Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Rotation: (rotate)- to turn or cause to turn about an axis or a center; to alternate in a series
Rotation and cycle coexist. The design cycle is not one large cycle, but a series of smaller ones. Different styles rotate in transition from one style, to the next, and then back to the beginning style. This rotation mocks the rotation in a design process. The designer starts with a main concept, and then out of that, gets multiple possibilities for a product, and then chooses one possibility that is the best representation of the beginning concept. A new element was added into this rotation during the Aesthetic movement: japonisme. This new style in design would permanently modify interior design in both England and America. “The naturalistic forms of Morris’s surface patterns and japonisme were among the inspirations of the first great design style of the twentieth century, Art Nouveau” (Massey, 29). Art Nouveau was the beginning of a new development in architecture. On a more literal level, rotation affects the way people see a design. Depending on which way a person is looking at something, or which way that thing is rotated, there is a different perspective. This literal concept also connects back to the “whole” concept of rotation.

Align Right
Movement: the act or process of moving; a series of organized activities working towards an objective

Movement is a major element of composition. Movement makes a design dynamic. Even in a 2-dimensional plane, if a decoration creates movement, a new dimension is added. Movement is constantly being emphasized in both our design and drawing classes. In studio, our most recent project was about the celebration of light. I believe that this celebration is most successful through movement or direction. In my artifact, I created direction for light, so that the movement through negative space was clear. Movement can also be made in a 2-d drawing through the use of light and shadow, contrasting the two. Movement is also seen in many designs throughout history. Directing the eye is important in architecture, because it is usually used to put emphasis on the most important parts of a building. For example, in Bernini’s Baldacchino, the eye is drawn upward and downward with the spiral. This movement is also symbolic in that the eye moves from the earths to the heavens in a sacred place. Movement can also be created through choice of shape.

Reflection: (reflect)- to bend or cast back (as light, heat or sound); to give back a likeness or image of as a mirror does; to bring as a result
Reflection allows for improvement in design. When a designer is going through the process to come up with a product, he or she must constantly be reflecting on the previous ideas in order for further development. The designer must have the ability to recognize what mistakes have been made, what paths to avoid, what materials would work best, etc. He or she must be asking questions such as “How can I make this better? What other ways might have more effective 
results? What if I did this?”…And so on and so forth. This all has to do with reflection, or reference to what has previously been successful or unsuccessful. I stumbled upon reflection many times during the creation of my 3rd skin. I made multiple models before I reached one that worked. Each iteration was based on successes, or lack thereof, of the previous model. Reflection has made itself obvious through history of design. The designers are constantly looking back in time and recalling which designs were successful and which weren’t. For example, in the Crystal Palace of New York, designers decided to use a dome roof. However, recalling that there were some issues building the dome on the Pantheon out of concrete, the dome of the Crystal Palace was constructed from glass and iron, much sturdier products. In the nineteenth century, people reflected on the works of Morris and his followers for influence. “American interior design was profoundly influenced by the reforming ethics and naturalistic style of Morris and his followers […] “ (Massey, 19). Reflection is important in order to reach success- not only in design, but also in most careers. It is important for people to reflect on their education, as well as life experiences, and apply those to their work.

Source: origin, beginning; a supplier of information

Sources are crucial to the development of design. A source could be something as literal as a precedent, a book, or a magazine, but it could also be something that involves more thought, like an item from nature, or a specific material, or a particular color. Sources provide inspiration as a first step in the design process. For our 3rd skin project in environmental design, we were asked to write a story about a celebration that was important to us, and then we were asked to find a natural artifact that was inspiring. We were to take these two sources and create an artifact that celebrated a light source. This process of taking something as small as a twig and creating an elaborate design from it has been routine since the beginning of the history of design. We see it as early as the Renaissance, where artists, sculptors and architects are taking previous pieces as precedents, and developing on them to create new ideas. This idea continues up to the nineteenth century. In the first chapter, Massey emphasizes the importance of writings on interior design. “ John Ruskin, who influenced taste in interior design through his writings on art in The Times newspaper and his books, such as The Seven Lamps of Architecture and The Stones of Venice” (Massey, 10). Ruskin was just one of many who wrote pieces to influence architecture. “Baillie Scott’s influential article for The Studio of January 1985 entitled ‘An Ideal Suburban House’ included plans for an adventurous layout” (Massey, 17). Still today, many buildings that are designed resemble others, and this is most likely because one acts as a source of inspiration for the other.

Illuminate: to supply or brighten with light, light up; to make clear; to decorate with designs or pictures in gold or colors
Illumination can be looked at in two different ways. The first definition is “to brighten with light”. This pertains to our studio and drawing projects. First, in studio, our artifact should be illuminated by or further illuminate light. In drawing, we are also asked to look at light and use it to illuminate light and emphasize shadow to enforce depth in perspectives. However, this meaning of illuminate is actually extremely literal. To make clear is a deeper definition. Illumination is crucial in design because in order for a designer to be understood, he or she must be able to illuminate, or make clear, the important aspects of a design. This is particularly important when speaking to a client who, most of the time, does not have any design experience. Illumination of key points will help the client understand where the designers idea is coming from, and how the designer plans to incorporate different elements of design (i.e. Gestalt Principles) within a space. This illumination has been a major part of history, as it is a part of the architecture parlent found in the transition from style to style. Each style refers back to the previous; illuminating what has been taken from that style to make a new. This illumination has been spoken about through each time period (Egypt, Greece, Rome, Renaissance, Baroque, etc.) This illumination of a previous era is clear in the nineteenth century goal to revive gothic architecture into daily secular buildings. “For Pugin, Gothic was an expression of a just and Christian society in contrast to nineteenth-century industrial society with its social ills” (Massey, 9). To this day, we are building churches with precedents and ideas in mind, and most of the time, our results will illuminate the important aspects of those previous designs.

The projects that we did this week, both in studio and drawing/drafting, all involve these five words. The 3rd skin project in studio took a source of light, and used that light to illuminate an artifact. This artifact would either reflect, or allow for the translation of light, in a space. During the critique, Stoel would often pick up the artifacts, bring them to the wall under the light track, and rotate them to explore the different shadows it would cast. Depending on the angle that a person looked at this artifact, the movement of light would be different. For example, if the artifact were below the light, the light would move from above through the artifact, but if the artifact were adjacent to the light, it would move from side to side. This project was a process that also involved the words above, in the ways that I explained. The drawing/drafting project was another process that used all five words. We were to create a space with furniture that illuminated our own styles. We were to pay attention to light source, which would influence how we rendered our perspectives. Depending on where there were reflections and illuminations, we were asked to use light and shadow. This light and shadow created movement within the interaction of pieces in the space. The perspectives were detailed enough so that one could rotate it in their head and know where each piece of furniture was in multiple views. This, too, was a process of design, which generally involves all five of the above. As I have stated multiple times, all five of these words apply both specifically and generally to history. This is due to the constant cycle of past, present, future and the development of new ideas.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Unit Summary: Alternatives

Our previous knowledge of foundations has helped us make connections with a new unit: alternatives. The alternatives unit is about knowing the architecture beyond the basics. How did the foundations of architecture affect what came next? The foundations set precedents for the next time peiriod. The alternatives unit correlates to the word “revision”, as the Medieval (gothic), Renaissance, Baroque and Rococco eras all took architecture from the foundations (Egypt, Greece & Rome) and reshaped it to create a new.

The Gothic era began with the rise of Christianity. As this religion’s importance expanded horizontally, the churches grew vertically. Gothic cathedrals aimed to bring heaven to earth. Cathedrals are a place of worship away from the outsie world. For example, at Amiens, the door is where the transformation begins. Yje emtrance is designed with scultptures of human figures from the bible. As one moves inside the cathedral, intricacy of etail becomes greater. It is designed in a cruciform shape, the intersection being where the significant moment between heaven and earth happens. The columns are extremely decorative and the use of windows in the nave lights up the church, making it a heavenly place. This idea of heaven “ambushes reality” (The Amiens Trilogy: Part 2) and provides the “ideal” place for escape.

After the Gothic came the Renaissance. The renaissance was a period of rebirth, during which architects took aspects from the ancient world to create a new style of architecture. For example, Brunelleschi built the dome of Santa Maria del Fiore through inspiration by the pantheon. However, he built it differently, through the use of a cloister vault, with 2 octagonal domes inside one another and chained tension holding them up. This was the newest effort beyond the Ancient World. Also during this time period, Gestalt principles evolved, such as balance, symmetry and rhythm. These aspects were extremely important, as they conformed to the goals of the Renaissance: to be formally organized, but still visually pleasing. There was an unwritten book of rules that overpowered the Renaissance. People never broke these rules. Also important in the Renaissance was an increased focus on private spaces. Along with churches, palazzos and villas were being built. Palazzos became the most important form of architecture next to churches, because they were built for families. The villas were introduced when wealthy families sought a place of escape from city life. With the land in the countryside, complementary gardens were built with the villas. The Renaissance was all about taking the best of the Ancient World and making it new again.

Last is the Baroque/Roccoco era. These 2 styles go together because they occurred simultaneously in different regions. However, both styles are quite similar. The noticeable difference is that Roccoco detail is a bit more calm, with paler colors and lots of whites. The Baroque era introduced fluidity, or rather movement, in architecture. This movement was a way of pushing the boundaries of the Renaissance and breaking the rules. This trend was started by Michaelangelo, and continued to be a focus until the French Enlightenment. All of a sudden, the movement was created by excessive decoration and theatricality in design. Everything was overexaggerated. The Baroque era was a shifted mindset that brought new ideas to the table. The use of water became crucial in designs such as the Trevi Fountain and San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane (The Chapel of Four Fountains). Water also becomes a major part of design through landscape, whether in fountain or pond form. In a garden, a water “fixture” can usually be found where axes cross.

All of these ideas give way to the technologies unit, beginning with the French Enlightenment. During the beginning of Neoclassicism, the rules are revised and recreated once again. Design moves inside the box in preparation for even more rule-breaking as new technologies arise.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Grammar: Syntax


revise: to look over something written in order to correct or improve; to make a new version of
vision: a vivid picture created by the imagination

^ [Re]vision: Borrowing from a natural artifact to create abstract patterns
Believe it or not, architecture is ABOUT revision. From the Ancient World up to the 20th century, bits and pieces of architecture were constantly being revised. For example, the Egyptians revised the artificial mountain in Mesopotamia to become the pyramid. The Romans revised the Greek Orders to create what are called pilasters. In fact, the word “Renaissance” means rebirth. The people of the Renaissance took parts of Ancient Architecture and revised it to the revival of gothic and classical architecture. The conformity to these rules during the Renaissance led to the transition into the Baroque Era. Baroque architecture took the Renaissance rules and pushed these boundaries, revising the rules yet again. The excessively decorative Baroque style eventually calmed down to accommodate the theme of the Rococco era, which consisted of more pale colors, and less ornament. These three architectures (Classical, Baroque, Roccoco) were then combined with antiquity to form the Neoclassical architecture. “Generally, plans were less complicated […] reflecting the influence of the Roman baths of antiquity” (Blakemore 286). Neoclassical architecture is the beginning of the Reflections unit because it writes an entirely new book of rules for reflecting both Ancient and Renaissance tactics in its architecture. Without a doubt, revising to reach the highest potential possible, while still maintaining a language with the borrowed culture, is a main goal in architecture. We are learning about revision and more revision as we build multiple iterations and draw and revise drawings. Revision is what has brought us the variety of architecture we see today, and styles will continue to be revised throughout the future. Maybe some day we’ll revise architecture to build skyscrapers to the moon?

audience: an opportunity of being heard; an assembly of listeners or spectators
^The designer thinks about his audience as he works to create a concept
Audience is an incredibly important aspect to consider in design. Who are you designing for? The client(s) influences many decisions you make, such as what type of diagram to show and what type of style to choose. It is important that a designer gets to know their audience. This way, he or she will be able to design accordingly. The designer will know what colors to use, what style of furniture to use, what their space will be used for, etc. Society has always played a huge role in design, because architects take into consideration what time period they are designing for. This is what makes each era so different from the next. For example, during the Gothic period, excess attention was paid to churches due to the increasing importance of Christianity. During the Georgian Baroque, and into the neoclassical era, power and hierarchy was a main societal focus, which led to the building of palaces, complemented by luxurious gardens. The Neoclassical era aimed for classicism and antiquity at one time. “To begin with, on the one hand, the classical traditionalists looked longingly to the arts of the Grand Siecle as their source of inspiration, and, on the other hand, the antiquarians sought to rely on the firsthand knowledge of the ancients through the study of archaeological remains” (Blakemore,283). Nowadays, architects are beginning to build based on a growing need for sustainability. Because of Global Warming, it is important that architects are doing whatever possible to build “green”. Also important to consider is the concept of function. How will this building be used? Not only is it crucial to consider the present use, but also the future use. This idea of looking to the future is called universal design. If a building is universal, it can accommodate many different functions and people.

character: a symbol of representation; a distinguishing feature;
^The unique design of this chandelier to resemble an artichoke gives it its character
The character of a design develops from the three necessities: commodity, firmness and delight. Most of the time, a design is made to fit all three of these aspects. This means that a design will accommodate a time period or audience, be structurally stable to withstand disaster, and be aesthetically pleasing. Different features are usually dependent on time period. For example, the use of the oval in spatial planning marks the beginning of the Baroque era. “One of the primary characteristics of the Baroque period was a sense of movement, and one way to achieve this was to use oval spaces rather than round” (Blakemore, 156). The repetition of facades to create a palace from townhouses is characteristic of the French enlightenment. Pale colors and the use of gold décor is a character during the Roccoco era. Features also depend on the wishes of the client. Usually, a client will tell you what he or she likes or doesn’t like, and as a designer, you work from there to figure out how you should design the space. The features of this design will be different from those of another because the clients are different, and probably have different ideas of what they want.

transition:a passage from one state, place, stage or subject to another

Transition shapes the history of design. As I already stated above, transitions from one style to another have been about revision, or one era borrowing from the previous and elaborating on that style. In the beginning of the semester, we spoke about the cycle of architecture, and the constant overlap of one style with the next. This overlap is the result of many different aspects; the most important one (in my opinion) is the passage of time. When an era of new architecture begins, it develops in one area, and then spreads to many others. So, as an example, while France was moving on from the Baroque era into Neoclassicism, Baroque was still lingering in England (Georgian Baroque). “The tendency on the part of traditionalists such as Gabriel to look to the period of Louis XIV as their source of inspiration was also transitional. Although the design derivation is evident, the execution was more disciplined” (Blakemore, 290). The passing of time assists transition, but transitions have a tendency to be simultaneous, which seems incredibly contradictory to the organized timeline of architecture. Transition goes hand in hand with the constant development of new ideas. Overlap also occurs because most new ideas have some relation to previous ones, in that the new ideas piggyback off of the old, or use bits and pieces. This idea of one idea leading to another is also obvious in the process of design. In order for a designer to reach a final product, he or she must transition from what is usually an extremely broad idea, and specify the idea more and more as the process goes on.

datum: a single piece of data
^This sofa has a datum that could be considered unclear. Does this look like a sofa to you? It also refuses to rotate: another datum issue.
Architecture usually has a datum, or one single piece of “data” that tells its story. However, I look at the word “datum” as being more of a statement of purpose than a piece of data. For example, the datum in the Pantheon is the oculus. The oculus makes obvious the intention to connect heaven and earth. A datum is important because it provides information beyond the exterior. It’s a useful way to create a transition from one space to another, incorporating hierarchy of one space over the next. For example, in the Georgian Baroque, more attention was paid to public activities in spatial planning. “A new approach to space planning typified the residences of te period from about 1720 to 1770. Versatility in planning to accommodate social events was the motivating force for this change” (Blakemore, 250). This way of organizing space based on hierarchy has been used from the get go. In the pyramids, the most important space (the tomb) was usually set in the very back, under the ground, so that the journey became more personal the deeper into the pyramid. The same remains in the tripartite system of porch, court, hearth. The porch is the most public and the hearth is the most private. In fact, this spatial planning still exists today. Usually, one walks through the main entrance of a home into a foyer, where people gather, and then there is the dining/living area and the kitchen, which are also areas for entertainment. Then, whether its on the second floor or branching off into a hallway, are the bedrooms and bathrooms, or more private spaces.

All 5 of these words create a language, or an “architecture parlent”. A design is created from a transition (moving from one to the other) between styles, leading to [re]vision (or borrowing and recreating) of previous eras. This design is then communicated to an audience (whether a client or people of a time period) through character (distinguishing features) and a datum (an obvious statement of purpose). This architecture parlent is crucial for the communication of design. If architecture did not have a language, it would be impossible to connect buildings to everyday life. It would be impossible to relate the interior of a building to an exterior. When we spoke about Architecture Parlent on Monday, we spoke of all the things that played roles in understanding a language. A major part of this concept is syntax, or sentence structure. Perhaps in English it is about sentence structure, but as far as architecture goes, syntax has to do with the organization of process as well as interrelation. 

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Drafting Portfolio

^Axonometric View of 600-1200' Room
^ Section Views of 600-1200' Room
^Plan View of 600-1200' Room
^ Plan View of Critique Room
Pat's Chair: Plan Oblique
^ Pats Chair: Isometric View
^Pat's Chair: Elevation Oblique
^ Section Cuts of Pat's Chair
^ Pat's Chair: Elevations
^Plan View of Pat's Chair
^ First Lettering Exercise

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Precedent Analysis: Deliverables


The Garden Grove Cathedral- Philip Johnson

I. Introduction (Why I chose this building and why I think it is important that it be analyzed)

II. Body (Analysis)

a. History of the building
i. Why was it built?
ii. When?
iii. By who?
iv. What was its context?
v. How does it represent commodity?

b. Structure
i. Mass & form (form and parts)
ii. Material and finish (materials used both inside and outside)
iii. Geometry and arrangement (organization principles)
iv. Natural vs artificial light (incorporation of light in structure)
v. Tectonic and mechanic (how structure systems are shown in building)

c. Concepts
i. Unit and whole (how is this building a whole to create unity?)
ii. Additive vs subtractive (positive versus negative space?)
iii. Hierarchy and system (What is made important and What is not?)
iv. Gesture and symbol (what cultural/social/religious meaning does it serve?)
v. Values and hopes (how do the above come together to be delightful?)

III. Conclusion (How does this building act as a prototype for buildings to come? How does it affect the religious aspect of architecture? What hope does it bring for the future?)

1. interior perspective- watercolor
2. interior perspective- pen and ink
3. exterior 1 point perspective- watercolor
4. exterior 2 point perspective- colored pencil
5. exterior 3 point perspective- marker
6. plan- pen
7. interior elevation- watercolor
8. interior elevation- marker
9. exterior elevation- pen
10. section cut- pen

Is this good? =) I think I'm pretty set right now. Maybe some comments on my outline? Pretty please?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

P Week

Periphery: The external boundary of any surface or area; the edge of outskirts

^ A peripheral vision of my dorm room; my roommate probably wanted to hurt me.

When I hear the word periphery, I think of peripheral vision, or rather, the limited amount of space that can be seen at one time. For example, in the above drawing, this is all one sees when in my room: a big mess. This thought collides with the actual definition of the word “periphery”. More than once have we seen boundaries within architecture. In fact, the word “boundary” has been an opus word. Considering that I have already talked about boundaries, I will not repeat myself. I will, however, talk about figurative boundaries and how they apply to the process of design. As we have learned about this constant transition from era to era, I have noticed how different limitations have been placed on opportunities. For example, the Renaissance aimed for rebirth. They wanted to leave gothic architecture behind and create new forms based on classicism. The Renaissance was all about humanism. This practice of humanism only allowed for architecture that supported its theory: “Humanism was a philosophical view that emphasized the importance of human values, achievement, and endeavors as distinct from received religious dogma” (Roth 356). After the Renaissance, there was the Baroque period, during which sculpture, painting and architecture were combined. Baroque architecture is about “heavy embellished architecture, with its corkscrew columns and bent entablatures- as much a deviation from proper architectural norms as a twisted pearl that deviated from the spherical norm” (Roth, 398). This architecture pushed the limits of those before it, by switching from clarity to ambiguity, variety instead of uniformity, plasticity instead of planar (Roth, 398). The transition from Baroque to Roccoco was also a drastic one. Suddenly “Baroque architecture moved away from the heavy architectural decorative elements and deep colors of the early seventeenth century in favor of more slender decorative features and a much lighter palate of colors” (Roth, 429). This idea of periphery will continue to apply to the way styles change and develop. New limits are put on styles, whether it’s due to government control, social trend or religious beliefs. This is why it is so emphasized in our classes to go beyond the boundaries. In all of our projects we are asked to go above and beyond, because this is the way that we will be able to explore different possibilities. The more ideas that we are exposed to, the more trends and styles that will be available. This variety is also important so that if we are meeting with a client, we can offer many different possibilities, Instead of just one.

Portfolio: a set of pieces of creative work collected to be shown to potential customers or employers; "the artist had put together a portfolio of his work"; "every actor has a portfolio of photographs"

As designers, we are required to have a portfolio available at the blink of an eye. A designer’s portfolio contains all of her work throughout her “explorations” as a designer. This includes work from her first year as an undergraduate student up to her work in grad school and outside of school in the real world. This opus blog that I am writing on serves as an electronic portfolio for many architecture students at UNCG. Our sketchbooks also serve as a portfolio of our work, not only in drawing, but also in history. Sure, it’s not entirely professional, since we are just beginning our years as interior architecture students, but it does contain a good chunk of the work we have already done. I know that as we climb the professional ladder in college, we will develop more professional blogs which will serve the purpose of showcasing our final projects, as well as solid observations and critiques that occur.
Beginning with the Renaissance, we read about many architects who wrote treatises. These treatises act, in a way, like a portfolio because they explain the way designs came about and what principles were followed, etc. For example, “Sir Henry Wotton espoused his ideas in a publication of 1624 entitled Elements of Architecture. This was not a pattern book but a down-to-earth building guide” (Blakemore, 130). The suggestions in this book influenced much of the English Renaissance.
For midterms in drafting, we are asked to put together a portfolio with all the work we have done throughout the semester. These pieces include both drafts and finish products of projects. Why include drafts? Drafts show process and difference between the draft and the final project. It is important to note what has been changed or corrected in order for the teachers to acknowledge that the student is progressing. It is even more important to have a portfolio when you work with a firm or other design business because a portfolio shows style. When you get a client, it is important that you show them your portfolio. This way, they can decide whether or not your style is what they’re looking for. By seeing your previous work, clients can judge whether or not they want to work with you. Hopefully, your portfolio is enough to reel them in.

^ An anonymous peer in the PROCESS of creating her opus PORTFOLIO

Process: a series of actions directed towards a desired result

“The end must direct the operation.” This saying is true for design. When a designer is given a project, he or she takes the prompt and must come up with a concept for the end product. This is the first step. Only after creating a concept and image of the desired product can a designer find the process it will take to get there.
Last semester I participated in the 7 to 7 Salvation Army Charette, and in order for us to begin, we first had to create a solid idea of what we wanted the end product to look like and how we wanted it to function. We decided that we wanted it to be organized into different sections for categories of merchandise. We wanted the customers to feel calm and invited by this store. Most of all, we wanted to create significant interactions between the customer and the space itself. After coming up with all these goals, we were able to start designing graphics, laying out the space, and organizing the products. After twelve hours of process, we finally finished and met our goals in our design. Process takes much effort and extensive thought, but it’s all about being able to make connections between important aspects of design.
The first half of second semester in environmental design was a process. This process had some order to it, though. It began with something as small and “unimportant-seeming” as a fairytale. I would never have guessed that something as simple as a fairytale could develop into something as complex as a portal. The process was so extraordinary in that each project took a little bit of the previous. Our artifact came from our fairytale, and our passageway from our artifact, and then a door from our passageway. This is what leads me to the conclusion that almost anything can be linked in one way or another, not only in design, but in life.
History of Design is also a process: the process of a constant change in design. Design periods overlap with one another, allowing for much mixture between two or more styles. So far we have learned about process in the foundations unit. This process was the passing on of architecture from one culture to the next through trade and proximity of countries. In the alternatives unit, we're learning about the process of expansion. Architecture in different regions are reflective of one another, and though their goals (rebirth, baroque, roccoco) are the same, the outcomes are different. We will soon be learning about how this spread of architecture influences present day architecture, and how architecture will continue to develop in the future.

Perspective: The science of painting and drawing so that objects represented have an apparent depth and distance

^ Church of Saint Ignazio
Perspective was used frequently, beginning during the Italian Renaissance when frescoes became a popular wall decoration. Artists painted perspectives on the walls or ceiling to extend the space, or make it seem larger. This illusion is called “trompe l’oeil” (mistake of the eye). Though the transitions from Renaissance to Baroque to Rococco were all in hopes of changing architecture, the use of illusionism did not. “In Baroque architecture, the line between three-dimensional reality and mystical illusion was increasingly blurred” (Roth 404). In the church of Saint Ignazio in Rome, “the vaults were painted by Padre Andrea Pozzo in 1691-1694 and show the glory of Saint Ignatious, in an illusion of architectural elements extending into the open sky, with clouds and angelic figures accompanying the figure of Saint Ignatius” (Roth, 404). Pietro de Cortona, originally a painter, was known for the frescoes he painted for the Barberini family. “For their palace, he painted the Allegory of Divine Providence and Barberini Power. This, his most famous painting, is a triumph of Illusionism for the centre of the ceiling appears open to the sky and the figures seen from below appear to come down into the room as well as soar out of it” (Blakemore, 154). This use of fresco in wall décor actually decreased as architecture moved into Rococco, and I am predicting that it will fade to be very rare and eventually disappear.
In drafting, we are beginning to learn about perspective and how to make a perspective sketch without using drafting tools. The concept is very complex but interesting at the same time. Depending on the type of perspective being drawn, all lines go back to one vanishing point, or two, or three, etc. Perspectives can be drawn in many different ways. They can be drawn professionally using drafting tools, drawn as a conceptual sketch with sensible lines, or drawn as a regular sketch, guessing where the lines go to and in what directions they go. In the first semester, we created perspective drawings using our drafting tools and pictures of buildings. In A few weeks ago we were asked to draw perspectives of our selected buildings; however, these drawings were freehand. Perspectives aren’t only used to draw the insides of buildings, but also the exteriors. They don’t just make an outline, they also touch on the details such as windows and doors. Everything is connected through lines, which fascinates me.

Professional: of, relating to, or characteristic of a profession

The word “professional” is thrown around. Some people believe that in order for someone to be a “professional” he or she must obtain a degree from college and be working in the field for which they got that degree. However, others might believe that if someone has spent a certain length of time doing one thing, he can be a professional, despite whether or not he has a degree. Some people became professional during the Baroque period through training, whether it was by apprenticing or education. Others just felt that their ideas were fit for architecture. “Borromini felt his training as an architect was appropriate for his commissions, while Bernini (with no training in architecture) considered his knowledge of sculpture and painting equally fitting for architectural work” (Blakemore, 155). This ability for Bernini to switch over to architecture was do to the new theme of the Baroque Era: “The autonomy of architecture is here eliminated, becoming now an armature for sculpture and painting meant to impress upon the viewer a mystical experience. Architecture as an independent, rational, structural frame is transformed into a unity or fusion of the visual arts as propoganda. Architecture has become but one constituent part in what was ‘a total work of art’” (Roth, 404). During the Baroque period, architecture, sculpture and painting were combined into one form of art.
The interior architecture program is designed to give us a unique education that will make it easier for us to become professionals. When we graduate, there’s a high possibility that we will not only have a higher knowledge of interior designs, but also building structures. This will help us get more successful jobs with major architecture firms, rather than small design companies. This is why it is important for us to keep all of our work. When we graduate, we will be able to bring our portfolios to job interviews. This way, the interviewers will look at our work, and instantly be able to see the knowledge that we have developed throughout our education at UNCG.

All five of these words pertain to the outside world, or post-graduation. Periphery pertains in that we will have new limits to our design that will be created either by the firm we work with, the client, or the task at hand. Like I have already said, in order to get jobs, we will need to have a portfolio at hand, ready to be shown. A process is important because it shows progression towards the desired goal. As I wrote in my essay comparing design to a story, the process of design means multiple attempts, multiple critiques, and alot of the time, multiple mistakes. Perspective is incorporated in design in that it is required that the designer has a correct perspective of what needs to be done. The perspective of the client is also important when a designer is coming up with a concept. A design needs to accommodate the client, and his or her needs. Finally, professional comes into part in that someone who is professional in design is more likely to get a job over someone who is not. In other words, being that we, as interior architecture students, will graduate with a degree in interior architecture, we will be at an advantage over those who come into the field through other degrees. 

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Precedent Analysis: Justification

Crystal Cathedral
Garden Grove, CA
Philip Johnson- Johnson/Burgee Architects

This cathedral is the largest glass building in the world, built in orange county California in 1980. The cathedral is shaped like a four-pointed star and it rises 12 stories above the ground. Its design exposes its use of solar heating and wind cooling through ventilating windows. The reason for the design of this cathedral is the desire to put people as close to the service or performance as possible, and connecting the cathedral to reality, whereas other cathedrals are an escape from reality. Not only does the architecture of this building reveal the progression of innovation in design, but it also allows for connection to the people in more ways than religion. This cathedral is used not only for services, but also for performances by musicians and appearances of famous celebrities. It incorporates all three necessities for a successful design (commodity, firmness and delight) in that it accommodates many functions, it is earthquake-withstandable and it uses light and space to create a certain intimacy.

Photos taken from flickr.com

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Precedent Analysis: Cologne Cathedral

COLOGNE CATHEDRAL: also known as the kolner dom
Cologne cathedral is a gothic cathedral in Germany that was built in 1248 on the site of a Roman Temple. It’s outstanding use of light, along with its unforgettable detail and duality of color, makes it compatible with other cathedrals across the world. Like the cologne cathedral, the Salisbury cathedral utilizes light to direct the emphasis to what’s most important in the cathedral. It also uses a duality of color in the aisle, as well as in the vaults surrounding the choirs. The exteriors of these two pieces of architecture are very dark and mysterious, while the inside sets a tone of celebration. The contrast between interior and exterior in these two buildings tell two different stories. With a structure comparable to the cologne cathedral, amiens also represents the idea of the “dark ages”. Also, both structures are so complex that they share a “bulky” quality, with multiple buttresses and naves and vaults. The incorporation of height in both the cologne cathedral and the duomo cathedral are meant to be landmarks. The impossible-to-ignore two spires on the cologne cathedral and the overpowering tower on the duomo act as landmarks for cities. These two cathedrals also portray past and present, which also presents future. Both borrow the traditional cruciform and the use of columns, however, they elaborate on these columns, and incorporate vertical elements to show the important areas inside. Their innovation of other structural elements, as well as elaborate detail, gives way for development in the future. All four of these cathedrals are efficient in commodity, firmness and delight, however, their designs change with region.

- Nicole Robert
- Charese Allen
-Caraleigh Schwall
-Hanna Flynn

Monday, March 2, 2009

Macro to Micro

With the development of the temple came a tripartite system. The temple form is split up into three parts: the porch, the court and the hearth. This system of parts is representational of hierarchy within religion.
^porch : court : hearth
PORCH: a covered area adjoining an entrance to a building and usually having a separate roof; portico; “place of transition” (Merriam Webster Dictionary)
COURT: The residence of a sovereign or similar dignitary; an open space enclosed by a building or buildings; an open space enclosed wholly or partly by buildings or circumscribed by a single building; “a place of gathering” (Merriam Webster Dictionary)
HEARTH: home; “for the special people” (Merriam Webster Dictionary)
^ The Inside of the Pantheon
The porch acts of a place of transition, leading into the court where people gather to celebrate or worship the hearth. The hearth is the most important place in a temple or church, because it is where the altar or sculpture of the god is. For example, in the Parthenon, the steps lead up to the porch (or entrance) where people transition into worship in this holy building. The court is the inside rectangle created by the colonnades, where people gather to worship. The hearth is where the sculpture of Athena sits. This is the most important spot because this temple is built for Athena, and therefore, where Athena sits is the shrine. This system is very clear in the megaron and citadel of Greece; however, this system becomes less obvious and more symbolic with Roman architecture. For example, the Pantheon contains a porch, a court and a hearth, but not in that order. The porch of the Pantheon is the large portico on the outside of the building, where the massive columns stand. Inside the Pantheon, the court and hearth are literally the same space (above). This does not necessarily mean that there is no difference between the two. In this structure, the oculus complicates things. The court may be the entire circular structure inside, but the hearth is where the light through the oculus strikes. This light is sacred in that it aims to bring heaven on earth, and therefore, where the light strikes is the hearth, and depending on the time of day, the location of this hearth differs. The tripartite system is again used in the basilica form, which then leads to the church form. In the Basilica of Constantine, the porch is at the narthex. The court is the aisle from the narthex to the apse, as well as the seating for worship. The hearth is at the apse, where the speaker (the priest) stands, making the speaker the most important person in the basilica. In the gothic cathedral at Amiens, France, the porch is at the narthex and this porch is made sacred by the human figures sculpted on the front façade. However, the sacredness of this cathedral increases with each part. The court is on the inside, in the aisles, and underneath the vaults. Different from other forms, though, the hearth is where the two crosses intersect in the cruciform. This transept creates an unforgettable moment in the church. This tripartite system is just one of the many diagrams used to build in the foundations of architecture.

DIAGRAM: a design/drawing that makes things easier to understand; the layout of ideas in an order that connects all of those ideas (Merriam Webster Dictionary)
^ "context" diagram from drawing class
^ Church of San Spirito
If one is trying to successfully communicate a design, a diagram is probably the best tool. This is because a diagram illuminates the direct relation between the parts of the whole design. While some professionals use a plan to explain their idea, others use diagrams to incorporate context, hierarchy, circulation and function. In drawing, along with creating our own diagrams (above), we read a packet that informed us about the different diagrams and how they work to clarify different points. Roth makes a similar connection in “Understanding Architecture”. “Galileo Galilei wrote that it was not possible to understand the “book” of creation “if we do not first learn the language and grasp the symbols in which it is written. This book is written in a mathematical language, and the symbols are triangles, circles and other geometric figures, without whose help it is impossible to comprehend a single word of it” (Roth, 360). This is like the use of architectural plans; if one is not an architect, there is a definite possibility that that person may not comprehend the plan as well as the architect. This is due to the lack of familiarity with the symbols as well as the uses of line weights and other variations. During the Renaissance, more specifically the rise of humanism, Vitruvius made a connection between the temple form and the form of the human body. “Ideal systems of proportion, he observed, can be found in the perfect proportions of the human body” (Roth, 359). This use of the diagram of the human body led to the creation of the ideal proportions in the building system, as well as the increase in importance of horizontal forms. An example of the use of diagram is Brunelleschi’s Church of San Spirito in Florence (above): “the visitor would see a fully three-dimensional representation of a building as a constructed perspective, each architectural element assigned a precise place in a rationally ordered scheme” (Roth, 365). This emphasis on elements in a certain order brings us to our next theme: composition.

COMPOSITION: a product of mixing various elements or ingredients; an arrangement; (Merriam Webster Dictionary)
^ The Foundling Hospital
A composition is noticeable when various elements (color, texture, light, etc) are unified to make one design. These elements are organized in a particular order so that they give way for an interaction. Above, I included two drawings that acted as warmup exercises. The hands have a sense of composition in that I used both hatching and color to create a more interesting design. If I had just left the hands as contour, they would have been plain and incomplete. There is composition in my dinner drawing because I had a method while drawing it. I drew the whole, and then picked out the parts and placed them carefully and orderly on the page, incorporating text along the way. Without having a quality of composition, a design is not a design, but a mess of ideas. Once a designer has succeeded in creating a composition, he or she has succeeded in unification, as well as commodity, firmness and delight. In the architecture of the Renaissance, one of the main goals was to create a new architecture, and “stressing a balance of vertical and horizontal elements” (Roth, 353). This combination of two elements that are potential opposites creates a rather interesting composition. With the desire to combine vertical and horizontal elements, there was also a need to use “ideal geometric forms discussed by Plato in Philebus- forms generated by straight lines and circles” (Roth, 359). These shapes were soon incorporated in several buildings. In the Foundling Hospital in Florence (above), “across the front of the building and facing the piazza, an arcade with monolithic Corinthian columns carried the lightest of semicircular architraves and stretched entablature. The columns are spaced exactly as far apart as they are tall, defining squares in elevation” (Roth 362). Something that I feel is crucial to know when trying to understand the word “composition” is that it creates a rhythm, like a musical composition, whether it’s that of Bach or Beethoven. “There are no intellectual discordances, but rather perfect conformity through proportional harmony” (Roth, 367). Composition is about a harmony, all the elements being different notes, or instruments, or beats. Detail also helps a composition become more interesting.

DETAIL: a small and subordinate part; a part of a whole; a part considered or requiring to be considered separately from the whole; the small elements that collectively constitute a work of art (Merriam Webster Dictionary)
^ Santa Maria del Fiore
As a part, detail is an extremely important element. It gives style (a distinctive characteristic or manner), meaning, and individuality to a design. Above, I decided to use a drawing that I did showing detail of a scarf that I own. The detail of the pattern gives away the brand of the scarf. A detail is something that is site-specific. In our drawing class, we were asked to draw a detail that represented our building. For example, in our group we were assigned to the Mossman Building, and Tracy drew the floor detail, emphasizing the importance of the use of brick in our building. Thinking it important to the Mossman building, I drew the distinct benches (above) which allow for seating and comfort in the student accomodated building. Detail played an important role in Renaissance architecture as well. For example, in The Dome of Florence Cathedral (above) “Brunelleschi’s study of Roman architectural detail and his inventiveness are seen in the white stone lantern he designed to cover the top of the dome” (Roth, 358). This detail on top of the dome causes it to stand out, and makes it Brunelleschi’s own. The use of detail in the Renaissance was also a way of referring back to ancient achievement. For example, the new Saint Peter’s Church (below) used the Doric columns, but Bramante furthered this detail by designing the frieze himself, incorporating detail of instruments used in the Mass. “Hence in form, proportion and ornamental detail, the diminutive building recalls Roman architecture at its purest, re-created and reshaped in the service of the church” (Roth, 372). This detail in Saint Peters was expanded even more when Michaelangelo painted Frescoes on the ceilings of the dome. All of these details being used in these influential buildings had a major impression on the Renaissance era.

IMPRESSION: a characteristic trait or feature resulting from influence; marked influence or effect on feeling, sense or mind (Merriam Webster Dictionary)
^ "New" St. Peter's basilica
As the course of our history class has moved on, we have talked about numerous ways that different buildings make impressions on people. Socially, baths have a huge impact in that they provide “bread and circus” for the people. Religiously, the pyramids and temples were built with the desire to bring heaven to earth. This idea of universality between heaven earth continues with the construction of the gothic cathedral, and even more so with the rebirth of the Christian church during the Renaissance. The use of circles and the centralized plan served religious purpose in the Church: “the circle an the centralized plan generated from it were highly evocative religious symbols of the perfection of divinity, forms found also in the proportions o the human body patterned, so scripture declared, in God’s image” (Roth, 365). The symbolism of these forms creates a religious impression on the people housed in the church. Once a person walks into a church, there is an immediate transformation from earth to heaven. In Bramante’s quest to build a new Saint Peters, he focused on making it “bigger than Constantine’s church, embodying the ideals of the new architecture and proclaiming the power of an invigorated Christianity while surpassing the achievement of pagan antiquity” (Roth, 372). In terms of building churches, it was all about proclaiming the power of religion. This idea still exists in church and temple construction today.

The word “macro” is usually used to describe something as large, or long, while the word “micro” does the opposite, describing something as small or short. These two words work together in comparison. This comparison could be incorporated in design to identify both important and unimportant aspects of a design. As for the words above, I believe that these two words (macro and micro) could be used in many different contexts. All of these words have ways that they could be macro or micro in a design. The combination of porch, court and hearth definitely goes with the word “macro” in that it was a major influence of building procedure for so long. Diagram would go with macro as well, because there is nothing more important in design than being able to get your ideas across. Without a clear layout of ideas, a designer is lost, and so is their client. Composition tags along with micro and macro. A composition is a macro thing made up of micro parts (the elements of design). Now, I don’t mean to say that these elements aren’t important; just that they are quite micro compared to the whole product or composition of a design. Detail could also be used with micro and macro. Detail is a “macro” part of a design, especially as architecture develops and ornament becomes more incorporated. However, detail is very micro in that each detail means something, so like the elements of design, detail is just one thing that makes up the entire whole of the design. Impression is macro, without a doubt. One of the reasons why designers design a room is to appeal to the senses to create interaction. The impression that a design has on its “experiencer” is a major part of the success or lack thereof. All of these words were scattered among the architecture of the foundations unit (impression in Egypt, detail in rome, diagram in Greece, etc). However, all of these words are brought together in the era of the Renaissance, as the people look to bring all aspects of the ancient world into one revival.

- Pictures taken from flickr

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Chiaroscuro in the Foundations Unit

Chiaroscuro is a technique adopted during the Renaissance in which the artist uses values of light and dark to record contrasts of light and shadow in nature. In art, such as drawing and painting, this technique is used to create the optical illusion that a two dimensional piece of art is actually 3D.
Hypostyle Hall: Egypt c. 13th Century BC
At the temple of Amon at Karnak, the columns of the hypostyle hall tower over people at 69 feet (Roth, 180). On these columns, relief is used to tell stories about the history of Egypt. This hall acts as a court between the guarded porch and the sacred hearth of this temple.

These massive stone columns are in alignment with the sun during the winter solstice, which points towards the Valley of the Kings on the West Side of the Nile. Whichever way light strikes these columns, there are inevitable shadows cast on the court, separating it from the whole of the temple. As a person walks through this hall, he or she is walking through constant shadow, while looking out or above the illuminated columns to light.

Pyramids of Giza: Egypt 2680-2560 BC

These pyramids house the pharaohs Khufu, Khafre and Menkare. They are the three largest pyramids in Egypt, each pyramid dedicated to a different King. These pyramids house the bodies of these kings, as well as their cherished belongings. These pyramids were built to create a passage from life to afterlife.

The pyramids of Giza are polished with a limestone finish, causing it to gleam in the sun. Because these pyramids were more important than others, gold was used at the very top to emphasize the sun. They are aligned in all cardinal directions.

Temple of Hatshepsut: Egypt 1500 BC

The temple of Queen Hatshepsut is built into the cliffs at Deir el Bahari closest to the entrance of the Valley of the Kings. Like the pyramids, this temple was built to house the mummified body of Queen Hatshepsut once she passed.

The colonnade and its positive and negative space create a rhythm of light and dark, representing transition between life and afterlife.

Propylaia: Greece 400 BC

The Propylaia is the marble entrance to the Acropolis in Athens. One side has a painting gallery, and the other has a sculpture gallery. This entrance contains multiple colonnades of both ionic and Doric style columns, creating a complex passageway into the acropolis, attempting to deny access to anyone who is “ritually unclean”.

The colonnades in the entrance were used to enforce a feeling of enclosure while people walk through. This dark, enclosed colonnade makes way to the revelation of the Great Acropolis, molding an unforgettable experience for the person walking through.

Parthenon: Greece 5th Century BC

The Parthenon is the temple of the Greek goddess Athena. This building is the most important building in the Acropolis, as every other structure atop the acropolis directs the people to the Parthenon. This building is the archetype of Western History. The Parthenon serves as a shrine rather than a temple, and contains the sacred sculpture of Athena.

The colonnades in the Parthenon contribute to the use of light and shadow in terms of directing light towards the statue of Athena. However, the Parthenon is also an example of trompe l’oeil. The construction of the columns in the Parthenon creates an optical illusion that these columns are straight, while they are actually slanted inward. “Knowledge of perspective and depth perception through skillful use of modeling with light and shadow were important here (Greece)” (Blakemore, 35).

Pantheon: Rome 126 AD

The pantheon, also known as the “temple of all the gods”, is the epitome of Roman architecture. It illustrates advanced building technology and the innovation of concrete as a building material. It is “the symbol of consequence of an immutable union between the gods, nature, man and the state” (David Watkin). Its particular distinction is its vast scale and experiment in manipulation of building techniques, more specifically the incorporation of the dome.

The oculus, the circular cut out in the top of the dome, is what creates the connection between heaven and earth. At different times of day, the light shining through this oculus shines on different parts of the wall, illuminating different stories. Symbolically, the oculus opens to the heavens, affecting the way people “view the universe”.

Colosseum: Rome 1st Century AD

The colosseum is a circular ampitheatre in the center of Rome. This structure was used for events such as gladiator contests and other public entertainment programs. The basement of the colosseum is open so that there may also be naval battles inside. It remains one of Rome’s most popular attractions, and still serves as a symbol of the greatness of the Roman Empire.

This open-roofed structure uses natural light to accommodate the events taking place in this building. This is one of the first entirely open structures that use natural light for its literal purpose. It also incorporates contrast between light and dark. For example, if you are considering the gladiator or the actor or whoever is participating in the event, they come into this circular light from a dark hallway. This transition from dark to light goes hand in hand with the transition into “glory”.

Hagia Sophia: Istanbul, Turkey 537 AD

Hagia Sophia went from being a basilica, to a mosque and now is a museum. While the Pantheon is the epitome of Roman architecture, Hagia Sophia is the epitome of Byzantine Architecture, particularly famous for it’s massive dome. “…The thought of crowning Hagia Sophia with a dome related to the sanctity of the whole building as an earthly analogue to heaven. The visible universe was concretized in the Byzantine mind as a cube surmounted by a dome” (Spiro Kostof).

The pendentive that attaches the dome to the cube in Hagia Sophia allows for light, giving the space “echo and bounce”. The 40 arched windows under the arcade fill the interior with light, allowing it to reflect off of the mosaics used as an interior detail. This constant reflection of light, as well as the multiple colors, heightens the impression of the space upon those experiencing it. Hagia Sophia is famous for its quality of light. This reflection creates an important moment within the space

Old St. Peter, Italy c. 326-333 AD

This basilica was one of the largest basilicas in Rome, built by Constantine where Saint Peter was buried. This church has the largest interior of any Christian church in the world. It contained a large number of burials and memorials, and was an important place of pilgrimage. 
Old St. Peters was eventually built to form New St. Peters, which stands today in this very site.

Natural light is important in the design of this basilica because it fills the court, where people gather, increasing symbolic importance of this place. It is also important because as it shines through the windows, it reflects off of the mosaic materials.

San Vitale, Italy 548 AD

This church is the most famous monument of Ravenna, Italy and is one of the most important examples of Byzantine architecture in Western Europe. It’s a double shell octagon that creates an ambulatory passageway and a central altar space.

The ambulatory passageway is filled with natural light, which indirectly bleeds into the hearth of the church. When standing in the hearth, it is filled with light, but the source of this light is unknown.

- pictures taken from flickr.com