THE SECOND FLOOR LANDING OF THE SOCIAL STAIR IN MARTELL HALL
The 'Talking Order' aspect of the 'Working Order' concerns the meaning of the coloured bands and stripes on the surface of the big columns. The green embodies the overall nature of the column as a manifestation of the 'Forest of Eternity' as described in "Empire of the Forest". The black, red and yellow bands all embody the idea of Trabeated Architecture as 'empowering' the creation of 'cubic space'. The 'Architectural Column' is a 'tree' from the 'buried' Hypostylar forest, of the time before time began, that has been turned into a Column by the 'Act of Creation' in the form of the 'bolt of energy' that united 'that which came from afar' to 'that which was always there'. This 'bolt of energy is revealed in its 'brightest form in the square yellow 'windows'. These often occur in the vertical red stripe which embodies the axis of the 'bolt of energy'. They intersect the red stripe at the point where it crosses bands of black ash. These layers 'sediment' at the various floors, embodying the fact that each floor is a 'black-earth' (black as in wet and deep), 'base' to things.
The 'Talking Order' also appears in the balusters of the balustrade, a place, which only an historically literate Architect would know, that used to be occupied by a miniaturised column. Or this was the case during the Romaneque, Gothic and early Renaissance. The bulbous 'Classical' balustrade was to all intents and purposes invented by the Italian Renaissance. As for the all-glass railings of today, not only are they formally subliterate, they are dysfunctional in offering no conceptual barrier to falling off the edges of floors. But as they are made of glass, all of their inadequacies are forgiven them by that puny spirit of late 20C Modernity whose only desire is to dissimulate the reality it seeks to secretly control.
We reverse the Mimalist diseconomy by obtaining a maximum of literacy from a minimum of material technology. In Duncan Hall we merely paint the cheapest site-welded steel pipe balusters. Their sand-yellow colour shafts the idea of the 'columna lucis'. To learn more of the iconology of these balustrades check 'Duncanology Four.'
Duncan Hall, Rice University, Houston