based on a regular structural grid, are an irregular composition of spaces arranged without reference to axial symmetry.
The dichotomy of attitudes and related architectural ideas associated with 'temple' and 'cottage' run through all dimensions of architecture. An architect can impose an abstract order onto the world, or respond to what the world provides. Often architecture involves both at the same time.
The attitudes apply to the modifying elements of architec
ture as well as to the formal. In environmental design (which deals with warmth, light, sound, ventilation) a distinction has been drawn between 'selective' and 'exclusive' design: in selective mode a building is conceived to respond to and exploit the environment around; in exclusive mode the internal environment of a building is artificial, hermetically separated from the outside climate. In the terms discussed here, the selective mode accords with the 'cottage' idea, and the exclusive with the 'temple'.
'Temple' and 'cottage' exist conceptually on a philosophical dimension which is pertinent to all stages of design. Their application is not subject to rules, but to judgement and opinion, and can be influenced by prevailing trends of the time.
Some works of architecture are not easy to analyse in these terms. One is Gerrit Rietveld's Schroeder House (left), built in Utrecht in 1923. Its form is irregular; it has no axial symmetry; and it does not sit on a platform. Yet it has an abstract, idealised, unresponsive character which seems to separate it from the world as found, and which suggests it is a 'temple'.
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