Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Sunday, May 3, 2009
Community is a major consideration in architecture and design. Why? Because usually a firm builds or designs for a group of people, whether it’s for a family or an entire town. Depending on the community, there will be limitations that are set on how a design is created. These limitations often reference style, context, time period, etc. An example of the importance of community is seen in the time of critical regionalism. “One of the notable aspects of critical regionalist reactions to imported Euro-American Modernism was the reaffirmation of community, of creating environments for groups of people, living and working together in ancestral traditional ways” (Roth, 607). This idea of designing for a community coexists with the concept of creating a community within a design. “What makes housing complexes successful are two essential factors: a consistent design that results in a related family of forms and an appropriateness of scale and an organization of spaces that arise from the ethos of those who will live there” (Roth, 607). Communities are particularly influential in the 21st century due to the fact that populations are growing and there is more need for things such as communal housing and villages. This raises another complication: Mass Construction while respecting the rise of sustainability. Sustainability is becoming a huge idea within architecture due to stewardship towards the environment and a concern about decreasing global warming.
With sustainability, we have stewardship, or lack thereof. If Global warming wasn’t an issue, I’m not so sure that sustainable design would even exist. Global warming rose with lack of concern about our earth. We were ignorant of the harm we were causing, allowing the problems to increase in severity, and now there are threats that the world will come to an end. Right there, is the lack of stewardship. However, stewardship is rising in architecture and design firms, with new restrictions and alternate ideas. “The overriding issue is that of sustainability, which has grown in importance on a global level, and for the field of design generally. As awareness about issues such as scarce resources and global warming is raised, so government policy in the developed world calls for a more responsible use of precious materials and energy” (Massey, 219). This responsible use refers to the awareness of toxicity of materials as well as the lifecycle of these materials and how much energy is inputted into particular building technologies. This type of stewardship is the only way to go about design these days. For the most part, the more earth-friendly you are, the more chance you have of scoring a client, especially in commercial design. There are many ways designers go about sustainability. However, two specific ways involve renovation and deconstruction.
AUTHENTICITY: being genuine or real
I know that there is usually a summary at the end of these, but I am going to take the last paragraph of Roth and analyze it and relate it to all four words above.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Meditation: Contemplation; pondering; musing over
Celebration: Honoring something; observing a notable occasion
^This was a sketch of my primary idea for a meditation space. I wanted to use the sense of audio to engage my client. I wanted he or she to be able to enjoy the space, relaxing and listening to the water fall.
Meditation and Celebration are not entirely different. One can be a component of the other, but they can also have separate effects. United, meditation and celebration emphasize the importance of something, honoring or musing over that thing, or event, or person. Separate from one another, a meditation could be a quiet and private act, while a celebration could be more public, and noisy or loud. Architecture in itself portrays both qualities. Architecture, most often, meditates history, as it looks for things that are most important to revive or work off of. It then creates a new style that celebrates history, or the important aspects of it. One example of a meditation and celebration of design is that during Pop Culture. The type of architecture that arises during this time period meditates the influential aspects of the time period, and then celebrates that context through form. “The need ofr young people to dissociate themselves from the older generation and communicate fun and transience explains the diverse inspirations for Pop. The aim was not to replicate past styles but incorporate them into a new, young look” (Massey , 175). The focus for the second half of the semester in our studio class has been about meditation and/or celebration of light. It has caused me to meditate how the two could be unified as one, or how they could be used to directly contrast one another. We have explored these similarities and differences through multiple compositions. My final project consists of two spaces: one of meditation, and one of celebration. We were asked to combine these acts with the thought of public versus private space. My meditation space will be that of a private experience, while my public space will be more about the celebration of presence. Light and shadow are extremely important in order to convey these two experiences.
Light: something that makes vision possible; the sensation aroused by stimulation of the visual sense organs.
Shadow: partial darkness in a space from which light rays are cut off; shade cast upon a surface by something intercepting rays from a light.
^ These two photos show how light and shadow is emphasized in my two spaces during different times of day. The top photo is of my meditation space in the morning, and the bottom of my celebration space midday.
How Light and Shadow is incorporated into a design is extremely important. Why? Because light and shadow have everything in the world to do with how a space is experienced. I am going to relate light and shadow to day and night for a second. Celebration is not always about light. Sure, people celebrate things all day, such as a cup of coffee, or lunch, or a meeting, etc. But then people also celebrate during the nighttime when they go out dancing, or go out to eat. Meditation is the opposite. Meditation can happen when one is sitting outside, soaking up the sun. However, meditation can also happen inside, in a dark area, where light is minimal, allowing one to think about nothing but what’s going on at that exact time. So the point im trying to make is that light cannot strictly be associated with celebration, and shadow with meditation. This idea is inaccurate. So how do light and shadow affect an experience? Well light could energize a space through a reflection of color, forming a celebration, but it could also calm a space if it’s used in a room of all white, or all black, forming a meditation. Shadow could create a sense of meditation, due to a “winding down” effect that it has, but shadow could also create a celebration space for personal events. Light and shadow is constantly being considered in the development of spaces. For example, during the Modernism era, Alexander Girard paid close attention to how light would integrate his interior and exterior. “The Rieveschel house has […] The ‘Natural’ element is introduced with fur rugs on the floors, indoor plants, and the use of natural light wherever possible” (Massey, 150). Light and Shadow can be used in emphasizing a space of meditation or celebration through sequence (transposition or juxtaposition).
Transpose: to change the position or sequence of
Juxtapose: to place side by side
^ Above is an example of the way I decided to juxtapose my two spaces. By choosing to put the door where I did, I was able to transpose the sequence of circulation through the space.
Transposition and Juxtaposition of space (s) is crucial to design, particularly because one must meditate how a space will be laid out before it can be built that way. Depending on what kind of experiences on which a designer wants to focus, spaces will be transposed or juxtaposed accordingly. In studio, we are working on the transposition and juxtaposition of spaces in order to specify two qualities (celebration and meditation) while still obtaining unity between the two. Personally, I have found this to be a great challenge, because I am placing one space next to another, with an implied wall between the two, trying to make them different enough so that they emphasize different qualities, but still concentrating on one or two aspects that can tie the two together. For my design, this uniting aspect is seen in the auditory sense, as well as the color scheme and materials used. My grad student will walk up to the room, and see and hear water. The grad student then enters the room, seeing walnut wood, aluminum, brick and pale walls, and then circulates through the public space into the private, to return to water. By juxtaposing these two spaces, rather than keeping them as one space, I have specified what kind of experience I want to impose on my graduate student, and by transposing these two spaces, I have created a unique circulation path. Juxtaposition is a major aspect of the development of Postmodernism in history. Until the late 20th century, Architects were focused on styles that reflected specific types of design. Postmodernism, however, is extremely different. Postmodernism borrows from all different eras, from Ancient Egypt, to the Renaissance, to Industrialism and back again. What is so special about this era is its ability to take multiple styles throughout history and combine them to create a unified design. Nigel Coates displays this in the design of his flat in London. He shows a developed collection of objects and forms suggesting architectural structure. “His flat in London was an essay in architectural metaphor, juxtaposing different period-styles and an artful decay like a self-conscious and deliberate stage set” (Massey, 212).
Literal: adhering to fact or to the ordinary or usual meaning of something
Abstract: considered apart from a particular instance; expressing a quality apart from an object; having only intrinsic form with little or no pictorial representation
^Above is one of the throw up sheets I did to speculate about this project. I came up with several ideas, many of which were more literal than abstract. One of the crucial parts of abstraction is extreme process of thought.
While Meditation and celebration have been key concepts for only half a semester, we have been focusing on literal and abstract all year now, not only in studio but in our history class and our visual design classes. While all the rest of the words above can interrelate, abstract and literal are antonyms to the death of it. However, design can have qualities of both. Abstract and Literal fit together with the three goals of design: commodity, firmness and delight. Commodity, or how a building fits a function, can be literal in that it is built for a specific function, but also abstract in the way that it chooses to accommodate that function. Firmness is literal in that it is unavoidable; a building must be firm in order to function. Big whoop. However, as we approach reactions to modern design, we are finding that firmness is becoming abstract in the hi-tech and de-constructivist eras. Both eras take technology, and expose that technology through their design. The systems that make up a structure actually act as the decoration for a certain design. “The Hi-tech movement celebrated the aesthetic of industrial production […] Here all the apparatus for servicing the building is boldly displayed on the exterior of the cultural center. The Interior is less inventive […]” (Massey, 195). Though this quote refers to the Pompidou centre by Piano and Rogers, it can be applied to a majority of architecture during this movement. Delight is literal in that it is self-explanitory (doing things to the interior to delight people), but the way in which delight is achieved can be rather abstract in a broad range. In our studio class we have been asked to look away from the literal (or more generic) uses of light to convey celebration and meditation and focus more on our interpretation of how light should be used to create these two effects. I won’t lie. It is extremely difficult not to create a dark room and call it meditation. But not only is that too easy to do, but it’s also too literal. Good design is derived from abstraction of meaning and ideas. Good designers take a concept and abstract it to the fullest, while still keeping in mind commodity, firmness and delight.
Monologue: a long speech monopolizing conversation
Dialogue: a conversation between two or more parties
Like Literal and Abstract, these words, too, are antonyms. Ironically, however, I think they coincide quite well with celebration and meditation. Sometimes, when someone wants to meditate, he or she will go sit, alone, in order to think for themselves, without any distraction or interference. This person is involved in a monologue, conversing with herself in order to come up with some type of idea. On the other hand, a celebration may involve people coming together to honor something for which they share interest or commonalities, whether it’s only two people or a bunch of people gathering. This then creates a dialogue, whether it’s dialogue between two people or dialogue among many. Monologue and Dialogue are important to consider in effect, but they are also important to consider in context and history. Does the building that is being designed share a dialogue with its context? Does it relate to the time period? Do the spaces create dialogues among eachother to form a whole? Massey explores dialogue in her exploration of post-modernism, where different styles throughout history hold a dialogue with eachother to form unity in a design. “Stylistic heterogeneity continued to be the prevalent trend in the late twentieth century with an inexhaustible range of styles available to reflect individual identities” (Massey, 218). So dialogue between styles takes individual taste and combines it with historic elements in order to create what is seen as “good design”.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Compose: To form by putting together; to produce by composition
Monday, April 20, 2009
This is a photo of my composite drawing from Fallingwater. I decided to photograph it and put it up here in case the Advil PM that I took 10 minutes ago prevents me from waking up for class tomorrow. I have never experienced worse allergies in my life. So if I miss class, I swear, I finished my drawing the night before it was due... not the day of :/
Thursday, April 16, 2009
The reflections unit begins with an architecture parlent. This type of architecture has its own language. Right out of the French Enlightenment, architects such as Palladio and Ledoux take the rules from the Baroque and Roccoco eras, and revise them. The two languages resulting from this revision is a language by architecture through the ancient world and the Renaissance. These two time periods provide a great amount of precedents for building during the beginning of the 18th century. Connections to these time periods are evident in buildings such as the Place de Vosges and the French Pantheon. Reflections of the ancient world and Renaissance can also be seen overseas in America, which was, at the time, under English rule. Many American buildings, such as Drayton Hall and the Carters Grove Plantation, were inspired by English architecture, which often looked back to Rome. This desire to mimic English style ended with the rise of the American Revolution.
Revolution was a turning point in architecture. In the late 18th century, there were many revolutions going on, such as the American Revolution, the Industrial Revolution, the Information Revolution, etc. These revolutions called for a combination of reform and revival. After gaining independence, America decided to stick to a Grecian Revival. Why? They wanted to rebel against England and have an independent architecture to match their independent state of mind. Coexistent with the American Revolution was the Industrial Revolution. New technologies were being innovated, and old technologies were improving to become more advanced. Two major materials that were introduced during the Industrial Revolution are glass and iron. These two materials created multiple possibilities for architecture. Iron made possible the expansion of roofs over large spaces, as seen at the Gare du l’est in Paris and Joseph Paxton’s crystal palace in London. Glass also provided the ability to create structures that provided a space inside where the walls and ceiling seemed to disappear, as seen in the Royal Conservatory at Kew Gardens in London. As the popularity of these materials grew, so did the use of machinery and the desire to create new buildings.
The introduction of the machine into design was appealing to some, but others were set on the tradition and beauty of handcraft. The Arts and Crafts Movement raised the question, “should the machine be used in architecture?” William Morris was a strong believer of honest workmanship throughout the interior. He said “turn our artists into craftsmen and our craftsmen into artists” (Massey, 12), believing that “there should be an obvious artistic presence in an interior” (23). Warren Ashbee, however, supported the machine: “we do not reject the machine, we welcome it, but we desire to see it mastered”. This debate brought much contemplation of what methods were appropriate. The machine was used more in Art Deco, which initiated the beginning of the 19th century.
During the 19th century, there were many changes occurring. These changes involved material and scientific developments, social changes, technological improvements, and changes in the interior. The increase of the population in major cities of America called for more building spaces. Taking advantage of the availability of iron, glass and concrete, architects decided to change their goals entirely and begin to build higher. These new building technologies made possible to construction of bridges, towers and palaces. Louis Sullivan is an architect who is well-known for his skyscrapers in both Chicago and New York. These skyscrapers often provided space for business corporations and offices. However, skyscrapers were not the only advances in architecture. While Sullivan focused on skycrapers, Frank Lloyd Wright was designing residencies. Moving away from the idea of revival in the Arts and Crafts movement, Wright decided to rely on nature for inspiration. He also introduces a new importance to the concept of horizontal line. Through horizontal lines, Wright was able to invent a way of subdivision without using interior walls. This idea opened up horizons for many other architects, not only in residential design, but also in commercial.
All of these styles used reflection as a basis for their architecture. However, as architecture reached the middle of the 19th century, it was reaching toward a new era. Through the availability of materials, and the introduction of the machine, architects were coming up with new ideas for future designs. Societal changes also had a huge impact, as populations were growing and transportation was progressing. These changes lead to the explorations unit, where different possibilities will be explored in hope of reaching new heights in architecture.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Release: To free from confinement; to let go
Compression and Release are two opposite concepts. Compression might be represented by a space that is very compact, with minimal lighting and circulation space. Release, however, could be implied in a space that is very open, with much circulation and moderate to high lighting. This space of “release” might even be sub-divided without an interior wall. In other words, the space could function in more than one way. Compression and release have an incredible impact on the way a person experiences a space. If a space is compressed, a person might feel extremely uncomfortable and overwhelmed, while a space that is “released” could be a lot more calming, and probably more functional as well. In the Gamble House at Pasadena, California, the Greene brothers create a house of “seamlessness”. All levels are integrated through the use of horizontal and vertical lines. The Greene brothers focused on nature as an inspiration, using wood as their main material. This material gave them the ability to design a room within a room, creating a feeling of release within the space. This release is also achieved in this building through the fully composed series of parts to create a whole. While I’m speaking about material, I will go ahead and say that glass and iron also made it easier to enforce compression or release of light. Walter Gropius does this in his Fagus factory. Mirroring the function of the building by using iron and glass, he allows much light inside. “The building appears to be reduced to sheets of glass (with the window panes at the floor lines replaced by opaque metal panels), but here, significantly, the corners are not solid masses but the merging of transparent glass planes” (Roth, 522).