Architecture Whisperer, No. 3

Behold, the building speaks! It says, “We are great and powerful. You are small and meek. Any questions?

italianbank_2259212b

At the end of piazza Salimbeni in Sienna Italy, the bank Monte dei Paschi stands like a fortress.  In 1472, this palazzo was converted into a bank; it is the oldest bank in the world.  The institution relies on its reputation for stability and security, which are embodied by the building. The façade wall’s upper crenellated edge was designed for defense. The single doorway within a Gothic arch, placed off-center at street level, is intimidatingly enormous and exposed.

bank door

Upon closer observation, the large-scaled pair of bronze-bedecked doors contain a single human-scaled door.  The imposing building has made a concession to its users, allowing them passage, but at the same time reminding them that The Bank is formidable, and controls everything that comes and goes from its premises.

Architects manipulate scale to influence perception.

Edith Ann

In relation to large things, we feel small and powerless.

img_half_scale_cars In relation to small things, we feel big and powerful.

 Comfort-Chairs-Created-by-Cate-and-Nelson-Photos8In relation to human-scale things, we feel just right.

1st image courtesy of The Telegraph, 2nd image courtesy of Gimbo, 3rd Image courtesy of the Lily Tomlin & Jane Wagner Website, 4th image courtesy of Harrington Group, 5th image courtesy of Cate&Nelson.

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I invite your comments.

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