The term poche has historically been linked to the suggestive solidity of a building’s plan. Etymologically, poche has roots in the French word pouche , meaning pocket. Poche refers to that which is often “blackened in” or made solid within an architectural drawing. It has thereby come to be associated with mass, thickness, and opacity. Poche can also be more precisely identified by a marked differentiation between the interior space exterior container. Poche has a mysterious, even secretive quality it masks, obscures, re-fits, and transforms space. It can be considered a dexterous mediator, a malleable tissue capable of forging connections between spaces of varying scales and spacial qualities.
Poche is particularly legible in buildings that are made of stone. Indeed, it may be the Solidity of stone that has rendered visible the potential of poche as an architectural conceit. Contemporary buildings are seldom, if ever, constructed of stone. Issues of production, economy, and efficiency have increasingly broken down such monolithic solidity, resulting in a re-framing of walls as compartmentalized systems of assembly. In spite of this historical turn, architecture remains haunted by the persistent memory of its own solidity, and by the nebulous spaces within the walls.
What are the possibilities of poche within the multi-layered context of contemporary construction. Might we recover, in new and exciting ways, the latent potential of architecture’s “spaces in-between”. How do we understand walls not as barriers or dividers but as shapers and containers of space. Can historical examples of poche’s agency enable our search for new methods of imagining, constructing, and inhabiting walls.