“The experience of architectural spaces and sequences of spaces is formed by the way they are staged. Understanding, formulating, analyzing, and preparing this dramaturgical repertoire for design use is the subject of spatial dramaturgy,” writes Holger Kleine, author and professor of conceptual spatial design at RheinMain University of Applied Sciences in Wiesbaden, Germany, summarizing his “reference work on architectural design” published by Birkhäuser.
The Drama of Space: Spatial Sequences and Compositions in Architecture is divided into four parts. The first examines the basic principles of the dramaturgy of space using the example of three Scuole Grandi – the grand Venetian confraternity institutions of the renaissance – and depicts them with a wealth of images and axonometrics. In the process of revealing the principles of spatial dramaturgy, sequences of spaces (floors, walls, ceilings), formations of spaces, sequences of spaces, and spatial configurations are analysed and subjected to linear comparison.
The compact second part explores the dramaturgical models used in the theatre, film, and music – the arts in which “setting the stage” has always been a key element of their dramaturgy. The author also traces the issue of spatial dramaturgy in architectural discourse: from the Ten Books on Architecture by Vitruvius, to Palladio’s Four Books on Architecture, to Le Corbusier’s description of architecture “as a drama.”
The typologies developed in the Venetian sequences of interior spaces are tested against 18 contemporary examples of public buildings and compared with the strategies employed in the cited arts in the third and weightiest section of the book. Scharoun’s Berliner Philharmonie and the IIT Campus Center in Chicago designed by Rem Koolhaas, a Berlin underground station by Rainer Rümmler, a Jean Nouvel swimming pool, a kindergarten near Zürich created by L3P Architekten – in-depth analyses of all these buildings reveal their dramaturgical resources and solutions. All the case studies are accompanied by finely-drawn unfolded axonometric projections that clearly illustrate the spatial connections.
The book closes with a systematic summary of parameters and dimensions in spatial dramaturgy, intended for use both as a tool and a source of knowledge.