Transparency is one of the most important and still controversial in terms of contemporary architecture. Many expressions or architectural expressions have been expressed within itself and are still being continued. Colin Rowe and Robert Slutzky, through their transparency with their “Transparency: Literal and Phenomenal”, have succeeded in bringing a very new perspective to modern architecture. This new viewpoint has opened up a new dimension by adding the angle of the previous viewpoint. That is to say, literal transparency is described by Rowe and Slutzky on the surface quality by advocating a light architecture where everything is quite clear through the transparency of the material and the surface quality (Rowe & Slutzky, 1982). For example, it is closely related to the transparency of a material, and the fact that all the events and circumstances behind it are revealed by literal transparency. On the other hand, it is aimed that transparency, in fact, is always a curiosity and ambiguity, since this is not enough expression and a transparency over a new spatial organization. Transparency entails wider spatial order rather than being an optical feature. Transparency means the recognizing the different spatial and spatial organization (Rowe & Slutzky, 1982). The main purpose of this paper is to study spatial stratification by taking Rowe and Slutzky’s article as the main reference and the advantages of spatial stratification to spatial organization and spatial transparency through case studies. These case studies; Bauhaus by Walter Gropius in terms of literal transparency that implies the material and surface quality, On the other side, examples are designed by Mies Van Der Rohe, Barcelona Pavillion is one of the best-known examples of contemporary architecture through spatial layering. Other examples are Jean Nouvel’s Fondation Cartier, Adolf Loos’s Villa Müller. Samples will generally be tried to be addressed through spatial transparency, with reference to phenomenal transparency.

It is an undeniable fact that literal transparency is related with the perceptual, easily definable spatial qualities which are related to the transparency levels of the materials. It is a transparent display that clearly expresses what is behind it without the need for doubt. Walter Gropius has also made it clear in his works that the transparency of the material and the transparency are clearly visible in the background. Bauhaus designed by Gropius is a real example of the literal transparency in terms of used material on the facade of the workshop spaces that glazed facade. That glass facade allows people to see what happens inside the space clearly and without any ambiguity. Also, create a permeability in term of view of the observer [2].

Fondation Cartier is designed by Jean Nouvel in Paris 1994 which is one of the earlier buildings of the architect uses the same self-sacrifice as the surface transparency and precision of Nouvel’s recent designed constructions. There is a designed play with the indoor and outdoor is very convenient because it creates an openness that invites people to experience both near and remote buildings [3]. The “play” to be told is spatially sensed and actually defines a space between the actual structure and the vertical steel construction surfaces. The spatial organization defined by the layering of these surfaces is also felt as a “play”. Both the layering of surfaces that reference this spatial organization of steel surface structures of ambiguous transparency that playing with the perception of spatial organization and the easy readability of the back to back scenario using highly transparent materials and matrices are examples of the literal and phenomenal transparency of Colin Rowe and Robert Slutzky. In fact, when examined in the plane of the building plan, the steel surfaces near the road are aligned to the starting line of the structures on the other two sides of the ground. This could be one of the spatial games of phenomenal transparency. The green space is defined between the main structure and these steel structures and is actually located as a structure within the structure. In other words, it was made as a green space, with the usual walls and enclosed spaces. Transparency of space in space. The intervening and defined green space actually offers an invitation to people and this layering contributes to the spatial organization.

fondation cartier.jpg

By connecting, layering, and revealing the private spaces can be implied in the building as a number of actions the life style of the users become open means transparent. The dialogue between inhabitants and space can develop [4].

“Transparency means a simultaneous perception of different spatial locations. Space not only recedes but fluctuates in a continuous activity” (Kepes quoted in Rowe & Slutzky, 1982) [5]. As Rowe and Slutzky also refer to in their articles, transparency must go beyond just being expressed by a material. An explanation of this is over the phenomenal transparency. In this discussion/paper it is aimed to examine the structures by making spatial organizations together with layers of surfaces. One of these examples is the Barcelona Pavilion, a structure that Mies Van Der Rohe has created through the labyrinthine walls and even behind these walls, an area that can be perceived as an example of layering over phenomenal transparency. The building built in Germany, 1929. The stratification seen in Mies’s Barcelona Pavilion is spatially reshaped, and this stratification adds spatial enrichment. The opaque walls come after each other with shift-like operations, giving clues about a back space. Also, most importantly, it is the purpose of the human being to perceive that it is a space behind that opaque wall. This purpose actually provides a very effective perception even though it is made with several opaque surfaces, ie walls. This perception and transparency achieved by stratification can be seen as a clear example of phenomenal transparency. That is, these two-dimensional situations, opaque surfaces, are not capable of creating space on their own. Layer and depth are the norm [6]. The phenomenal of transparency in the background is as far as the literal transparency is concerned. The pavilion’s front is made entirely of transparent glass and can be said to be very effective in reflection. The two transparencies that Rowe and Slutzky try to describe can be seen as appropriate. Because the real thing that Rowe and Slutzky argue is that transparency is not enough with just the material. Transparency must be able to beyond from the transcend material what is advocated in this new discourse.

Another example of the processing of phenomenal transparency is Villa Müller, designed by Adol Loos in 1927-1928. Spatial continuity is made not by the elimination of the walls, but by the vignettes towards the wide openings and framing [7]. Despite being designed almost fifty years ago by Villa Müller, Colin Rowe, and Robert Slutzky’s article, it is still a good example of phenomenal transparency. Arranging the opaque walls behind each other and shifting them by a certain measure shifts the observer to the observer in the background, despite the use of opaque materials in the background, which is not actually exposed with literal transparency. Spatial layering also provides spatial continuity. The diagonal section of this structure can be clearly seen. It is possible to see this spatial organization, which is gained from the layering, from the plans and the perspective collages.


To sum up, transparency is one of the core concepts of architecture and key design tools. Colin Rowe and Robert Slutzky have come to a new perspective on transparency and modern architecture, explaining what is known as literal transparency are not enough that everything that does not provoke any curiosity is clear enough easily perceivable, and that transparency must be explained by the spatial organization in fact transparency. Spatial stratification, that is, using opaque materials, and shifting only those opaque materials, framing the spaces behind, was a new perspective to bring transparency to the formation of the spatial organization to observer/human. This new point of view also adds new things to transparency. Transparency over spatial organization has been tried to be done with layers and stratification as well as case studies.



  • Colin Rowe & Robert Slutzky, Transparency: Literal and Phenomenal, 1982.
  • Transparency: Literal and Phenomenal, February 2, 2012.

[3] Megan Sveiven, AD Classics: Fondation Cartier / Jean Nouvel, October 26, 2010.

  • Bobbi Maclennan, Implied Transparency: A Layering of Spaces, 2011.
  • – [7] Transparency II: Layering of Planes / Layering of Spaces, February 24, 2011.

  • Duygu Tüntaş, Layering as a Method of De-coding: House II by Peter Eisenman, METU, 2017.




Cone of Vision and Second Order Cybernetics

It is a known fact that as time goes by, people have sought to facilitate their work and discover new means of communication. Along with these research, some of the systems based on them have become the first focal point. On this paper, I will describe the two phrases I have chosen, cone of vision and second-order cybernetics, based on human and observer, and then examine their interrelationships.

The ongoing and widely known definition of Cone of vision is in fact a shame; the visual cone is assumed to be a geometric shape which is cone of 60 degrees for a single eye. This 60-degree cone starts in the eye of the observer and continues as it has to take the object that needs to be seen. In order for the obesity to be visible, it must be in the vision field. Classically and fundamentally, this is the definition. Actually, the field of view restricts us from seeing anything other than devices like Virtual Reality devices. Cone of vision, on the other hand, has some manipulations. If we take the observer as a human, there are two eyes of the people, and this fixed vision of 60 degree vision decays itself to 120 degrees. In the same way, for me, the constant definition of this visual conception, the 60 degree perception, has begun to collapse as systems and communication methods become more complex. In a linear perspective, areas outside the visual field fixed at 60 degrees are distorted and the eye sees these areas as distorted. On the other hand, in the simplest case, when the observer changes position, the places he starts to see blurred will also change. In fact, the points that the observer perceives as impaired are not really distorted (1). For example, with the invention of the camera, there are systems that can not be fixed at 60 degrees. Cameras with wide-angle lenses give the human eye a new dimension by going beyond the visual field. It shows us that we can not see it in a single frame. When we think of this visual frame, with reference to John Berger’s documentary The Ways of Seeing, the human eye does not actually see the areas outside the focal point where the human eye looks, but it completes the frame and image of the focus we look at as our contribution to our brain. Dziga Vertov is a Russian filmmaker. He speaks from the mouth of a camera and says: “Freed from the boundaries of time and space, I coordinate any and all points of the universe, wherever I want them to be.” My way leads to the creation of a fresh perception of the world (The Filming of Art, Vertov, D., Wechsler, J., p.141, para.1-2,1923).” Therefore, cameras had been open a new dimension to the observer in terms of seen frames and angles which have been broken that defined in the cone of vision. Vertov’s talk about the camera, the issue of getting rid of the boundaries of time and space, and the movements of the camera that he wanted at the stage, and the ability to control the scenes, were very noticeable. In the second – order cybernetics, which is my other word, the boundaries of this time and space begin to rise and at the same time self – controllable autonomous systems are beginning to form. In fact, according to my opinion, the rise of the boundaries of time and space is also related to the observer influence. Because, the camera, that is the observer, who is the one who examines the whole system. And between the observer and the system, there can be any machine that I refer to as the system here, an interaction is the issue. At the same time, there may be an interaction between the observer and the observer. So in fact, this interaction can start to remove the concepts of time and space.

According to Ranulph Glanville, the first order cybernetics mostly related with the systems that have been complex by the development of the technology and it is the linear version of the second-order cybernetics in terms of the Albert Einstein’s perspective (Glanville, R., Second Order Cybernetics, p.2, para. 4, 2008). At the second order, cybernetics observers had been interested in autonomous systems by drawing attention to the concept. It does not matter whether the observer only has the function of recording decisions, that is, the processes in space and time, and whether the observer is a device or a human, and what is important is the disclosure of the quantum theory (Heisenberg, W., Physics and Philosophy, p. 137.). The role of the observer, is the distinctive feature of second order by comparing to the first order, in these systems may be influenced by the inspected system or machine, or the machine may be affected by the observer. In addition, the observer can be influenced by another observer. Many dimensions can emerge here. Also, the cone of vision that I mentioned in the 60-degree break is also true in cybernetic. In other words, I see cybernetics as breaking point or shifting point as a transition from a fixed idea to a new one as in cone of vision. An important transition in both. Since these transitions are made on an observer basis, winning two definitions of the two states is quite effective on the observer. In other words, the shift from cybernetics to cybernetics at the first level is a common leap, with the emphasis on the role of observer. In addition to these, while I can not find a clear source, I want to look at these two words as a different conclusion through time and space. For the Cone of vision, Vertov, who breaks the notion of time and space, out of his limits, actually made an entry by talking in the mouth of a camera. The camera continues to break the notion that the cone of vision is limited to 60 degrees, referring to the fact that it goes beyond time and space. In addition, some situations may arise because, in the second period, cybernetics concentrate attention on the role of the observer. According to Newton’s perspective, For example, since the systems are under observation and recording by the observer, the conditions may also depend on the observer. As the quantum physics says, there is no reason why the observer is human or machine. On the other hand, there is a difference between them. In second-order cybernetics, there is a circular relationship between the observer and the observed. But it is not exactly Einstein’s observer and observed relationship in the quantum physics view (Glanville, R., Second Order Cybernetics, p.2, para. 4, 2008).

What I’m trying to say is, in fact, what is fundamentally important in second-order cybernetics and cone of vision is the observer, and in fact, it is the role of this observer. Both can sometimes be considered differently in the observer, but they are related to the observer and observed. In relation to Cybernetics from the second level, this relationship is in the cycle. On the other hand, in the cone of vision, this relationship is often linear. Along with these, the observer is always affected by the observed. In fact, the observed can also be affected by the observer; especially in the second-order cybernetics. That is, the observer and the observer communicating with each other can be affected. Another point of connection between Cone of vision and Second order cybernetics is that they both break up some stereotypical definitions day by day. Both of them open up new dimensions by breaking these fixed stereotypes. At the same time, these new dimensions also indicate that they are ready to change at any time, taking the observer as their focus. Because when the observer concept enters the business, variables such as the viewing angle, time, and space come with it, and each observer can have different variables. As a result, the observer may be influenced and have a different vision.



The scope of the lecture name is ARCH322, we were expected to read the article that name is “Transparency by Colin Rowe” and prepare a panel for the case studies around the issues are transparency which are phenomenal and literal, minimalism, neutral box. We as a group presented these cases.

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Non-Plan Cedric Price

The scope of the lecture name is ARCH322, we were expected to read the article that name is “Non-Plan by Cedric Price” and prepare a panel for the case studies around the issue of Non-Plan. We as a group presented these cases.

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