Stacking spatial information: Some reflections about layering and its origins

  • Gabriel Carrascal Aguire Carrascal Blas


Understood as a conceptual tool for the manage­ment of information, layers are ubiquitous in our days. In computer graphics, they are a standard, basic feature: image editors for still or motion pic­tures, computer­assisted drawing (CAD) pro­grams, and of course geospatial information sys­tems (GIS) – as well as most of their user­oriented applications –, all of them use layers in one way or another, often in so essential a manner that they constitute their very raison d’être. As a conse­quence, the catchy word layering that so much pervades current architectural practice seems to designate something that everyone knows, a procedure that is practically taken for granted and yet has given rise to comparatively little research. In relation to architectural design, this may be par­ticularly baffling, considering that layering has provided the backbone for singular projects that have become a methodological breakthrough and an inexhaustible source of inspiration for subse­quent practice – one needs only to think of Kool­haas’ influential proposal for Parc de la Villette, Eisenman’s recurrent lucubrations, or the recent Serpentine pavilion by Herzog de Meuron and Ai Weiwei.

How to Cite
CARRASCAL AGUIRE, Gabriel. Stacking spatial information: Some reflections about layering and its origins. OverHolland, [S.l.], p. 92-120, mar. 2017. ISSN 1574-3160. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 25 may 2020. doi: