According to Colin Rowe and Robert Slutsky, the Ecole de Paris was responsible
for the development in painting of "abstract shallow space" in which they as
painters attempted to render the presence of recessed planes located behind
and parallel to the picture face. Through this strategy a "phenomenal transparency"
or "simultaneous perception " of different spatial locations occurs for the
viewer. The traditional singularity of Rennaissance vision is replaced by a
fluctuating, contradictory reading of space, with the "inference" of deep space
constantly punctuated by the "fact" of shallow space, thus developing an unresolved
experiential tension in the viewer. This "interpenetration without optical destruction,"
as Kepes calls it, was first used extensively in architecture by Le Corbusier
in his L'Esprit Nouveau pavilion and later to a more refined level at Garches.
For Rowe, the most clear example of this phenomenon in architecture comes from
a comparision between Leger's Three Faces of 1928 and Le Corbusier's Villa at
Garche, both of which juxtapose two-third of the picture plane or facade with
shallow space, and the other third constituting a "coulisse" disclosing a location
that both advances and recedes. Frampton finds this "stratification of space"
also employed in the Maison de Verre: "It is to be remarked that an almost
exactly parallel phenomenon occurs in Maison de Verre, where horizontal planes
are deliberately placed over each other, partly to emphasize areas and partly
to make a synthetic expression in the cubist sense." 
It is interesting to see a somewhat different "spatial reading" of Leger's later
work coming in the mid-thirties from contemporaries, most notably his close
friends Christian Zervos and Paul Nelson.
In 1934, Zervos wrote an article on Leger entitled, "Fernand Leger and Le Poesie
de l' Objet." His primary point was that whereas Matisse and the cubists had
maintained the rather "classical concentration upon the object," Leger in his
later work was now cultivating the object's "spatial dispersion." He then goes
on to describe the four step process of Leger's new work:
1. The transformation of the appearance of the object
2. The reconstitution of the object.
3. Accentuation de la forme reele de'l 'objet. Abandon du principle cubiste
de concentration, remplace par le principle de la dispersion des objets. Les
objets sont dans l'espace. . .
4. An abandonment of the relationship of objects in space for their interpretation
(le truchement des valeurs chromatiques).
(Zervos, "Fernand Leger and Le Poesie de l' Objet."1934)
The third step, the reconfiguration of cubist montage back into perspectival
space, reestablishing spatial relationships between objects, is perhaps the
most pertinent here, for a similar reading will be found in Nelson's own reading
of Leger later in the decade. In 1937, Nelson, a close friend of Leger for over
ten years, published an article on the the spatial qualities of Leger's paintings
in Cahier d'Art. Entitled "Peinture Spatiale et Architecture, " the essay is
interesting in that proposes a fluctuating experience of space far less binary
and stratified, and which results from the three-dimensional "spatial resonance"
of certain elements in the work: There is a new quality to Leger's last paintings
that could be called "spatial." It is according to me the essential factor of
his development. Not only do his paintings leave the frame to become murals,
but they command space. . . Waves and beams emanate (from the painting's objects),
equally spatial and in perfect agreement with an actual volume, so that one
can close his eyes, not see them anymore and feel nevertheless pierced through
Each element develops its own "signature in space," a volume that it projects
three-dimensionally from itself. In the late twenties, Nelson had apparently
used similar metaphors for Giacometti's "caged structures," noting the "spatial
echo" that occurred from each of the clashing forms.
This influence of art on the space-making of the Nelson/Nitzchke partnership
is significant in that one sees the same language of "object densities" "and
"spatial release" being employed by Nelson to describe his own later work, particularly
the Maison Suspendu in an article entitled "New Use of Space determines Design
of Proposed House." There he describes how "high concentrations of useful space
-- through the use, for instance, of the Dymaxion bathroom -- serve to release
space for leisure activity." 
It is interesting to note that in virtually all of their projects of the 1930s,
Nelson and Nitzchke employ the "cut-away axonometric" as one of the primary
ways of representing architectural space. Particularly in the Ismailia Surgery
Pavilion and Nitzchke's later Maison de Publicite, there is an unusually systematic
progression to the cut-away, passing through the building section by section,
floor by floor, offering a level of information and spatial experience not usually
found in one architectural drawing. In many respects, the cut-away axo is the
only drawing method that can adaquately represent the designs of Nelson and
Nitzchke. While the parallel projection itself conveys the structural nature
and essential "buildability" of the work, the cut-away makes explicit the varying
spatial and programmatic densities that their transformable plan and free section"
strategies would generate.
"The Problem of the House" and "New Uses for Space":
Helion and the Maison Suspendu