The Interpretation of an empty space

The whole idea of how a space becomes a place when occupied with people really began to get me thinking about how places around us would be very different if we visited them and they were completely empty.

We have all been in that situation where a space has felt un-nerving or strange either late at night or early in the morning, when there is just no one else about. You have maybe been at the station, looked along the platform to just see you and one other person next to what seems an endless track going into the distance.

Imagine if the whole city was an empty space. No cars, buses.. the shear silence would be confusing enough let alone the fact that there would be no atmosphere about the space.


I have selected and image from the film ‘I am Legend’ I feel it gives a great representation of my thoughts in today’s blog. You visualise Will Smith and his dog in abandoned, wrecked city of which no other person is about. Throughout the film you get a great feel of how empty and meaningless a city can feel without being used for it’s purpose. Without inhabitation of a space, there becomes no purpose, no emotion, no energy about the space. I find it really interesting how it completely changes your perspective of the city.

When Architects are designing they look at how people manipulate the space and how it will be of use. Without in habitation of space there is no given use.

Juhani Pallasmaa looks into spatialised memory: Memories that can be attached to certain places, re-visiting that place can bring up memories from the past, and may even create new ones. In the Film Will has lived and made many memories within the city, much of which are completely different to what he is now experiencing. We won’t often experience how a memory of a space can be adjusted and changed to have no resemblance to a memory of the same space. There can often be structural differences or added artwork to buildings which has changed but nothing as large as the removal of life and emotions. 


At what pace do you feel you travel around the city?

Everyone moves around the city with a different agenda. Most at a fast business orientated pace and some at a leisurely stroll. All see the city from a different perception. Take travelling in a car for an example, how much detail can you really see when your going above 100mph. The faster you travel, the more the information and influences around you become blurred. Those familiar paths you travel daily, to and throw your routines, may not be as familiar as you think. Have you noticed the change in paintwork among your local shop, or the advertising spread across the walls of the tube. All of this is part of your surrounding.

I know myself sometimes needs to take a step back, slow down and observe the environment around.

Most people will travel quickly among the streets of London, Within the city people have busy schedules and limited time to complete all there tasks. However there are a fair few that can do this at a much slower pace. (Yes, the ones that get in the way when you have an appointment in 10 minutes. This has happened to all of us at some point in our daily travels.)

But, when sitting back and thinking about the paces of which we travel and what people must take in from the environment around them, I began to contradict myself. Sometimes those travelling at the slower pace, can be so busy minded/tired that they themselves are still not indulging the environment around them. I guess this is what happens when we live in such a large city with many hectic lifestyles.

The city strives you to be successful, which gives you the drive to achieve a lot among a day to day basis this then correlates to the pace you will commute at. Subconsciously the city influences your behavioural movement.