The Hallway by Annabelle, Caroline and Hanibal


Holden is one of the strangest characters that I have come across in a book. In the book The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, Holden is an unreliable narrator and he changes his mind frequently. A topic that came across very strongly while reading this book is that Holden loves children and hates the idea of being an adult. My inspiration for my structure was Holden’s character, even though I had no idea of what the structure would look like I knew it would be based on Holden’s character and it would be about adulthood and childhood together somehow.

Once my group came together, we began brainstorming the elements that we needed in our model. At first we combined all of our ideas, creating a structure with two rooms: a childhood room, an adulthood room, and a winding hallway connecting the two rooms. Thinking back on it now, it would have been very difficult to build. We then began taking away elements that we did not need, such as the two different rooms; we thought it was too literal. After that we were left with just one hallway but we still wanted to add in the elements of childhood and adulthood. So we decided to make one wall a representation of childhood and the other wall a representation of adulthood. The childhood wall would have “child” elements, or what you thought about when you think about childhood (ex. fun, no worries). We decided to make the “childhood” wall a winding “S” curved wall and we made the adulthood wall a very clean cut “Z” shaped wall.

The heights of the walls are also important; during the book there are some points where Holden definitely acts more childish than at other points. Such as when he leaves Pencey Prep, Holden feels the need to scream to say good bye while everyone was sleeping. The walls curve, the heights are different and they interact with each other showing where adulthood and childhood stand in Holden’s life during certain points in the book. The beginning of the hall starts off with a standard size door but it looks very small compared to the wall that the door is cut out from which makes the person
walking through feel very small and not very welcome. The hallway’s walls first start out the width of the big wall that the person enters from and the two walls move slowly apart.

At the beginning of the hallway the childhood wall is a lot taller than the adulthood wall. This is a connection to The Catcher in the Rye because in the book Holden starts off very childish and doesn’t care about anything at all such as when he goes to meet Old Spencer. When Holden is forced to listen to his own horrible essay he says, “I had to sit there and listen to that crap” (Salinger 11). Holden knows that Old Spencer is telling him to grow up but if Holden didn’t want to listen to that “crap” anymore he should have worked on growing up a long time ago, this is a very childish thing to do. This is why the walls in the structure move far apart in the beginning because during the beginning of the book Holden is nowhere near being an adult, childhood is more dominant. As the person walks farther into the structure the wall’s heights change and they come closer showing that during the middle of the book Holden is overcome by adulthood. When Holden meets the nuns he sees how great some adults can be and even thinks at that moment that being an adult isn’t bad. He even gives them money but the he realizes childhood is better that adulthood so he “escapes” adulthood and in our structure the walls separate once again.

At the end of The Catcher in the Rye Holden realizes that he can’t hold on to childhood forever and he shows this when he is watching Phoebe ride the carousel. Holden says, “if they want to grab the gold ring you have to let them do it” (Salinger 221). This means adulthood comes in to your life whether you like it or not. You can try as hard as you want to try and stop it but it can’t be stopped. Adulthood will always come no matter what, so if children want to grow up quickly you have to let them do it. It is their choice. At the end of the hallway the two walls end at about the same distance apart as they had started at; now with adulthood being the taller wall and childhood being very low, but not to the ground showing that Holden still isn’t totally disconnected from seeking childhood yet. This is also why the room at the end of the structure is clear because it is a calm place showing that Holden is not so anxious about staying a child anymore and that even though he’s not ready to let childhood go, he accepts adulthood and doesn’t fight it. Holden, by the end of the story, begins to change his opinions and that was very important to include in our model.

Flow and interconnection in this structure are very important. At some points when a person is walking through the building they will want to get through some parts faster because the walls are closing in and the space is becoming tighter. The person walking through should feel somewhat claustrophobic when the walls seem to be getting closer. The two walls interconnect and tell a story: the story of Holden Caulfield and his troubles.

This project was very worthwhile not only did we get a break from writing endless essays that are very structured and aren’t very personal, we got to think about the book in the way that we wanted to. I would say we had to think even harder about the book than we would have thought about it in  writing an essay. We actually had to make something we read into something 3D and not have it be literal. We had to think about the book in many ways, we thought about characterization and themes and many other things in order to make these buildings a reality. We could actually put meaning in it rather than aimlessly writing an essay we don’t care about very much.

1 comment:

  1. I randomly came across this page when looking for inspiration of spaces or buildings that were inspired by literature. Crazy enough that my studio class for interior design has the exact same project! These are fantastic, I see bright architects in the future!