Scale is a term that has dominated the architectural profession for as long as built structures have existed. In the literal sense, scale defines the measurable standards that we have come to know and accept —the widths of door frames, a car turn radius, and of course, a means of producing measurable drawings. In a more abstract and figurative representation, scale describes a feeling of individual experiences when comparing themselves or a familiar object to something unfamiliar. Some buildings and urban projects are often defined by their relationship to the human scale and their ability to share a relationship with commonly understood reference points. Other buildings are often described as being a sort of architectural “fun house”, and are so overwhelmingly out of scale that they intentionally diminish all sense of familiarity and force inhabitants to adapt to new methods of identifying their relationships to objects in space. But what is it about these buildings that seem to distort the things we know, and how can we begin to understand these scaleless and unfamiliar feelings in a familiar way?
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