Mesopotamian Palatial Architecture: A Study of Space and Authorship
Space, as an expression of the architectural volumes expressed in Mesopotamian palatial architecture, can seem an abstract, distant concept, visible but not understood, and lacking interaction. These volumes, however, carry a deeper meaning: they conditioned and were affected by the daily life of a civilization which is lost in a remote past. By analyzing these architectural spaces with a view towards understanding aspects of style and perception, one can go beyond mere ‘space’ as a volume to the familiarity of ‘place’—a deeper recognition and understanding of what a volume contains, beyond the merely spatial.The ‘space’ of an architectural volume is also an expression of one or more authors—not only the architect, but also the person commissioning the building as well as, over time, the audience or ‘users’ who adapt the building. Since, as archaeologists, the information at our disposal is limited to the material record of excavations, it is through the understanding of space (defined through style and perception) that we can attempt to outline these authors and their influence on the structure uncovered. To what extent can aspects of style and perception be explored in the context of 3rd millennium palatial architecture? How can stylistic traits aid us in understanding how the ancients interacted with their built environment? How can architecture help us see the imprint of the various authors who contributed to its construction?