Dimensions of Use From Determinism to a New Humanism

Main Article Content

David Fannon
Michelle Laboy
Peter Wiederspahn


Dimension—the measure of extent—is the technical means and manifestation of human use embedded in architecture. Beginning in the enlightenment historic, proportional relationships between humans and architectural dimension evolved into precise measurements, becoming by the modern era indicators of efficiency, performance, and standardization. Today, the architectural dimension has become deterministic; driven by stringent codes, standards, and benchmarks tied to building program. Divorced from their originating logics and consequences on human occupation, the dimensional standards and requirements abstract people into loads or clearances: separating buildings from human experience and use. Examining dimension’s entanglement with practice and technology to provide shelter for human use illuminates the ways architecture has been thought about and the ways it is used over time. By tracing the changing concepts, metrics, standards, and technologies of architectural measurement, this article reveals the sometimes overlooked or disconnected values and considerations of use in the theory of architectural technology. This research points towards critical approaches to design based on human use, reframing building performance towards an architectural dimension of inhabitation; one that avoids standardization and reasserts human users as the measure of building.

Article Details

How to Cite
Fannon, D., M. Laboy, and P. Wiederspahn. “Dimensions of Use”. ENQUIRY: The ARCC Journal, Vol. 15, no. 1, Nov. 2018, pp. 25-45, doi:10.17831/enq:arcc.v15i1.447.
Peer Reviewed Papers
Author Biographies

David Fannon, Northeastern University

Assistant Professor

School of Architecture (75%)

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (25%)

Michelle Laboy, Northeastern University

Assistant Professor, Architecture

Peter Wiederspahn, Northeastern University

Associate Professor, Architecture


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