A Second Carved Doorway

While designing the doorway for SOLO I found that I was personally most drawn to the compositions of the Old Norse and those, which are lumped, into the category of Hiberno-Saxon Art. Two years later when I started to develop the design for the Celtic Wheelhouse, it was clear that another carved doorway was going to be central to the design.

Original sketch for Wheelhouse Door

           In the previous post, I said that part of what I find so intriguing about the creative process is how people react to your work. I think this becomes particularly fascinating when the work in question is architecture because there is the reaction to the exterior, and the reaction to the interior. This creates a terrific opportunity to have the viewer also react to the transition from exterior to interior space. Taking advantage of this opportunity is something that builders have been doing for centuries.
           In the case of the doorway for the Wheelhouse, I wanted to capitalize on the transitional element because there was yet another part to the equation: optical illusion. Because of the way the human eye perceives volume, a cylinder of a certain size looks larger from the inside than it does on the outside.

Circle and Square

This is true with a structure the size of the Wheelhouse, and since the building is dug into the side of a hill, the exterior volume appears smaller still. The actual size of the building only becomes apparent from the inside, and comes as a surprise.
           What I wanted to do by creating an elaborately carved doorway was to place a visual distraction between that first assessment of the size of the building and the realization of the actual size of the building. A dramatic pause, if you will, between the deliberately misleading premise and the interior surprise. Other than stylistic influences, I wanted the carving to be deeper in relief than the carving than I had done on the doorjamb at SOLO, and I wanted some elements of the carving to overlap and extend into the actual opening of the door. My intention was to hold the eye longer in order to create that visual distraction.

The Doorway of the Wheelhouse

           All this might sound quite complex and elaborate; in fact, it is nothing more than simple stagecraft designed to add to the drama of an already dramatic space.


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