Tracing Liminality: A Multidisciplinary Spatial Construct
Veronica Ng, Jia Pey Lim

The theoretical idea of liminality emerged as a spatial condition of the contemporary built environment due to rapid urbanization and post-modernization of cities. In other disciplines, the notion of liminality is used mainly in theoretical and intellectual discourse. While in architecture, the term is being adopted through theoretical concepts such as thresholds, in-between and transitional spaces that offer similar meaning and condition thoughtfully designed into spaces. Synonymous to concepts of in-betweenness, transitions and thresholds, liminality is a spatial quality, which suggests a middle threshold location between two contrasting spaces, for example public and private spaces, here and there, and, in and out. While there are diverse conceptions of liminality, there is a lack of link between the theoretical study and the production of liminal architecture/space. This paper traces the theoretical idea of liminality and discusses how the multi-disciplinary term emerged and manifested in architecture. Drawing from multi-disciplinary literature on liminality, it suggests that liminality in architecture is a notion explored from the transdisciplinary standpoint – where links can be seen through relation to anthropology, philosophy, art, urban design and architecture. It argues that the factors of liminality in the production of architecture are shaped by spatial conditions, spatial division and spatial experience.

Full Text: PDF     DOI: 10.15640/jea.v6n1a8