|M.Sc Student||Rafael Segal|
|Subject||The Artificial Horizon|
|Department||Department of Architecture and Town Planning||Supervisor||Full Professor Aravot Iris|
The essay deals with the use of the horizontal in establishing a conception of space.
Modern Architecture in a way similar to the Ancient Egyptians, created an horizon as a means to define man’s relation to space. This horizon is used as an establisher of a new datum that helps reinforce a new context. The Egyptians, seeking a cosmic, global space and modernism’s quest to create a new world, both used the horizon as a tool for revealing a new space: a universal space.
Introduced in Ancient Egypt thru the use of an observational structure, as part of the primary building stages of a pyramid, the artificial horizon aimed to reveal and record the four cardinal points that define the four directions of the world. This system of co-ordinates did not belong solely to the physical earth but rather united earth and sky to one space. Architecture, in this case the pyramid, also functions as a tool, an instrument built of stone, a colossal compass through which we can read the organizing system governing the world. Through its exact position, dimensions, form and scale, the pyramid became the unchangeable evidence for the existence of a new universal order.
While aiming at the creation of a new world, Modern architecture proposed the erasure of the old world not just by means of constructing a new ground on which a new architecture is to be built, but also by creating a new horizon by which a new space is to be perceived. The use of the artificial horizon, not necessarily as a line needed for conducting an observation, but as a conceptual tool for creating architecture, reappears in the work of Mies van de Rohe and
Mies’ elimination of clear borders between inside and outside and the diffusion of interior and exterior creates a spatial experience, which redefines space by extending its limits and boundaries. Architecture through the dominance of the horizontal, is used to re-establish the limits of the world. Le Corbusier, following his discovery of the vastness of space and architecture’s role in enabling it’s experience, uses the horizontal as the means to liberate modern man from his ties to the immediate surroundings. The artificial horizon erases all particularities of the site in order to connect man with the universal natural elements of sun, sky, wind, sea and mountains.