The Nature of Barriers
Everyday Life – constantly experiencing barriers that we don’t even
• Age – age appropriateness
o Legal drinking age
• Disruption in the path of travel
o Elevators provided in subway stations, so barrier removed.
Not only do barriers disrupt path, they also take longer to
use: ie. Elevator lift
• Channels of Movement
o In airports, distances to travel in the building are extremely
• Restrictions on action and self-expression
o Cubicles and office furniture: restricted in where you move,
how you can personalize your space, removal of self-
o Privacy removed
• Shortage of Space
o Super short off-ramps on roads
• Cultural Markers
o Yellow CAUTION line – we know not to cross it.
• Indirect Paths of Travel
o Accommodate for people, but force them to take a route
that takes longer. Stigmatized, marginalized, and
inconvenienced by it.
o How do we deal with buildings that are landmarks and cant
change the façade but still provide accommodation for
people with disabilities.
Intellectual Life -
• The Arts
o “Tilted Arch” art piece
people in the office buildings disliked it because it
created a barrier between themselves and the plaza,
where they liked to go on lunch breaks, etc. They now
had to go around it.
It allowed for people to be behind the wall, hiding and
ready to mug you.
Removed because of the public’s outrage.
• Social Order
• Barriers based on ability
• Physical Barriers o Panopticon: the prisoners believe themselves because they
never know when the guards are looking at them.
Impossible to see everyone at the same time, just not sure
when guards are actually looking. Begin to self-regulate.
o Mind control, social order, and barriers. Space can control
o Secret of architecture is manipulation
• Social Order
o Creation of certain physical forms and what it represents.
o Home in Florence: expressive of who is important and who
isn’t, and what your relative social status is.
Building controlled around a central court yard,
Top level: private apartments for important people
Middle level: for family, etc
Bottom level: for service people, most public space
o Today’s modern houses:
Family room/kitchen and master bedrooms are
In the past, bedrooms were smaller, dining rooms
Shows a shift as to what is important to us.
What does space tell us about people? How does it fit
into our social order?
o Big Bang Theory
Sheldon an example of territoriality – how we claim
space and how we allow com