What comes to mind when you think of transparency in architecture? Are low-opacity materials and glass surfaces the protagonist of transparent designs? This of course is not wrong, physical transparency is an idea simply made possible by making large sheets of glass a prominent feature of the building. Physical transparency is already at its core a defining feature of modern architecture. Here, transparency is a means of opening closed spaces to light and air.

However, the transparency that we will talk about includes not only visual transparency, but also spatial transparency, as noted in the studies of Rowe and Slutzky. “Transparency means a simultaneous perception of different spatial locations. Space not only recedes but fluctuates in a continuous activity” they said. This is deployed by what they also called “phenomenal transparency”, as indicating spatial depth through the layering of planes.

Transparency in architecture, which is synonymous with the words intertwined, overlapping and simultaneous, is handled on forms that provide absolute movement. In addition, materials in transparency, where light, time and speed are glorified, are not important. It is not limited to the materials used or the occurrence of actions. It coexists in a single composition designed to reveal the dynamic reality of the object through a simultaneity that encompasses all elements that can visually convey a sense of speed. This is how phenomenal transparency can be explained in the simplest way.

Rowe_Colin_Slutzky_Robert_Transparency.pdf (monoskop.org)

If you are interested in the subject of phenomenal transparency, we recommend you to read the article by Colin Rowe and Robert Slutzky, who have studies in this field. In the article, it will be useful to understand and examine the “concrete” examples of transparency with many case studies.

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