chapter  17
14 Pages

The Question of Space

This, of course, is nonsense. Architects usually design rectilinear volumes of space, following Cartesian rules of geometry, and anyone can observe that such spaces are no better suited to being used for office work than as a bedroom or a butcher shop. All designed space is, in fact, pure abstraction, truer to a mathematical system than to any human "function." While architects speak of designing space that satisfies human needs, it is actually human needs that are being shaped to satisfy designed space and the abstract systems of thought and organization on which design is based. In the case of Cartesian space, these systems include not only Descartes's mind-body duality, but also Newton's cause-effect determinism, Aristotle's laws of logic, and other theoretical constructs that the prevailing political and social powersthat-be require. Design is a means of controlling human behavior, and of maintaining this control into the future. The architect is a functionary in a

A rectilinear volume of space labeled "Iecture hall" requires that people who occupy this space behave either as lecturer or as listener. If anyone violates this order of behavior, say by deciding to sing during the prescribed lecturingjlistening behavior, because the space has good acoustics, perfect for singing, then pressure to silence the violator will be brought to bear by the audience of obedient listeners, or by the lecturer or, if the violator persists, by the police. Or, to take a less blatant example, if one of the listeners asks (during the usual, prescribed questionjanswer period following the lecture) too long a question, the audience of obedient questioners will try to heckle into silence the violator ofthe space's proscribed behavior. In certain cases, asking a question with a "wrong," unproscribed, uncontrolled, ideological slant will bring the same result. In extreme ca ses, it will bring the police.