The relationship between the human body and architecture has always been a key element in architectural design and practice, however, the connection between the two wasn't documented or even accepted until the rise of ergonomics some years ago. Nowadays, the question is how is the body perceived in modern times? How does this perception influence the way we design the buildings and spaces that we inhabit? Too often, ergonomics is seen as a discipline that emphasizes the separation between body and object; however, not only is it the connection between them, it is also the pre-established blueprint that maximizes and synchronizes their productivity. At its most basic level, it's a technical discourse on the increasingly mechanized human dwelling.
Body And Architecture: The Latest Architecture and News
In 1948, the architect Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris, better known as Le Corbusier, released one of his most famous publications titled Modular, followed by Modular 2 (1953). In these texts, Le Corbusier expressed his support of the research that Vitrubio, DaVinci, and Leon Battista Alberti started centuries before: to find the mathematical relationship between human dimensions and nature.
The research of the previously mentioned authors also represents the search to explain the Parthenon, the temples, and cathedrals built according to exact measurements that reference a code of essentiality. Knowing what instruments were used in finding the essence of these buildings was the starting point, instruments that at first glance seemed to bypass time and space. It wouldn't be farfetched to say that the measurements came from essence: parts of the body such as the elbow, the finger, thumb, foot, arm, palm, etc. In fact, there are instruments and measurements that carry names alluding to parts of the human body, an indication of architecture's proximity to it.
What do dance and architecture have in common? It's difficult to explain how our experiences of dance are stored in our bodily memory, but central to our recollection of a performance is the architectural space that it inhabited. Although dance may have been the central focus, the site is integral to its experience. Both disciplines are fundamental when exploring the ways we navigate and create cities and urban spaces.
It's no surprise that many choreographers explore both disciplines: dance and architecture. These pieces question how our bodies navigate through built environments. However, it is important to note that this experimentation is not merely contemplative but speaks to the way specific groups of peoples and cultures operate in their surroundings. In the words of the philosopher Marina Garcés: "The body is no longer what is and binds us to a place, but it is the condition for every place. It is the zero point of all the spatialities that we can experience, and at the same time, all the links that constitute us, materially and psychically."