colours have evolved throughout our architectural evolution and these are contained within us upon birth to help us perceive our built environment.

I've talked before about Mark Rothko's penetrating colour depth and Le Corbusier's Ronchamp radical ordinariness, and I cannot forget the redness of the red within these works.  I believe there is a genetic endowment within all of us that allows us to appreciate these works.  Perhaps it reminds us of when we were in the womb or when you close your eyes, that colour - but all I know is that these colours and artworks touch my perception.  Skilled artisans can replicate this and by doing so tap into our biological historicity.  This subconcious perception of architectural features is constructed upon throughout our life experiences.  Quite simply - the more architecturally rich life experiences we have - the better Architects we become - science has proven this unequivocally.  I cannot remember the last time I had a holiday or break that didn't involve multiple expeditions to architecture.  The Workshop has become skilled at viewing and experiencing things that contribute to the essence of our brain and body - and it makes us more of an expert in our field.  We literally expose ourselves to art and architecture so frequently, so our appreciation of such a thing surpasses, say a fisherman's.  As does the fisherman's knowledge of successfully catching fish surpass ours.

If the horizontal line is the line of domesticity, then what does the vertical, diagonal, or curved line represent within our biological make up?  What architectural and human value do we place on a cross, a circle, a square, the golden ratio or the redness of red?