Liminal Space in Architecture: Threshold and Transition
Date of Award
Master of Architecture
Theodore Shelton, Barbara Klinkhammer
The limen is defined as the transitional threshold between two fixed states in cultural rites of passage or between two dissimilar spaces in architecture. The study of rites of passage provides an analogy from which principles can be drawn for the design of a transformative space. The characteristics that define liminal space include layering, dissolution, blurring, and ambiguity and have the ability to transform the occupant of that space as they move through it. The experience of liminal space poses a discontinuity and leads the occupant to question their surroundings, thus leading to heightened awareness of the space as a transformative threshold between distinct spaces.
The design of a ballpark, a building type associated with ritual, will be the vehicle for the exploration of the design of liminal space. Attention to the individual ritualistic acts of attending a ballgame can heighten the perception of the fan and their movement through a transitional space which transforms them from their everyday life. Additionally, a blurring of the space of the fan with the space of the player and a blurring of the space of the city and the space of the game will further heighten the ambiguity. Through an analysis of precedents that address both liminal space as transformative threshold and the liminality present in the ballpark, the design of the ballpark will create a transformative space for both the player and the fan which is based in history and advances the perception of the threshold as transformative.
Zimmerman, Patrick Troy, "Liminal Space in Architecture: Threshold and Transition. " Master's Thesis, University of Tennessee, 2008.