Dr Emine Gorgul

School of Architecture, Istanbul Technical University

Immaterialization of the Spatial Embodiment in Early Modern Architecture

Barcelona Pavilion (Prodan, A. http://marlas.cgsociety.org/art/interior-maya-mies-rohe-mental-ray-pavillon-photoshop-van-der-barcelona-pavilion-686776)

Barcelona Pavilion (Prodan, A. http://marlas.cgsociety.org/art/interior-maya-mies-rohe-mental-ray-pavillon-photoshop-van-der-barcelona-pavilion-686776)

Penetration of cutting-edge technologies into the agenda of the contemporary architecture has arisen novel inquiries of the presence of the space, as well as the existence of spatial embodiment. Thus, while interacting with the incorporeality or in other words immaterialization of spatial embodiment, in this paper, I am discussing the inquiry in a provocative way, by positioning my argument resonating with a perception of space as a becoming -the transformation of architectural space into an interface and a regime of becoming-, which is constituted by spatial mediators in a gradual transformation in the modernist agenda during last 100 years. In this respect, this novel spatiality not only generates the environments of various multi-modal interactions, but also mediates versatile levels of information flow, while maintaining temporality and dynamism through its open-ended fluid system that is far from a crystallized, closed structure.

In fact, this paper is extracted from a former Ph.D. dissertation entitled “Space as A Becoming: A Discussion on Transfiguring Ontology of Space and Emergence of Spatial Mediators” that focuses on paradigm shift in architecture from Cartesian spatial relations into spatio-temporality, which further appraises spatiality as an extension in terms of spatio-temporal relations; while revealing the spatial embodiment as a dematerialized entity that associates with the dissolving properties of spatial corporeality. As the former study maps this transition in three consequent key examples (Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona Pavilion, Le Corbusier’s Le Poéme Electronique and Spuybroek’s H2O Expo Pavilion cases) that are varying due to the transfiguring character of spatial-mediator from immobile, to audio-visual and finally augmented mediators; in this paper I am reflecting how the surface of spatial envelope in the initial case -Barcelona Pavilion- has been innovatively immaterialized, with a strong emphasis that winds back the spool from current debates on bio-digitally immaterialized surfaces into analog immaterial surfaces.

So, by being attributed as one of the most significant examples of Modern Architecture, Barcelona Pavilion emerged as a prototype in terms of immateriality and the virtual dimension of space, as well as a distinguished case that juxtaposes the discourse and praxis of its epoch, which still remains as an inspiring example in today’s debates. However, the pavilion was constructed in the glowing years of Modern Period, with its outstanding affiliation to International Style, this paper focuses on the pavilion as a milestone in which the intangible characteristics of the spatiality have influenced the constitution of architectural space.

While declining the closed-box ideology of the conventional spatiality, this paper aims to discuss the emergence of an architectural embodiment through corporeal and incorporeal becomings (the transitive existence of architectural space as well as the interaction of subjects). This paper also interacts with spatio-temporal multiplicities, and appraises their transforming capacities in space, that enable the proliferation of the spatial relations by constituting the multiple actualization processes of endless potentials of the virtual. Besides the processes of deterritorailization and reterritorialization appear within the procedure of territorial shifts in the transition of architectural becoming and the immaterialization of the embodiment.


Dr Emine Gorgul is an Associate Professor at the School of Architecture, Istanbul Technical University (ITU). She has received her BSc (1999), MSc (2002) and PhD (2013) from ITU on Architecture and Architectural Theory and Criticism. Her master thesis focused on dismantling the Avant-Garde behavioural tone in Deconstructivism, while she criticizes the transfiguring ontology of space as a becoming and examines the architectural space through a Deleuzian context in her PhD thesis. She was a visiting scholar in DSD–TU Delft, a visiting teacher at Architectural Association London, an invited studio critic in Hong Kong University, and visiting professor at Auburn University Alabama.