Wednesday, June 4, 2014
the scale evolution
The term "human scale" is tossed about with little regard for how contextual it is. The building codes set some definitive guidelines for heights, widths, and areas that are derived from human proportions, but these have little bearing on the normal functions of architecture.
Spaces in commercial architecture were transformed by Accessibility laws, but in my opinion, the more significant changes have occurred at the residential scale. Much of the Colonial era architecture is notable for its cramped qualities--even in homes of the wealthy. A signal of increasing prosperity is the increase in ceiling heights, but even that can be a limited gesture. Servant spaces stayed small for a long time, and when they started to get larger, the live-in serving class disappeared in the U.S.
The scale evolution has reached a plateau in terms of size. The diversity of scale within houses will oscillate unto infinity. My boldest prediction is that attitudes towards storage space will get more refined. More people will start demanding less of it.