Interpreting Atmosphere: the Red Stairs


January 2017


I stand in a well, an opening in the solid linearity of the rest. I reach up.

My strong core of four pillars glows from within, while I am suspended in a constant

balancing act – holding platform after platform joint by steps (how many little steps?)

that climb from the deep and dense darkness at the bottom to the ephemeral

lightness on top.

But that is not my greatest talent. What makes me who I am, are the hordes of little

people that I draw from far and wide… I carry them on my shoulders, I join fingers

with them, they climb over my back, pulsing through my veins, rushing ever on. Here

a trickle, here a storm, here a lone figure climbs the steps.

Do they ever see how windows on both sides wash me in light? I think the red blinds

them… For them the red is just red but for me… Just look, here I have crimson,

here’s a spot of cadmium, and there’s a flow of burgundy in the shade. Take a

moment to stop and forget what you know about the red, and you’ll see a light blue

glaze on my outer edges, while the inside glows orange and gold.

I stand so still and poised, I balance the swirl of directions around me. I listen to your

chatter, I soak in your laughter. I hope that you will lift your eyes from the steps and

look up – with me.


Text by Signe Perkonen

Model by Signe Perkonen, Ramon Cordova Gonzalez, Janos Katona


On Nov 22nd, 2016, a one-day workshop ‘Interpreting Atmosphere’ was held at the Faculty of Architecture in Delft. The workshop allowed 20 students to get acquainted with the theme of atmosphere in architecture, an architectural aspect that often remains unaddressed in education. In contemporary architectural practice we can recognise a renewed interest in the intrinsic relation between atmospheric experience and architectural quality.

The workshop challenged students to interpret the atmosphere of multiple spaces within the faculty. The spaces were translated into texts describing the personal experience of every participant. Afterwards the texts were translated into a spatial object by the group, representing the common experience of the atmosphere.

Organised by EXPLORE-lab students:

Danique van Hulst
Marthe van Gils
Hinke Majoor
Dare van der Meer

Tutored by Klaske Havik