DIAGONALISM

Standard rooms have tended to exist as strings of spaces connectedly hallways and corridors ( an architectural device introduced centuries ago to ensure that the aristocracy went undisturbed by  their servants) and sometimes with 'en suite spaces' tucked in between. In my work in the past, I tried to ensure that every final vista offered the promise of something beautiful or interesting to look at, both horizontally and vertically. Sometimes though, the angle of narrow passageways did not allow one to fully see what was on the walls. I realized that a different approach would mean that far more could be viewed and experienced along the way to that final vista.

In philosophical terms, we're always being advised to concentrate on the journey rather than the destination. With diagonalism however, both are granted equal importance. Put simple, the circulation route around the space is rotated on a 45 degree axis, ensuring a view not just of a hallway, say, but also the artwork on its walls. This shift makes for a far greater sense of flow within a home, with space to halt and look at things or chat with family members en route. A fireplace too, shifted diagonally, has a greater impact and becomes far more of a focal point within a space.

Diagonalism is equally effective if employed on a building's exterior, because it complements, and therefore enriches, both facades and profiles, with coulisses adding to the overal effect when viewed at the 45 degree angle. Replacing orthodox materials such as stone or brick with glass or lattice work creates additional impact; that way, the indoors and outdoors are truly merged into an integral space.

So at what point does a diagonal axis come to a halt within a floor plan? In most cases, it will finish naturally at a corner window. Of course, when there are several of therein a given room, multiple axes are created, giving a whole range of contrasting viewpoints. Moreover, the diagonal axis can travel vertically as a means of connecting rooms on different levels by carefully positioning of floor windows, skylights, covered patios and balustrades. Not only does this add interest and emphasize the interconnected nature of spaces in a building, it is also a great way of introducing more light into a room. For instance, light from an upper hall can flood down through a patio into a living room below. 

Meanwhile, clever tricks such as sliding doors at corners allow larger en-suite rooms to be sectioned off for more intimacy. Ensuring that the doors can be pushed open as far as possible into the surrounding walls allows the maximum possible use of space.