There are different types of prepositions, and each of these can be used in the design and description of space. These prepositional types are: time, place, movement, manner, agent of instrument, measure, source, and possession.
Prepositions of time describe when something happened, relative to another word. Some of the most common examples of prepositions of time are: before, after, during, at, in, and on. In English, some of the prepositions can be multiple types, such as at, in, and on. These examples can also be prepositions of place. This can be confusing for non-native speakers, but it gives a great opportunity to explore the spatial possibilities when moving between the types.
Some might initially suggest that prepositions of time do not relate to space, but we can look at architectural training and physics to point out that time is really the experience of changing space. With many projects, especially in school, the building or building elements are used to measure time, such as the shadows on a building, the natural ebb and flow of people and their use of space throughout the day, building systems, and lighting from dusk through night to dawn. However, another way one can look at the passage of time is to mark the passage through space or spaces. To come before a building entrance means both the position, but also the imminent entry which can be experienced through site and imagined through the mind. To express something during the experience of space describes the occasion of one action concurrent with another. To walk through a space while others walk past you, in the other direction, is an example of during. The interaction and speed of passing are experiences that occur during the users’ actions.
A full list of prepositions of time that are explored in this work include:
Prepositions of place describe location, and this position can be of objects or the viewer. This is important to keep in mind, especially as design is about space for human use, and most of the best structures explore the possibilities of the human body in space. To think of a person within a structure is very different than thinking of the person walking on the floor–one describes space and interaction with it, while the other expresses traversing a two-dimensional surface that is passive. With this example, think about using another preposition, other than on. What happens when we walk versus the floor or when we walk within the floor? With this substitution, the imagination brings us to a new place where elements are not quite what we have grown to think about them. Why can’t we be moving versus or against a floor? Why can’t we walk inside the floor? What is a floor? We use the term floor to describe the building element, but also we use it to describe a story. Can the story, or level, act like a floor, work like a floor, or evoke the nature of floorness, while creating a spatial exploration that extends well beyond the flat plane.
Again, there are many prepositions of place and these prepositions express spatial relationships. This type preposition may be the nearest and dearest to the architect, and there are many examples of this type of preposition. However, do not forget about the other types of prepositions to add even more depth to a space or place.
Here are the prepositions of place explored in this work:
In Front Of
In Lieu Of
In The Face Of
In View Of
On Top Of
It is important to remember that one can use multiple prepositions, not just one. Next, we will look at prepositions of movement, which is like movement over time.