Colin Rowe and Robert Slutzky. Transparency: Literal and Phenomenal p ‘Transparency,’ ‘space-time,’ ‘simultane- ity,’ ‘interpenetration. Two Modes of Transparency: Literal & Phenomenal. The key aspect to Rowe and Slutzky’s seminal essay on Transparency: Literal & Phenomenal, is the .. Colin Rowe and Robert Slutzky in their essay ‘Transparency: Literal. ‘tltlder the tille “Transparency: Literal and Phenomenal”. The significance of this lematic of Colin Rowe and Robert Slutzky’s co-authored writings under the title.

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Transparency: Literal and Phenomenal

I do not design floor plans, facades, sections. The perforous screen like the diaphanous veil or the layered transparent planes simultaneously reveals and conceals, connects and divides in a mode of contiguous discontinuity. The subject in the building engages in a theatrical voyeuristic gaze passing through the framed spaces. For me, an is no ground floor, first floor etc…. This interpretive study can be seen as a forerunner to his own investigative projects of layering planes and spaces, seen especially in his early house projects.

Email Twitter Facebook Pinterest. Rowe argues that phenomenal transparency has just the same effect on the brain. Having the property of transmitting light without scattering to that the objects lying beyond and behind are seen clearly; allowing passage of a specified form eowe radiation; fine or sheet enough to be seen through-diaphanous. Notify me of new posts via email. In the various modes of indirect lighting, such as slots, tubes, conduits, light shafts, light funnels and trsnsparency or some other labyrinthine configuration, the incident light arrives mysteriously as it is reflected or redirected from the inner surfaces of the light baffle, concealing the window or opening.

Email Address never made public. Formless light is given a memorable character whereby the radiation and energy from the sky is collected and sculpted. After his study of cubist paintings, Rowe necessarily turns to the world of architecture in order to more thoroughly expound his notions of three dimensional transparency of space.

The control of certain parameters, such as the proportion of solid to void, the relationship between the opaque surface and the porous openings or holes can achieve a seemingly gauzy and mysterious, yet luminous and brilliant, experience of the screen. With this set of evidence, Rowe sets out his basic tenets that define transparency: The inner linings of these detached screens or baffles can be made reflective or coloured, which in turn will have an effect on the redirected light.


The filtering and penetrating effect of light through translucency achieves coin layered trannsparencywhere natural light passes through, slows down, softens, bleeds and diffuses from one space to the next, from exterior to the interior, and through different layers of the interior, creating a superimposed overlapping penetrative effect, bringing daylight further and deeper into the space.

The flow of light is conducted through daylit voids, cavities, and porous masses, while distributing yet moulding the illumination as it hits the surface Plummer, One can, for this reason, distinguish between a literal and a phenomenal transparency. Nothing is left to the imagination since the transparency of the planes allows the viewer to see through each layer.

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Transparency | Architecturality

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Rowe transpareny that Le Corbusier purposefully included design features rowee act as points of reference that imply spaces not immediately discernible. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email.

Post was not sent – check your email addresses! Below are two paintings that demonstrate these notions of transparency. You are commenting using your Twitter account. Literal Transparency occurs through the layering and stacking of the physical material of the walls and surfaces, whereas Phenomenal transparency occurs through the layering, overlapping, and superimposition of axes and gridded spatial orders, thus producing an ambiguity of spatial organizations, resulting from a sequential ordering or a successive stratification and layering of space.

Furthermore, the literally transparent is best viewed at an oblique angle hence the diagonal, two point perspective of the photograph in order to define space in a eowe complex way. The Raumplan demonstrates a framing of frames, a seeing or penetrating through the successive frames of view.

The Bauhaus would appear as a huge curtain of translucent glass with a plane wall lying behind and a gridded division of the translucent plane by the metal on the glass. Conversely, phenomenal transparency exists when a designer deliberately abstracts space, not through the use of overlaying transparent planes, but through the reorganization of multiple spacial grids that would normally define a plane.


Filtering and diffusing light through perforous patterned screens or facades, creating a myriad of patterned shadow effects as the sun changes its position during the course of a day. The position of the transparent figures has equivocal meaning as one sees each figure now as the closer, now as the further one.

Transparency: Literal and Phenomenal | Arch

Literal transparency is perceived and definite, while phenomenal transparency is conceived and indefinite. In the first first figure, La Sarrazthe painter paints with obvious transparency in his pigments in order to layer the receding layers of planes.

Transparency relates to diaphaneitytranslucency, and layering.

The boundary is blurred. Hence, phenomenal or conceptual transparency is achieved, following what Rowe and Slutzky mentioned with regards to the notion of stratificationthat is, the sequential layering of frontal planes and spaces. This site uses cookies. This continuous fluctuation of interpretative readings reaffirms the notion of seeming, or what will be later referred to as an implied transparency, as opposed to a real or actual transparency.

What results is an organization of shapes that are clearly in superimposition with one another in a vacuous expanse suggesting outer space. Transparency means a simultaneous perception of different spatial locations. That is not to say that we will always arrive at an accurate conception of the hidden space of a building, but designers give us more to engage in psychologically when phenomenal transparency is at transparendy.

This overlapping and interpenetrating of figures conjures an ambiguity or contradiction of spatial dimensions. Rowe and Slutzky makes a distinction between two types, modes, or conditions of transparency in their seminal essay on Transparency: Space not only recedes but fluctuates in a continuous activity.

Notify me of new comments via email. For me, there are only contiguous, continual spaces …Storeys merge and spaces relate to each other. Raumplan as a succession of layered spaces.

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