Taking the basic unit of existence to be the organism-in-its-environment, which is coupled to the world through its capacity to sense, and thus interpret its surroundings, this paper argues (from an evolutionary perspective) that ‘human-space’ may be comprehended by extending the issue downwards to the pattern recognition and control processes of simpler organisms; on the premise that the mechanisms we see at play in single celled organisms lead to higher and higher degrees of sign processing in humans. The spatiality of an organism is affected through its capacity to sense, which underpins perception and capacity to engage with the world. This ability (stemming from our cells) is ambient and distributed, and from this perspective space is ‘lived’. Effected through the ability to feel or perceive and affect the environment, space is a (habitual) state of fluidity and perpetual readjustment articulated through an organism’s activity and interaction. A living-cell is, fundamentally, a semiotic-niche; meaning it must master a set of signs by which it can control – or maintain – itself, and like all living things acts according to physiological and social needs. Having the capacity to distinguish self-from nonself a cell is, thus, a model of the ontology of ‘self’. The spatiality of an organism and its engagement with its surroundings may thus be extrapolated on the basis of cell/niche (inter)action – after all an organism is, at base, an ecosystem of cohabitating cell formations.
Citation : Ireland, T. (2015) Naturalising Space. In: Perception in Architecture. Claudia Perrin and Miriam Mlecek (eds.). Cambridge Scholars Publishing. pp. 38-46.
ISBN : 1443872563
Research Group : Architecture Research Group
Peer Reviewed : Yes