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Much more than a simple view of domesticity at the time, Samuel van Hoogstraten’s painting “View of a corridor” from 1662, represents a detailed experiment in the depiction and exhibition of liminal space. The doorway is a transition zone with many of the same properties of the door itself, however one key difference is that the doorway is a particular mode of the door which can be spatially occupied. The idea of a viewer occupying this zone of flux creates tension, curiosity, and a questioning of space and its relationship to itself and the bodies and objects within it. In this way, the doorway of Hoogstratens painting is more than a part of the ‘setting’ or ‘narrative’, but rather it was used as an internal frame creating a dialogue with the ‘real’ frame and the ‘real’ world of the viewer. The doorway can  invite  an  exchange  between  the fictive  space  of  painting  and  the  field  of  the beholder , producing a liminal space of contact between representation and reality that destabilizes their definitive separation.

View from A Corridor, Samuel Van Hoogstraten, 1662.

View from A Corridor, Samuel Van Hoogstraten, 1662 Installed in Dyrham Park. © NTPL / Rupert Truman The bridging between the realm of the ‘real’, and the realm of artistic interpretation is clearly blurred.

Plan view, depicting the thresholds within the space, depicted in the painting.

Light depicts the liminal zones of flux.

Liminal space is always around us, and is created as a byproduct every time a new space is designed. So as a specific focus for the next project, I am interested in how one can design with respect to the liminal spaces first, and have the byproduct instead be the space. I am very interested to see how one can actually go about designing from the transition areas first to the actual programmatic spaces, and how putting an emphasis on the design of liminal spaces can influence the overall design approach to a domestic space.

View from A Corridor, Conceptual Interpretation

Anxiolytic Architecture: A HALFWAY HOUSE FOR THOSE WITH SEVERE ANXIETY DISORDERS. [REDUCE STIMULI + FOSTER BEHAVIORAL CHANGES] What is anxiety? How does it manifest? Can architecture and design work through the lens of domesticity to aid and even cure anxiety disorders? Anxiety disorders plague close to 7% of Canadians aged 15-64 according to the Public Health Agency of Canada, and at present the most frequent treatment is anxiolytics, a term for drugs that are chiefly used to treat anxiety. A prior study of liminal spaces gave rise to an idea that these transition zones represented a common trigger to many anxiety disorders, especially those involving being out in society, such as agoraphobia. This link between many anxieties and society, or the ‘outside’ world, informed the basis for a scenario where a domestic environment could protect the inhabitants from their anxieties, while at the same time working to promote self reliance and growth. Again, the liminal spaces are given special consideration, for their pivotal point of flux represents the specific times when anxiety, either conscious or unconscious, begins. Liminal spaces can be seemingly erased with flow through a space, or drawn out to become a space unto themselves. Perceptions can be altered. Inside can become outside; an exit can become an entryway. When society becomes an infection, domestic life and architecture can be the stabilizing force, connecting body, space, and object, in a way no other environment can.

Pictorial representation of Agoraphobia/Anxiety © Graphic Patrick

Entrance Bedrooms Bathrooms Living Area Kitchen Eating Area Storage




The site, in Midtown Toronto, Ontario. The liminal space between the street and residence is extended and blocked,

The Foyer. The transition zone is barricaded and lengthened . A glimpse of the space beyond is seen through the portal.

‘Courtyard Dining’ Residents dine in a synthetic outdoor courtyard environment, associating regular meals with their anxiety, reducing its negativity.

Hallway Rooms are void of thresholds, utilising angled walls to provide privacy, and ownership.

Kitchen and Common Area An intimate space for patients, grounds them and reduces all stimuli except for a doorway to an enclosed outdoor patio,

ED3 - Project 2.0 (Studio Domestique)  

House design.

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