A vestibule is a lobby or point of access that creates a passage between the entrance and the interior of a space or building. Vestibules typically adopt the form of a small room or hall that marks the threshold between two environments.
Ancient examples of the vestibular typology originate from Roman architectures where the term was used to describe a space between the interior of a building and the street. Vestibules were a mixture between what we know as the modern hall and a porch. One would have to pass through the vestibule before entering the atrium of a Roman House or Domus.
In modern terms, the vestibule can be used as an antechamber as such. Let us draw interest to vestibules observed in public buildings that command a sense of majesty and power. Government buildings and cultural institutions such as The White House and The Soane Museum respectively mimic classical Roman architectures however both invite completely different audiences. The threshold provides a room that both welcomes and converts the visitor into the inhabitant of these highly significant buildings. The room also serves as a utility, an airlock system, to reduce noise and air infiltration.
The vestibule can be considered as an exit or the final space we inhabit in a building or environment. Let us consider this ceremonial idea of the arrival and departure to or from a space and question the role of the antechamber in a contemporary European society that questions its permanency and identity. How can a vestibular architecture within the grounds of a powerful, grandiose institution comment on how space and community remain, rule or run, and more importantly what does this tell us about what lies beyond its doors at either end?
Brief Written By Henry Schofield