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The Line Speed Theory

©Osama Makkouk

Architecture is the materialization of values!

The Line Speed theory aims to take a step forward in decoding the metaphysical realms of Architecture as the material manifestation of the conscious and subconscious mind of an architect.

Lines& Nature: lines are the physical language that architects use to project their understanding of a building’s functional needs on one hand, and symbolically on the other hand it is used to project their metaphysical values into the design. On the metaphysical level, originally architects as observers of their natural environment unintentionally associate visual outlines of natural elements with the quality of experience it provided them. This automatically generates an association between different physical outlines with their respective metaphysical values in the subconscious mind of an architect. This is how lines became a language of value!

All natural elements have their sentimental associations in the minds of people, but the water being the backbone of life as well as its widely versatile scenarios makes it able to summarize it all. Dynamically water comes in different flow lines and speeds with each flow line providing a different user experience and thus leaving different sentimental values in the minds of its observers.

There are 3 main water flow scenarios in nature:

The Fast River: A fast river is characterized by high speed and force carving its way in a semi-straight line throughout its journey. On the other hand user experience along a fast river is usually characterized by excitement expressed by performing thrilling activities like river rafting which can be enjoyed for a limited amount of time as the river drains fast! It also provides a sense of danger due to the high force of the river which can inflict injury at any moment.

Thus in a fast river, an association is born between a straight line with a sense of high speed, danger, short-lived excitement, and a sense of a drained value!

The Medium-Speed River: A medium-speed river is characterized by moderate force and speed which flows gracefully in a curvy line throughout its journey. On the other hand user experience along a medium speed river is usually characterized by a sense of relaxation expressed by slow boat trips with enough desired time to enjoy and contemplate the whole natural scenery and the exciting interplay between its elements within the comfort of the average human pace. It also provides a preserved sense of security as no injury is expected from a medium-speed river. Thus in a medium-speed river, an association is born between curve lines with a sense of moderate speed and a sustained sense of value!

The Static Swamp: A static swamp is characterized by a lack of force and motion where the outline of the water body is a maze of complicated fragments of lines that lack an overall sense of direction. On the other hand user experience along a static swamp is usually characterized by semi-static activities like meditation with enough time as desired to contemplate the whole natural scenery, but with a short-lived enjoyment as boredom sets in due to the static scenery. Thus in a static swamp, an association is born between nondirectional outlines with a sense of motionlessness, boredom, and stagnation!

To conclude this section, we now have 3 major user experiences relating respectively different physical outlines to different senses of speed and sentimental values. We can also conclude that orienting the overall design to be correlated metaphysically with medium speed provides the optimum sense of value to the user experience.

Line Speed Theory in Architecture

Let us put the Line Speed theory into practice. To look into Line speed theory in Architecture we need to address first an influential element in Architecture which is art.

Art, Line Speed & Value:

Art materializes metaphysical values in 2 main ways:

Direct symbolism: direct symbolism starts in all cultures by locals spontaneously draw elements of their local natural environment to signify the sentimental values it induced into their lives. With the passing of time, those elements become a symbol for the local culture which adds a wider resemblance and sentimental impact as it becomes the symbol of a nationwide identity. An example of direct symbolism is using the shape of an exclusively locally grown flower in an oriental design. By default, most of direct symbolism works have average to slow speed lines as their elements mostly originate from nature.

Line Speed Art: Art can also strictly use line speed as a language of value by itself without starting from existing elements. It is manifested by an architect’s interplay of slow and fast lines as needed to create a complete architectural sentence. Average to slow speeds are used to create value and are manifested by curve lines or high-density intersections which create slow speeds by resembling rivers losing speed as they clash with one another!

An example is a parametric grid wrapping a building where the design slows down by condensing the grid around the entrance of the building to provide it with value and draw attention toward it.

Now let us see how the 3 mainline types and their associated metaphysical values are manifested in Architecture.

The Fast Architecture: The manifestation of fast Architecture can mostly be found in modern architecture with buildings formed of long straight spans of plain uncarved surfaces with the absence of ornamental interventions. An example of fast Architecture is a business center skyscraper shooting straight into the sky expressing the efficient propagation from point A to point B in the shortest way possible giving resemblance to efficiency as the key driver for the business corporations it accommodates. People interacting with such buildings will enjoy a short-lived thrill from the sheer speed of its outline, but on the other hand, it soon becomes a short-lived excitement as the building design speed drains its’ value. Also standing in front of such buildings provides an uncomfortable feeling of danger initiated subconsciously by the sheer force it presents the same way a fast river induces a threat of injury to its observers.

The Medium Speed Architecture: Manifestation of Medium Speed Architecture can mostly be found in historical Architecture with buildings gradually ascending from the ground up in a balanced and proportionate use of curves and straight lines keeping the overall speed of the design in moderation while propagating smoothly from one floor to another. Medium-speed architecture is also characterized by the average use of ornamental design creating points representing metaphysical values and at the same time helping to slow down the overall design. People interacting with such buildings experience a sustained sense of value the same way a medium speed river induces in its observers. It also provides a sense of comfort and relaxation as the medium speed of the building resonates with the average human pace. This explains why architecturally medium-speed historical cities are the favorite destinations for residency and getaways.

Static Architecture: The manifestation of Static Architecture can mostly be found in some extreme examples of historical Architecture. It is usually characterized by a building overcrowded with ornamental works or having over-fragmented non-directional outlines. It provides an example of a complicated maze to a point where eyes scanning the design cannot trace a major sense of movement in any direction. People interacting with such buildings will enjoy a feeling of being settled due to the motionlessness of the overall design, but on the other hand, it soon becomes a short-lived enjoyment due to the lifeless static scenery which induces a sense of boredom and stagnation.


Using the Line Speed theory we can now answer why most historical cities are the top holiday and residency destinations for people around the world. As shown earlier medium speed architecture which is mostly found in historical cities provides its observers with the optimum sense of value and satisfaction.

Most people travel on holidays seeking a break from the daily rush of the speedy life into a slower place where they can slow down, unwind and relax.

The fast and static architectures resemble the 2 extremes to people who like any extremes find a hard time sustaining favorability for an extended period of time.

There are many speculations on why modern architecture uses much faster design than its predecessors and how well of a choice it is, but architecturally having historical medium-speed cities remaining unchallenged as the top tourist destinations of all times says it all about people’s preference and how it is helping initiate a better architecture!




An award-winning contemporary Architect leads a global movement to help transform architecture from a fashion-driven practice into an originality that timelessly responds to users’ physical and metaphysical needs and aspirations. Makkouk’s movement strives further towards an architecture that reclaims the distinctive Local identities around the world to bond it to its people and to provide each place with its distinctive value. The role of technological advancement in his approach is to assist in achieving better performance rather than being the showcased target of the design. He also devised methodologies to help decode the synergy between people and Architecture and to transform nonmeasurable aspects of Architecture like aesthetics and the innovation process into a measurable science. Over the years Makkouk engaged in numerous International competitions which pushed the boundaries of preset conventional norms and standards towards a holistic approach centralized on achieving the optimum end-user experience.


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