SOLIDS AND CAVITIES
St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome is an example of several interior cavities clustered together around a major cavity called a dome when viewed from outside. Its visual form as well as the articulation of vaulted ribs that support it catch the light and dazzle the eye whether near or far away.
Pantheon is another
fine example of a sacred “cavity”.
It is lit by an opening to the sky at the very top
in the center of the dome. It was originally a Pagan temple
built around 126 AD, after Christianity had started spreading in Italy.
From Experiencing Architecture by Steen Eiler Rasmussen
From 17 Itinerari a Roma by Francois Nizet
When I was in Architecture school, I had an assignment in a sculpture class that ended up being relevant a year later at my first job. The assignment was to design a “dominant void.” How do you make a mass somehow appear to be predominantly a void or cavity? My solution was to design a perfect cube with a spherical bite taken out of it.
Little did I know that a year later, in 1973, I would be assigned to design a mechanical building next to a
new office building for Florida Power and Light. I went to the site and found that there was an
enormous banyan tree right on the spot where I was supposed to place the building, so
I designed a cube with a bite taken out of it to make room for the tree. The
space under the tree was then turned into a little outdoor
garden for employees to use for lunch breaks.