Saturday, October 8, 2011

Stratification, Elevation, History

My initial idea of diplomacy is the abstract nature of the term and how it can be applied to almost any aspect of the built world that exists in order to negotiate one person with another in a spatial context.

The example that comes to mind the clearest is a palace I recently visited in Seoul, South Korea. I walked around Changduk-gung, the King (Queen’s) Palace home, which was built according to more traditional construction principles (Korean fengshui) compared to the more political palace (Kyungbok-gung) a few blocks away built on more Cartesian like principles. The organization of the complex uses variations in the landscape to divide the various programatic spaces.

At some moments I would find myself looking toward the next building over a 5’ high terrace. This was one instance of what was intense play between scales of terracing, landings, stairs and the recently included ramps which all gave me, the occupant, a very different impressions of the relationship between my status and the status of those occupying the next space. Also, when passing through thresholds between spaces in the palace, one has to step over and duck through a gate, forcing those who enter to physically acknowledge the transition.

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