Bubbles and Skylights

February 15, 2013 § 2 Comments

Current bubble diagram

Bubble Diagram

The highlighted area is currently up for grabs, because of a…

Skylight Dilemma

The existing structure has several skylights, including one over a covered courtyard and another over what is currently the entry to the penthouse apartment. In an effort to be sustainable, it is my intent to leave the skylights in place. The question is, how can I best use these skylights for translational purposes?

Penthouse - Entry

Existing conditions

My thoughts first return to the following passage, in which George addresses Lucy:

‘My father’—he looked up at her (and was a little flushed)—‘says that there is only one perfect view—the view of the sky straight over our heads, and that all these views on earth are but bungled copies of it.’ (147)

So the immediate assumption is to somehow dedicate the space to the character of Mr. Emerson (George’s father). Perhaps a small library, thereby tying knowledge into the concept of the “perfect view”? (The Emersons’ literary tastes were philosophically and socially oriented.) However, I am currently of the opinion that the library should remain adjacent to the ping pong space. (Yes, the Penguin pension has ping pong… or “table tennis” if you want to be fancy.) In their current placement, the library and ping pong patio are separated from the rest of the pension by an egress stair. This distinction effectively represents the two parts of the novel—the first set in Italy, the second in England. Not to mention that the juxtaposition of sport and literature is an allusion to Cecil’s flat refusal to be the needed fourth player in a men’s set of tennis, which Merchant Ivory-Cecil attributes to his being “no good for anything but books.”

Or, in an effort to add some “edge” to the design (as suggested by one reviewer at Salon 01), suppose the skylights were located over the public restrooms…saving the purest view for the most personal of moments? There is some translational legitimacy in conveying the feeling of exposure—particularly the feeling of being exposed even while completely alone. (A skylight is quite a bit different than floor-to-ceiling windows on a busy street.) Lucy, after all, is most afraid of knowing herself. Nevertheless, such an architectural stunt may be too over-the-top for Forster, whose wit was sharp but seamless. Though critical of his times, Forster was also sympathetic. He teases rather than shocks. As Zadie Smith has noted, “He was an Edwardian among Modernists,” in spite of also being “a progressive among conservatives.”

She also writes:

“He made a faith of personal sincerity and a career of disingenuousness.”

I love it!

Bubble sketch dump

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