The movement between rooms is as important as the rooms themselves; and its arrangement has as much effect on social interaction in the rooms, as the interiors of the rooms.
Your house is your larger body.
It grows in the sun and sleeps in the stillness of the night; and it is not dreamless. Does not your house dream? and dreaming, leave the city for grove or hilltop?
Would that I could gather your houses into my hand, and like a sower scatter them in forest and meadow.
Would the valleys were your streets, and the green paths your alleys, that you might seek one another through vineyards, and come with the fragrance of the earth in your garments.
But these things are not yet to be.
⚘ Kahlil Gibran. The Prophet. 1951.
Triangles may be difficult, spewing out energy in all directions, or getting stuck in tricky angularities, but corners also offer shelter. Every corner in a house, every angle in a room is a "symbol of solitude for the imagination; that is o say, it is the germ of a room, or of a house," writes Gaston Bachelard, that fine parser of lived-in spaces. To begin with "the corner is a haven that ensures us one of the things we prize most highly — immobility." a corner offers the opposite of the unboundedness of heath or moor or open land. "The unbounded is abhorrent," states poet Anne Carson in a talk called "On Corners." "It is nothing but beginning, or infinitely unraveling rope ends." Train lines make sense of the unbounded by connecting A to B to C, rendering all that lies beneath them territory to be traversed. But triangles themselves are immobile, inward looking, self-absorbed. Creating ricochets of energy that induce a state of permanent depletion: another sinking drain. In German, the term for "blind spot" is toter Winkel, a dead corner.
Can there be anything more seemingly neutral than a space of habitation, a container for the body? I often give the example of the Amazonian indigenous maloca (indigenous longhouse) versus the archetypical nuclear-family house in suburban America. The maloca can house several dozen people under a single roof, even if the act of habitation obeys certain rules of behavior and spatial distribution. As I jokingly say, paraphrasing, “give me a maloca, and I will raise a relational world” (including the integral and interdependent relations between humans and nonhumans); conversely, give me a suburban home, and I will raise a world of decommunalized individuals, separated from the natural world. Design thus inevitably generates humans’ (and other Earth beings’) structures of possibility.