Frederick, Matthew (2007) 101 Things I Learned in Architecture School
MIT Press, Cambridge.
3. Figure-ground theory states that the space that results from placing figures should be considered as carefully as the figures themselves.
Space is called negative space if it is unshaped after the placement of figures. It is positive space if it has a shape.
6. We move through nevative spaces and dwell in positive spaces.
The shapes and qualities of architectural spaces greatly influence human experience and behaviour, for we inhabit the spaces of our built environment and not the solid walls, roofs, and columns that shape it. Positive spaces are almost always preferred by people for lingering and social interaction. Negative spaces tend to promote movement rather than dwelling in place.
8. "Architecture is the thoughtful making of space." - Louis Kahn
10. Our experience of an architectural space is strongly influenced by how we arrive in it.
A tall, bright space will feel taller and brighter if counterpointed by a low-ceilinged, softly lit space. A monumental or sacred space will feel more significant when placed at the end of a sequence of lesser spaces. A room with south-facing windows will be more strongly experienced after one passes through a series of north-facing spaces.