When it comes down to it, all architecture involves one principle, the demarcation and defining of space. How this is done depends on what it is used for. One of the things that made Gothic architecture so successful was its ability to make spaces that are conducive to contemplation. This was particularly important in the breathtaking churches that they made. While masonry and stained glass was the vehicle for this, the true success was in their use of space.
One of our favorite studios ever, Troika, is exploring the manipulation of space to induce contemplation like those Gothic masters did. Troika is quickly making a name for itself as true innovators of light. Their latest offering, Arcades, is part of Belgium’s Biennale Interieur 2012. The installation has been placed within the darkened interior of a timber stable. Arcades is essentially light architecture. 14 pillars of light create an arcade within the barn, defining the space with a medium as immaterial as light. Fresnel lenses, that wonder of the 19th century, direct beams of light to form columns and sweeping arches in the space. These lenses also make the light do the seemingly impossible, bend the beams into hyperbolic arches. This architecture within architecture smudges the lines between the scientific and metaphysical creating a somewhat indescribable sensation of joy.
Regardless of your personal views on the subject, Arcades elicits a religious experience much like cathedrals do. It is a place for contemplation and reflection, something the world can never have too much of.