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Architecture as a witness of the existential relation between man and space always updates its structural and conceptual integrity in accordance with changes in human life. This study aims to provide a new commentary on human’s journey among different spatial dimensions through car that is positioned as a vital cross section in architecture and city platform.

The thesis study consists of 3 main sections of which semantic content broadens out through spatial perception with the intention of examining the reality formed by man and machine. In the first section, changing concepts and balances in human life across in the modern process are asserted.

In the second section, connection among architecture, car and city that shelters all vital aspects of man and urban space are discussed. This section intends to scrutinize the ironic structure of new spatial concept that is shaped by the connection between man and car so as to exist; through the man's perceptive integrity and change between urban scale and architectural scale.

In the third section, scale of space integrity existing in accordance with vital unity between man and car is examined with the intention of bringing up the reality that car is a fundamental determinant of architecture. This section aims to introduce the limits of the new thresholds formed in man’s spatial perception by car that resembles an architectural space with its physical and psychological dimensions formed by several human sensations.

University : Istanbul Technical University / Faculty of Architecture
Institute : Faculty of Architecture / Institute of Science and Technology
Science Programme : Architecture
Programme: Architectural Design
Supervisor : Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ferhan Yürekli
Degree Awarded and Date: Master of Sciene – June 2003
Science Code: 624.03.01

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Car; Another Space and Another Time for Human

With their symbolic and aesthetic attributes that generate different exploration of existential appeals of space and time, cars are one of the most significant symbols of modern era. While generating a new reinterpretation of modern living configuration, cars also change the borders of physical and psychological dimensions of the space and transfer its the perception towards a new unprecedented dimension. By means of cars taking place in our daily lives, the space we live in is now defined (scaled&calculate) by the time, not by the physical distance between two locations. Cars, in accordance with their competence of movement at different spatial planes, add new dimensions to human lives and form new cognitive structures related with those planes; thus, cars are one of the most significant thresholds of this interpretation through the modern process.

This extraordinary bond between modern man and car has reformed the sense of modern city; beside, the new dimensions added to the sense of space by car sustained a dangerous but irresistible trip for modern man. This century-long relation among man and the car, which reveals complicated moods and quests, can actually be considered as one of the most substantial thresholds of the explanation and interpretation of modern architecture in a spatial manner. Car builds a panorama of concepts, equivalent to abstract implications harbored by almost a “wall”; and during that process car includes its own physical existence irruptive and directly.

The underlying cause of the first car manufacturing adventure was beyond making a vehicle that operates in its own; however, it was rather serving more individual purposes to change completely the idea of man to commute (faster) and being on the road. Within the extent of car’s current significances and values, perhaps the concept of individualism is the most essential phenomenon that has not changed since those days. The idea of traveling with cars brought along the need to reinterpret vary spatial dimensions that evolve beyond motor and its power for man in the name of the depth of travelers’ relation with-in the surrounded space.

While cars clutter cities and city lives, on the other hand, they have started to create their own dynamic aesthetic and panorama of imagery connotations. The course of senses within road concept such as leaving, escaping, withdrawing, translocation, placelessness and nonlocality has strengthened through the presence of car and the sense of physical and mental freedom provided by it; and this became more addictive for man. In a car the surroundings move; thus, cars have the ability to add new dimensions to concepts of space related with movement; they are attributed with the space where speed and freedom are felt deeply. More on this, this whole spatial experience arouses a feeling as of a side and catalyst either an additional equalizer space that contains a unique architectural structure which can be defined by only with its own particular physical and psychological dimensions for man.

The underlying truth of first car had contained individual reasons referring to changing human life rather than serving public transportation; besides, in this sense, the idea of expedited life is a result of modernism’s attempts to adapt the man to the fictive structure of this new life that imposes everything is sequential within instantaneous changes. During the early modernism stages, the increasing expedition of life became irrepressible; moreover, people spent the process of adaption to this new life largely in their cars which can also be defined as a new kind of social structure and interface. Cars are an indicator of modern technic and mechanization on one hand; and on the other hand, a significant symbol of the mechanic awareness and operations that people had to develop in order to survive within their dramatically transformed living and social structure during the modern process.

Today, car is in a different position than the early prototypes in every sense; beyond only featuring a mechanical functionality to move from one place to another it contains a vital structure that is sculpted various emotional statements and spatial perceptions of man. Currently car in a paradoxical structure position that furnish references to speed, vision, emotion, sensation, memory, social cognitive maps, cultural codes, explorations, communication, aesthetics, shape and form, art and architectural hypothesis in line with the deep and layered relation that humans build with space. This present connotation of car evolved it into a position of a social structure and “an entity” that is integrated into that structure on one hand; and on the other, it developed them among a social network and embodied into an important paradigm of architectural evolution in modern age that can be defined as tangible occurrence of all physical and abstract patterns in which human lives subsist.

The diversity of spatial plane between car and movement intensifies the power of social communication within the car also expands the cultural dimensions of this communication. Car, as a moving object, has qualifications beyond covering human body like makeup and clothes; paradoxically, it provides people the opportunity to articulate and expose their own existence in an unnamed yet familiar social interactions. Together with its established moving capability, the global image of car ensures its existence without losing its holism in different cultures; likewise, cars, by having the capability of movement among diverse spatial planes, remove the borders of identity between different places and cultures as a communication tool.

Today cars are significant normative structures that are meticulously designed in order to create a specific connotation of vary social and individual formations. Corresponding with their physical and mechanical necessities, all the abstract spatial, sensorial, paradoxical, imaginative and cognizance evaluations concerning the formal interpretations of movement, acceleration, speed and translocation establish the fundamental determinants of the car designs in aesthetic wise.

Roads went through changes according to car in the sense of both their existence and conceptual assessment. The concept of road, that could be defined as a path of some various static components related to physical distance to reach the cities before the existence of car, has transformed cities into a more dynamic structural integrity in association with cars. Together with the modern life, the existence of car readdressed the parameters of city planning and provoked the rise of new urban concepts regarding the necessity of adaptation to the new vital changes formed by the relation with cars. More to this, the most fundamental modification regarding urban space and planning formed by these new impact is that it recasts the alignment of all spatial dimensions between road and its surrounded environment. The transformation of roads regarding the diversified relation between man and machine led people, who first developed the urban space and then tried to form the roads according to the structural installation of cities before the era of cars, to reassess the concept of journey and embrace an approach that implies to distribute to the fullest extent of the old cities. Today, the perception of modern city forms a dynamic semantic structural content which enlivens in spaces surrounded by roads and encloses a continuity in the sense that cars can now permeate every corner of cities.

The process of explanation and formalization of space with its physical and psychological dimensions starts with defining the most vital aspect that the space authenticates itself; the existence. In this regard, car is one of the most fundamental scale to shape the individual characteristic of urban space and also evaluate people within the social scope in accordance with man-to-machine interactions. In this sense, knowing that urban space is defined by a division of several spaces as per the needs of human life, it highlights the significance of car among the relation between city and people throughout such a complex multilayered infrastructure. From this standpoint, the cross-section between urban space and man has being skidded into a new dimension in which car also joins to this spatial unity. Therefore, the course of connotations forming this dimension is a multilayered assessment that expands the boundaries of urban space towards undefined limits shaped by the laws of motion.

On one hand cars triggered the development of a motorized modernism within the modern progression, on the other they display the notion that suggests the certain necessity of mobilization in human life more concretely in urban space. In this sense, the concepts of drifting away from the ground by moving brought various new prospects regarding placelesness in terms of architecture together with the existence of cars within the modern progress. While the ever changing opinions on speed and distance have led to individuals being perceived as constant travelers, urban plans are restructured accordingly as well; the highways replaced streets and the roads attained a layered semantic integrity in a fictitious range of change, existence, infinity and freedom.

The idea of existence is getting the most diversified perception of man in conjunction with the concept of space that has now been more difficult than ever to define its borders and dimensions. This intimate relation between man and machine throughout the modern era has brought new efforts for spatial pursuits and interpretations of life to exist; thus, car has formed the most significant paradigm over its existence for the sake of this relation through physical and psychological dimensions of space. Car has added a mobile yet paradoxical constitution to the spatial integration and provided a transition between different places to create completely new urban setup and life in various scales.

This existential relation between man and speed, which is occurred upon instantaneous changes of daily lives, has formed a new connotations in urban space by the context of the car through the change of the road concept. The mechanical need between car and speed has added the acceleration to gain momentum as a burden to the relation between city and road to indicate the ongoing change in human life. Car, with its inclination towards speed, generates a unique experience and extended awareness per pro senses that cannot be felt in any other spatial plane. Herein, this course should be formed through parameters and references of urban space that moves with instantaneous environmental changes and complex interior pattern of the car; at the same time, driver has to restructure and reinterpret all that process according to his/her personal experiences concerning spatial precisions.

One who travels in a speeding car would have to redefine the surfaces between inside and outside; speed exposes new sensations for the man that would cause him/her to reinterpret surrounded environment in a spatial manner. Thus, the surface that car forms between inside and outside as an interface creates a psychological statement for rather being introvert or extrovert due to personal tendencies. Lyric poet Giacomo Leopardi, the inspirational icon of modern Italian poetry, portrays the speed of car in his diary as; “Indeed this speed nearly arouses a feeling of eternity, it aggrandizes and intensifies the soul”. Moreover, the speed which enriches the context of car embraces the feeling of eternity of space for the man. The most significant spatial aspect of car that transferring fundamental structures of architectural space takes form by dynamic interactions created by all other encircled spaces; thus, his space embraces a significant living structure for man as witness of life.

Whilst yoga-like exhaustions as a result of long drives in cars are considered as a spiritual trip as well as personal relief; at the same time, road transforms itself into a kind of barrier between silence and chaos in mental wise. The speed of transportation increases each day passing and new relations which are shaped by non-human senses are born between man and machine due to the necessity to keep up with this speed in the modern life. The act of combining car as an object with driving as an action transforms the city concept into a process of excessive interpretations for human; in this modern process, in which we attempt to make sense of everything around us, car embraces several spatial declinations that are found meaning around the act of driving. In this sense, road turns into a wall, that man does not know what is behind, which removes the physical borders of space that is comprehended as well as interpreted by man through several emotional sensations.

When man reinterprets time and space scope inside car, in fact, it represents the first image of existence that comes to mind: To Live. The journey of life that people experience in its simplest form becomes difficult to shape as well as easy with cars. The quote of “Home is a machine to live in”, which is cited frequently during modern era, is an early prognosis for modern man on mechanic consciousness and embodies a metaphor on the necessity of modern life to function as flawless and fast as a machine. Considering home as an architectural unit, it forms the most fundamental spatial unit; at the same time, it is the only place for man to leave the social identity and be authentic him/herself. In this sense, it is not a coincidence that home is the most convenient place chosen by industrial revolution and machine age in order to reinterpret the new social order for modern man. The aim of resembling home to a machine is to draw man closer to this new social order to integrate personal space with social space; the most striking phase of this integration would be actualized by cars that are the most significant indicator of mechanization. As a place, car represents a transition and an integration throughout the space hierarchy among various scales and dimensions. In this sense, car has a common perception of space and can be referred to the spatial unity of life; this human body wide gap is an integrative and unifying venue for peope. The physical and psychological parameters of intermediate space of car, which is formatted by these integrative dynamics, connect the home corridor to the outside lane for the man. Home, the most basic architectural unit, is the starting point to observe complex spatial connections at different levels in everyday life; cars, in this sense, mean to people an independent and autonomous extension of home in the context of continued integrity they add to the sense of space.

The approach between personal space and social space gives rise to a need of integration for people who are forced to cope with the responsibilities of being an individual in society. In this sense, the physical space of car defines a surface between inside and outside while holding a life for human. The freedom and hele provided by car in the context of transition between social and personal spaces transforms itself into new integrated structures that is formed by socially hybrid characteristics of car for the man. In unison, the interior of car hosts a life; a technological uterus which forms us as much as it deforms us.

While car is defining a surface between inside and outside, it also creates a gap that indicates a spatial integrity upon vital requirements; beyond being just an object formatted by movement with their plate and glass surfaces, car is one of the fundamental parts of urban panorama within architectural space patterns and surrounding environment. Car, which completely changed the idea of city and reformatted the urban space, leads us to reconsider the relations between urban space and architectural space. We are fully aware of the fact that car is not the presence of fixed elements of imaginations inside the city; however, it reoccures the spatial configuration of movements in urban life. Therefore, cars both with their physical presence and abtract spatial content are one of the key determinants of modern city within integrated and paradoxical life structures.

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