THE EXPERIENCE OF DETAIL
Andrea De Sanctis
In architectural design, the study of detail requires a constant conversation between
technical-constructional and cultural aspects. In any typology of design, details host
the concentration of the complexity and unicity of the work, and their design
provides the opportunity to control various scales. The most complex issue is the
consequential relationship between good detail – coherent and accurately realized –
and quality architecture, where space is the key player and detail is its supporting
If detail design – in its various forms – is conceived in these terms, it cannot be
intended as a mere deepening of scale for an idea whose sense has already been
defined in a previous creative step. The comprehension of the real potential of this
design tool would be hindered by the sole observation of technical aspects. It cannot
be addressed as a “matter of detail”, that is as an issue with a minor relevance.
Regardless of our will, details are everywhere in architecture: they rarely have leading
roles but fill the stage with a deep “aesthetic” influence. If spatial experience had no
details, the reality we are immersed in would almost completely disappear.