Spider Webs and Dust Bunnies

What am I talking about, this is architecture and design.  It is a kind of odd title, no?  But there is a reason.  And that is corners.  Every home has them.  Lots of them.  They are in every room, a minimum of 8 in the typical room.  And what to they do?  They collect dust and give spiders a great place to anchor three ways.  Granted, they are also very nice places to lean things against and to put up a nice odd shelf.  But other than that, corners are a byproduct of an unnatural environment.

Take out a pen.  Draw a straight line.  No, not a kinda straight line, a straight one.  Not easy, is it?  Now draw a curved line.  Mission was easily accomplished.  Why?  Because our minds and bodies are not straight lines.  We have created machines and straight edges that only move in straight lines because it is reproducible.  The industrial revolution has taken the natural and made it unnatural in its quest for optimization and efficiency.  Yet, when we are in a space that is perfectly square, our bodies (and minds by some research I have read) do not fit into the point of the corner.  It is dead space.  It always will be, except when we put other square things into said corners.

As an architect, I am as guilty of the straight line syndrome as anyone.  Yes, curves cost more to erect as a drywaller needs to score the product, even if you use the few products out there for curved framing.  The trim needs to be custom done (assuming you like that sort of decoration).  And hanging a painting, well, there will be some issues, but I see some of those as trying to fit the accoutrements of the straight edge world with the natural curve of a human shaped space.

There have been times in our history, even recently, where this straight has gone curved.  Art Moderne comes to mind, its sleek contours that would inspire the eye of the new, flowing architecture that represented where the human race was moving.  And it has bred a neat subset of architecture in transit hubs that share the same desire to convey movement.  Bahnhof Berlin, the old TWA terminal at JFK and the newly completed Calatrava Transit Station in lower Manhattan are good examples of flow architecture.  But in the places we spend our lives, our offices and our homes, square is easier to build, and cheaper, and fits the rigid zoning demarcations.  So in the quest for bigger, faster cheaper, we get housing boxes and cubicles in all sizes and colors, and maybe, if we are lucky, a roundtop window or a plaster arch.

I propose that as a profession, the human characteristic of the curve moves into how we create spaces.  Let our minds move from those of hard edges into curves and flowing spaces that serve our desires and our actual shape. 

Who knows, we may eliminate the corner dust bunnies and spider webs along the way!

Cheers!