These two juxtapositions do not negate each other but exist simultaneously, Log home plans as complementary notions that are inseparable from one another. Yet even an analysis of space as intellectually and conceptually rich as Van der Laan’s takes us only so far in understanding how people perceive themselves in relation to space. The stripped-down nature of his argument, addressing the abstract blank wall as a barrier between inside and outside, treats the human being as an abstract entity with no physical connection to the exterior world. This points out the great defect in all theories of space. Even with those that claim space originates in the human mind – from inside to outside – there remains a disconnect between the space of internal philosophical cognition and the exterior space of sensory projection.17 In these philosophical models space is always abstract, never habitable, and much less does it take into account human engagement and activity.
Yet, space is more than the void and air defined by four walls: it is something we take possession of and make our own; it is intimate and personal. What, then, does it mean to occupy space? Imagine a space without the built world, consisting only of the distance between people. If the discourse on space in architecture fails to recognize that people exist, then this proposition is exactly the opposite: it is space considered only as an empty plane populated by other humans. This, too, is a fiction, but one that lets us address human interaction before placing human beings in defined environments.
Edward T. Hall, the founder of the anthropological study of human space called “proxemics,â proposed that it was divisible into four zones of distance:
Intimate space, which spans from direct physical contact to some 18 inches (45 centimeters) away
Personal space, a zone from 18 inches (45 centimeters) to 4 feet (1.2 meters)
Social distance, from 4 feet (1.2 meters) to 12 feet (3.6 meters)
Public space, from 12 feet (3.6 meters) to 25 feet (7.6 meters)18