In The Principles of the Hellenic and Germanic Ways of Building, Karl Bӧtticher outlines his theory of spatial tectonics. The primary element of Bӧtticher’s theory is the roof, which is also the dominant component in the development of the space of the Parrish Art Museum. The two pitched roofs define two sets of galleries that run along the north and south sides of the building. The intersection of the roofs in the middle of the building, however, creates a low internal corridor that provides the primary circulation spine through the building. This A-B-A organization is driven by the roof construction and structural scheme and allows the museum to be highly functional with respect to visitor movement through the space.[1] The roof strategy also creates interesting scale relationships in the building. The central hall is low and perceptively pushes downward, urging guests out into the vaulted, almost monumental gallery spaces to either side.

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Image | © Chad Schwartz

[1] Matthew Allen, “Parrish Art Museum, Herzog & de Meuron,” Domus, no. 965 (2013): 51. For a more detailed analysis of this spatial strategy, please see Allen’s well-developed critique.