How does the experience of turning a door handle, opening a door from one space to lead into another, affect us? It is no wonder that the door, one of the most elemental architectural forms, has such metaphorical richness. But even on a purely physical human level, the cold touch of a brass handle or the swish of a sliding screen gives rise to an emotional reaction, sometimes modest, occasionally profound.
This book aims to understand how these everyday acts in space are influenced by architectural form, a concept that is vital for all architects to grasp if our buildings are to be anything more than a commercial or aesthetic enterprise. It considers how specific built elements and volumes, taken from a wide array of buildings and settings around the world, can sustain or deny our powers of decision. From the hand-carved stairs in Greek villages to free-floating catwalks, from the elegant processional steps of Renaissance Italy to Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterly manipulation of form, from the seemingly random placement of Japanese stepping stones to the staircase in Chareau’s Glass House, all provide very difference experiences of stepping from one level to the next, and all affect our experience of that space.