#122 Loss of Vestibule


B11_#122 // Lloyd Lee // The Vestibule

The architect and his client, Mr. Reynolds, enter the meeting room. The architect looks excited while Mr. Reynolds looks more indifferent to the taking of the meeting. 

Architect : This, Mr. Reynolds, is the most essential feature of my design. It is the vestibule !

Mr. Reynolds : What does it do ? 

Architect : Well, it does not ‘do’ anything. It actually does something by not doing anything. If it does anything, it is because this vestibule is in between two different places with two distinctive functions. So, it does not have a specified function, but it still does something.

Mr. Reynolds : …

Architect : Let me explain; so, there are 8 different staircases, each covered with a distinctive material cladding. Each of these staircases lead to a room, a program. One has to come from one room to another and different composition of pathways in between, say stainless to red wood or stainless to rusted copper, will create completely different experiences ! Just imagine, every time you go through ‘the vestibule’ you will have a different experience to your previous one! It is a spatial diffuser, an ultimate neutral place and an association maker! Yet, it connects everything. It is actually quite magical. 

Mr. Reynolds : That sounds nice. Erm. Yeah, so 8 different materials, right ? 

Architect : Exactly ! ( He seems satisfied, some could even say that he was wearing pride with a grin on his face).

Mr. Reynolds : And why can’t we just put all 8 rooms next to each other. I mean you could have a series of doors that would allow you to access all of them in one single movement. I was in Rome the other week. Went to this Palazzo in the old city, can’t remember the name. All the rooms were connected. I thought that was spectacular ! You move from one to the next, and there is you know, a very good experience to it. It was like a storyline unfolding. So yeah, can we do rooms in a row ? 

Architect : … 

Mr. Reynolds : I don’t see why not ? Look, this is gonna be so much more practical. Cheaper too ! 

Architect : Well Mr. Reynolds, don’t you think this is a bit of an old idea ? It also restricts so much of movement between different rooms. I mean can you really imagine always having to go through one room to get to the next ? 

Mr. Reynolds : Then, put a corridor next to then. It’s that simple. I don’t see why your idea is more ‘contemporary’ than mine. This is just expensive and quite impractical. 

Architect : Well, your architecture is more dictated too! Don’t you want free movement, free association between different programs ? There will be no hierarchy, no fixed storyline. This will create such a beautiful and purposeful space. We already built the prototype, it works so fantastically

Mr. Reynolds : (Gazing at the architect in the eyes, he looks firm in his belief) Very well, let’s then say that this is Ver. 1. Can you do another 3 layouts by the next meeting ? I am obliged to go for the most economical model as well. You have to understand. Actually, please reconsider this; I want rooms in a row, with a corridor next to it. ( With a smile ) The corridor will be our new vestibule.


Lloyd Lee is a Diploma student from The Architectural Association School of Architecture