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Interiority and Exteriority
The Seam Of Enclosure Between Man And Nature
Like the perception of “Yin”
and “Yang” in Asian Cultural,
interiority and interiority
exist relatively. One cannot
exist without the other as
they are one idea. However,
exteriority and interiority
can exist as separate ideas
and at the same time you
can find exteriority within
interiority and vice versa.
When we create an interior space, the conjoining exterior space formed automatically
The exterior space formed is then echoed with the inside in a logical relationship, where by
the inside and the outside ”holds” a different view of space but coming together to achieve a
balance and agreement. The interior space aims to create physical security and safety from
the nature’s elements and also establish a sense of identity for the person or group within the
space. The exterior space aims to connect human to nature, removing the individual identity
and providing a common one.
The architecture creates a strong senses of identity for the interior space, and at
the same time find clever ways to connect the interiority and exteriority of the
architecture, therefore creating a long-lasting continuity between the two.
This relationship shared between the interiority and the exteriority of a space
can be translate into environmental and architectural experience in four ways:
In-betweeness involves a place neither inside nor out. It incorporates a
threshold whereby a strong dialogue between the inside and outside occurs
with a unique in-between experience as the result. For Wright, in-betweeness
was an intentional aim: “We have no longer an outside and an inside as two
separate things. Now the outside may come inside and the inside may and
does go outside. They are of each other. Form and function thus become one
in design and execution if the nature of materials and method and purpose are
all in unison” (Wright 1954, p. 50).
Interpenetration of the Inside/Outside
Interpenetration is another way in which the continuity between inside and outside
can be expressed and works in two ways as shown in the drawings, below, depending
on the relative strength of inside or outside. On one hand, the inside can project itself
into the outside — we call this situation the interpenetration of the inside. On the other
hand, outside can be brought inside through some sort of enclosure shaped by the
building—for example, buliding wrapping around an inner courtyard, we call this
situation the interpenetration of the outside.
In both situations, inside and outside are brought together in a more intimate
relationship—in the first instance, through an architectural element that becomes a
physical link with outside; in the second instance, through a spatial link whereby
outside space is cradled and contained.
In intermingling, architectural and environmental elements are used
metaphorically to bring the meaning of outside in, and inside out. For
example, the presence inside of natural outside elements can remind us of the
outside, which we then experience vicariously. By echoing features of the
natural site, intermingling enables us to be aware of the outside as we remain
inside. In the opposite way, inside elements brought outside invite the safety,
comfort, and culture of the inside out. Intermingling allows one domain to
assert itself in the other, thereby establishing another kind of kinship and
linkage between inside and outside.
The Dortoir Familial House
designed by NADAAA
This Architecture focuses on merging with the landscape as the
slipped court provides simultaneous interiority and
exteriority—protected and private as well as extroverted and
engaged. The most significant result of this integration of
landscape and house is the production of a monumental
vaulted threshold to a central courtyard.
House of Pavilions, Bangalore
In this architecture, the idea of the landscape becomes a part of
the structure and not only just about the experience. The
experience of moving through the structure is heightened by the
tactility of the spaces and the overlapping sequences of built and
unbuilt. One is greeted by the water body which continues
through the house flanking the central spine defined by an
exposed concrete wall. The spine is a space that forms the back
bone of the experience where one has to pass through it to get to
any other space. The indoor outdoor experience is further
heightened by interim spaces connecting the various pavilions.
Interiority is a subjective concept and it’s being judge using our mind and own point of view. Interiority
does not come naturally as its being defined using human power and ideas. In order to keep the balance
between self and collectively, the enclosed vertical forms and their open planar surfaces are to be
connected by tenuous and metaphysical links of windows and doors, depicting the transmission of
interiority and exteriority of being.
Interiority can be decipher in many ways. In architecture sense it represent a fundamental construct
in design pertaining to the representation of spatial arrangements.
Interiority of a space
Most architectural space will make use of exterior to
echo with the interior. However, there are some
architecture type which doesn’t make use of its exterior
space. Common example of these buildings are religion
building, theatre, opera house and clubs. The reason is
because that the purpose of the building is to make sure
its occupants focus on what’s happening inside rather
than the outside. Hence, the nature elements from the
exterior is largely or even completely eliminated from
the design. Even if they are exterior design, they are
normally not relating or echoing with the interior of the
space. Opera house, theatre and religious buildings tend
to have a grand ceilings, and we refer to these interior
space as spiritual space.
Through the use of basic geometrical forms – points, lines and volumes – architecture arranges
program across a rich spectrum of expression, ranging from the subtle and suggestive, through to
the explicit and absolute. Man seeks out means and devices to build shelters beyond everyday
profane needs. Interiority.
The science of geometry became the literal skeleton from which interiority becomes, as Perez-Gomez
“Symbols of a transcendent order, representing ethical, aesthetic, and religious values, revealing the
pre established harmony between man and the world.”
Using Exteriority for Interiority
Minuscule clusters of visitors ascend a monumental stairway at the base of a spherical monument rising higher than
the Great Pyramid of Giza. An arc of waning sunlight catches a small portion of the sphere, leaving the excavated entry
portal and much of the mass in deep shadow. Bringing together the emotional affects of romanticism, the severe
rationality of neoclassicism and grandeur of antiquity, Etienne-Louis Boullée’s sublime vision for a cenotaph honoring
Sir Isaac Newton is both emblematic of the particular historical precipice and an artistic feat that foreshadowed the
modern conception of architectural design. Rendered through a series of ink and wash drawings, the memorial was
one of numerous provocative designs he created at the end of the eighteenth century and included in his treatise,
Architecture, essai sur l’art. The cenotaph is a poetic homage to scientist Sir Isaac Newton who 150 years after his
death had become a revered symbol of Enlightenment ideals.
Using Exteriority for Interiority
• In the Cenotaph for Newton, architect Étienne-Louis Boullée cleverly make
use of the sunlight to created a spiritual space in total darkness, the sunlight
shining through the ceiling induced a feeling of grandness and enlighten.
• During the night, the interior of the sphere is lit up by a armillary sphere
hanging off the ceiling.
• This design make use of both the interior light and exterior light to cause it
to change its interior appearance, mixing and combining the idea of
exteriority and interiorty.
The earth is enclosed by an ”shelter”, this atmospheric “shelter” provides all
living things a system of life supporting elements.Within this already defined
space, men seek to distinguee themselves from all other life forms and nature
by creating a space with walls, roofs, and floors – a man-made shelter.The
exteriority is built solely but nature and not by us human.
Transition of interior to exterior. The
seam acts as both the connection
between man and nature as well as
the line that separates the two.
Boundary of building separating nature and man
Transitional space- Moon Gates Suzhou Garden
We works with exterior to bring interior
and nature together. We often use a
transition of interior and exterior in the
making of our space. For example, the
moon gate shown is a form of transition
that gives you a different experience as it
allows you to travel from one space to
another, not only from interior to
exterior but even from exterior to
exterior or vice versa. By simple stepping
across the door frame, one can be
offered a brand new experience from
one space to another.
Framing Exteriority – windows frames
the exteriority on the corridors or walls
its placed on.
RYOANJI ZEN Garden – borrows the exteriority from outside its wall to enhance the exteriority of its own
garden. Since the garden is surrounded by forest, It borrows the forested space to extend beyond the enclosed
Zen Monk rake the pebbles to create waves and
patterns just like how god create “waves” in a seascape
• Japanese house tends to have
a huge opening to it’s
• User is able to enjoying the
exteriority 100% , while being
inside a interior space
• Japanese house incorporated
exteriors into the
architectural design, allowing
them to use interior to enjoy
The Great Wall Bamboo House- another example of how the
interior space is build in such a way that, it is able to be use to
echo and enjoy the exterior of the design 100%.
Salk Institute for Biological Studies – Louis Kahn 1991
• A sense of exteriority can be felt by over lapping walls
to which they extend beyond the interior space.
• Gaps in walls and drop in height between walls
creates a sense of freedom, forming a
connection between the exterior and interior of
If you listen closely to any discussion regarding architectural, you will realized that all terms used to describe space, places and
the connection they shared are focusing on the idea of enclosure. From an architectural perspective, enclosure represents a
necessary but insufficient condition for effective moderation of the exterior, typically indoor and outdoor for architects and
landscape architects respectively. For a buildings to achieve optimal function, the principles underlying its function must be
Ludwig Mies Van De Rohe designed
the Barcelona Pavilion in 1929. The
design of the Pavilion is similar to that
of the Ryoanji Zen Garden in the
sense that it bring in the exterior
space outside of its wall to enhance
the beauty of the exterior of the
interior space within the wall.
Vertical planes that serve as
enclosures may be detached from
the structure t allow free forming of
space. In an effort to preserve the
planar character of the roof and floor
slab, edges of slabs and verticals wall
should and will never meet, and that
openings in walls should stretch
from floor to ceiling, allowing spaces
to flow from one to the other.
As vertical Planes are “pulled”
out beyond the planar plans, the
line between interiority and
exteriority of an enclosed space
diminishes to almost none
The idea of a open enclosure are
defined by semi-overlapping of
cleverly defined vertical planes.
This Pavilion is one of the most
important representation of
modern architecture and a
design that is closest to remove
the seam between interiority
• Modern architecture
aims to blur the line
between interior and
• Framing and glass to
create a wall to
separate yet not to
isolate interior space
from exterior Space