Delineated by that which soars above and swims below, the margin between earth and sky is an intensely spatial subject. From the fixed line relied upon in celestial navigation to the liminal zone of twilight, the horizon serves as one of the primary modes by which we, as humans, orient ourselves in the world. It is both factual and phenomenological. The horizon facilitates self-projection, which is why so often we associate it with the future. It constrains our perception of space and yet is vastness manifest.

What role does the horizon play in architectural discourse and building today? If one of the primary projects in architecture has long been the establishment of a ground or a new relationship to the ground, overlooked is the corollary that architecture controls the cusp where ground meets sky. By occupying the sky and the ground at once, a building demonstrates the mutability of this edge.

In certain belief systems there exists a point of connection between heaven and earth known as the axis mundi: in our current capitalist belief system, each new “supertall” building seeks to redefine this cosmic axis. The moment one steps out of the elevator onto the eighty-fifth floor, one’s relationship with the horizon is altered. Architecture has this capacity.

Such was the conceptual inquiry we set out on in editing this fold. In fact, what began as a pursuit of the sublime developed into a collection of articles that investigate much broader conceptualizations of horizon(s) in architecture than we had foreseen, forming a lively issue that we enthusiastically offer. We hereby present our topic twofold: to promote and to question its conceptual value, and to discuss what is, so to say, on the architectural horizon. This latter focus seems especially apt for an issue published on the occasion of our school’s Open House. With that in mind, be sure to check out the accompanying bulletin this week for students’ takes on the Yale School of Architecture.

And welcome to Rudolph Hall.