The Affective Power of Scale

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  • Title: The Affective Power of Scale
  • Author(s): Jan Smitheram, Simon Twose
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: Design Principles & Practices
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of Architectonic, Spatial, and Environmental Design
  • Keywords: Scale, Body, Affect, Master’s Students
  • Volume: 13
  • Issue: 1
  • Year: 2019
  • ISSN: 2325-1662 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2325-1670 (Online)
  • DOI:
  • Citation: Smitheram, Jan, and Simon Twose. 2019. "The Affective Power of Scale." The International Journal of Architectonic, Spatial, and Environmental Design 13 (1): 1-16. doi:10.18848/2325-1662/CGP/v13i01/1-16.
  • Extent: 16 pages


Many storylines describe how the body occupies and interacts with architecture. Often the historical stories speak to designing for a symbolic body, based on principles of math and geometry, or forgetting and omitting the body. And, even within contemporary research on how we relate to space and how space moves us, the findings suggest our bodies’ relationship to space is not always considered to be important when designing or in teaching practices. This article considers a design stream that focused on questions of the body by using scale as a prompt for students’ work. Two master’s level student projects are discussed as case studies in a progressively expanding scalar design method; but the stream’s work as a whole is discussed in relation to how the stream has been reflected on and modified to support students’ learning. This article suggests that scale provides creative possibilities when considered as something transferable and as something that has an intensity; scale can promote affective possibilities in architecture when small and large scales actively inflect one another in the design process.