ArgumentNo. 13/2021

The + Space, Versatility as Creativity Inducing Spatial Ambiguity

  • / PhD. arch., “Ion Mincu” University of Architecture and Urbanism, Bucharest, RO


The context of the pandemic has forced us to rethink the way we live. Is a multifunctional space beneficial? How many functions can we fit in what floor area? What psychological consequences does a multi- vs a uni-functional space have over the way we live? To answer this question I will distinguish between unoccupied, un-assigned space, the +space, and the specific, ordered, and specifically-designed space.

I identify two necessary attributes for a space to be versatile: ambiguity and functionality. Ambiguity is a condition that facilitates the triggering of the creative process, being also the only one that has a direct correlation with creative potential in the specialty literature. We understand the functionality of a space in terms of fulfillment of basic physical and contextual conditions such as proportion, lighting, and position. As an example I will talk about the balcony, that forgotten border space that, when we realized we don’t have enough air, enough light, enough nature, enough visibility, became a whatever-space-we-needed: an office, a playground, a garden, a breakfast nook, an observation deck of the world outside the window. I will expand the meaning of the +space to macro level environments, such as public spaces, using two artistic installations I coordinated for Romanian Creative Week. I will use an interdisciplinary approach, combining architecture with behavioral psychology and creativity research. I conclude that, in parallel with assigned spaces, we must think a bit of extra space, a +space, that can offer an escape from the predetermined grid, a space in which we will not feel constrained to follow a set behavioral pattern.

Keywords: ambiguity, versatility, functional merging, +space, creativity

Published in Argument 13/