Wednesday, April 29, 2009

[pair]ing down


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

^ This presentation board is the example of dialogue. Without having these drawings spaced out and carefully placed, each drawing would have its own monologue. However, my layout was created so that there would be dialogue between each aspect, communicating a more legible idea.

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

Action Verbs

Speculate: To think or wonder about a subject;
^ The 20 word list I came up with to describe the interaction I want my space to convey, and some pictures of inspiration cut from magazines.
Speculation is the first step in the design process. In order for a designer to create a concept, he or she must first speculate the many possibilities. Of course, these possibilities will differ with the task. However, it is impossible to choose one concept without exploring the possibilities, and this need for exploration is a constant emphasis in our design classes. It is the reason that we make multiple iterations, use multiple medias and line weights, and read about multiple time periods in history. Speculation must consider both the elements of design as well as the context of the environment around where the design will be located, and how the design will relate to a certain time period or movement. For example, Le Corbusier believed in an architecture that matched its context. “He praised the new functional industrial design and proclaimed that ‘Modern decorative art is not decorated’. […] he dismissed past styles irrelevant to the 1920’s…” (Massey, 83). Modernism focuses on the industrial age, and how a machine can be interrelated with architecture. This connection between design and time period is obvious. Speculation not only defines present connections, but it also allows for precedent analysis. One speculates a building and considers how it relates or opposes other buildings from either the same or a different time period, which is something we’re learning to do with each step of our analysis.

Shape: To form ; to design

^ The beginning idea which will shape the process to my final piece
Speculation is a prerequisite to the shaping of a design. In order for shaping to occur, one must have speculated the possibilities and chosen one concept to stick to. After choosing a concept, a designer begins to contemplate the many parts of a design, such as placement, scale, proportion, colorway, etc. Shaping a design requires much thought process as to what’s logical and what’s not. But then it is also important to consider rules and regulations in a design. There are many things that affect the way a design is shaped: style, client, time period, context, etc. Context was what shaped Modernism: “Modernism was closely linked to economic and social modernization, and it can hardly be held wholly accountable for the sins of property speculators and government bureaucracies who employed third-rate architects to cover our cities with cheap hand-me-down versions of Modernist design.

Stretch: To spread or reach out; to draw out in length or breadth; to make tense
^ My window installation stretches the boundaries by using materials other than those specified in the assignment
Stretching is extremely important in design. No, I do not mean that a designer needs to do hamstring and arm stretches before they can come up with a good design. By stretching, I mean knowing when it’s appropriate or necessary to go beyond limitations in order to reach a certain goal or pull a design together into a whole. In studio, interior architecture students have been stretching the boundaries all year. This is because sometimes a design just doesn’t work with a linear element, or paper is not strong enough to emphasize a certain point. Part of the reason why design is so personal is because it is flexible. Sure, there are rules and regulations that MUST be followed in order to pass inspections, and these cannot be ignored or broken. However, design is flexible in that there is such a wide variety in terms of building materials, technologies, and styles, that it’s okay to push the boundaries in order to make a design successful. Frank Lloyd Wright not only stretched the boundaries of the Modernist era, but he ignored all restrictions. “Frank Lloyd Wright and other American designers could not accept the restrictions of the Modern Movement, rejecting its characteristic use of pilotis and regular blocks. In the 1930’s, Wright continued to develop his own personal style which he considered more expressive of American values” (Massey, 85). Wright ignores entirely the traditions of modernism, and incorporates his own organic style, focusing on natural values, which he sees to be more important.

Compose: To form by putting together; to produce by composition
^ My Composite Drawing for Fallingwater
Once a design is shaped, whether it’s on paper or in the designer’s head, it is then necessary to compose it, or bring everything together to form the final product. As we have been learning all year, composition is crucial in design. Without composition, the parts are more like random ingredients; there is no unity. A composition is a composition when all aspects of anything, whether it’s a building, a drawing or a presentation board, come together to create a whole. It is also easier for a designer to influence a client or audience when his or her presentation is composed in a way that makes sense. With the composition of a piece of architecture, it is important that the design incorporates some, if not all, of the elements of design. These include the common elements throughout history such as light, positive and negative space, rhythm etc. Le Corbusier creates his own composition in his buildings. He uses the common elements, but also adds elements of his own. “These stipulated that the building should be supported above ground-level by pilotis; the interior should use a free plan; there should be a roof-terrace; the windows should be large, and form a continuous element of the exterior wall and the façade should consist of one smooth surface” (Massey, 80). These “Five Points of Architecture” are crucial for Corbusier in Modernism.

Energize: To give energy to [something]
^ This concept of levels is given energy through the use of color
Once a design has been composed, a designer can then add energy to her design. This can be done through choice of color, use of natural versus artificial light, shape of furniture, etc. The energy level of a room usually depends on the interaction that a designer wishes to create between her space and the person who is experiencing it. For example, a room with multiple windows that allow light in is more likely to be energetic than one that has less windows. A room with red or yellow paint is going to be more energetic than one with green or blue paint. Energy in design can also be reached through the exterior. For example, a skyscraper such as the Chrysler Building or the Empire State Building has energy in that it reaches to the sky. These buildings are about speed, and speed is an important concept in the Modernist era. This had to do with the rise of the automobile, along with other machines during the industrial revolution. Le Corbusier adds energy to his machine age structures through “’the masterly, correct and magnificent play of volumes brought together in light’” (Weston, 3) through architectural promenades. This energy is made to create an experience as if one is walking through a space.

In case you haven’t already realized, I took the words on the list and switched the order. Their chronology is significant in that one comes after the other in the design process. These action verbs are five major steps to a successful design, and it’s important to follow them in order. Mistakes or “fails”, without a doubt, affect this process. One could get to the composition stages, thinking that his or her idea or design was flawless, and then make a model and realize it doesn’t work. Then, the designer needs to either go back to shaping and figure out how the design can be modified, or start all over again with speculation of new ideas. Though it may seem like these faults are hurting the process, it actually helps in the long run in the same way of “learning from one’s mistakes”. It can also make the second run through of the process a lot quicker. This theme of chronology has definitely produced an overall theme for the semester in that projects have been spread out over time in steps quite similar to those described above. Knowing these steps and taking them is crucial in order for a design to be a well-thought-out and sensible product.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Composite Drawing: Fallingwater

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

Unit Summary: Reflections

Reflections are all about looking back and trying to mirror something, or create a similar image of it. However, in architecture, a design reflects only parts, rather than a whole. In the reflections unit, architects look back in history and take favorable parts of architecture from those time periods, and then these architects use this knowledge to create a new.  This idea of reflection ultimately leads to innovation. Though these two concepts seemed opposite before this unit, we have learned how reflection has encouraged creation of a new architecture.

            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

Road Trip

Roots: the fundamental or essential part; the source or origin of a thing
Roots can be interpreted in design two different ways. First, roots can be general fundamentals, or the essential considerations in the design process. There are specific rules that are set for design, such as measurements for pathways, or how far doors can push out or in, or how much space is needed to accommodate someone in a wheelchair. These roots are universal, as all must follow them. Also, the elements of design act as roots for the progression of a design. 
Depending on where the focus is (color, positive/negative space, proximity, etc), the design will progress from that one idea, through a concept. Second, though, they can be roots that provide for the unique taste of a designer. These roots that will make a design special most often derive from location or culture, and sometimes, personal taste. This idea of locality can be seen in America’s wishes to incorporate styles different from those in Europe. Our nation wanted to use a style that would identify America; this style would be identified as typical of America. “ The American Moderne grew out of a need to express the new dynamism of American life. It combined the sleek surfaces of Art Deco, the French Moderne preference for new materials, and an optimistic view of machinery inspired by the Italian Futurist movement and America’s own Stuart Davis, who rendered the excitement of American mass culture in paint” (Massey, 110).

Congruence: the quality or state of agreement or correspondence
Congruence is obvious in the term “interior architecture”. Through interior architecture, the exterior and the interior of a building are in agreement with each other, through both design and architecture. This congruence between the two is what creates a sense of unity. This unity in a design can be achieved using duality, whether it is a duality of contrasting or comparing ideas. This idea of interior architecture is easily found in the work of Frank Lloyd Wright, as he designs the space, as well as the furniture he will use in it. He makes the furniture to create a composition with the space. This idea of congruence in Frank Lloyd Wright’s work is something that he is recognized for. Congruence with time period is also a major part of architecture, while it is crucial to design buildings in relation to context. “This design idiom drew from the architectural traditions of each particular nation or region t create a style that a building’s users would have immediately recognized as belonging uniquely to them” (Roth, 470).

Concept: An idea of something formed by mentally combining all its characteristics or particulars

Concept initiates design. It is the first step of the design process. When a designer receives a task, she will first brainstorm multiple possibilities to go about completing it. However, when she reviews these ideas, she picks one that she likes the most and goes with it. This preferred idea becomes her concept. Without a concept, it is impossible to reach a desired end. There is a concept behind every structure that has ever been built, regardless of its time period. This concept can relate to religion, location, culture and function. During modernism in the nineteenth century, eclecticism, or revival of previous architectures, became a common concept for building and designing. “This associationalism became an underlying concept in the stylistic eclecticism that pervaded the nineteenth century and the later rise of historicist Postmodernism” (Roth, 469).

Materiality: Material nature/quality
The availability and abundance of material has a great impact on design. The vast range of materials available for architecture provides many possibilities for ideas. In fact, material is so crucial in design that it has the ability to illuminate the design. Materials go hand in hand with concept and style. The amount of possible materials has increased greatly since the beginning of history, giving designers today many opportunities. Material is particularly important today as architects are paying more attention to sustainability and reusable building materials, both inside and out. In the beginning of the eighteenth century, glass and iron were introduced as new materials. These two materials gave way to new building technologies, such as the creation of the train stations and greenhouses. “Paxton made full use of all that the British has learned of iron building technology in the construction of train stations and greenhouses in the preceding decades, but his innovations produced a giant leap in the building scale, in the prefabrication of standardized building parts of factories across England, and in methodical organization of the building process” (Roth, 487). The introduction of glass and iron was a turning point in architecture. Not only did it write the path for train station and factory construction, but it was also crucial in the late 19th and early 20th century during the rise of skyscrapers.

Compression: being pressed together; forced into less space; to cause to become a solid mass; to condense, shorten or abbreviate

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).

To summarize this week's opus, concept is the main theme. A concept can be created through roots (location, culture, society, etc) or it can be created through congruence (the need or want to agree with a set of rules or traditions). From roots and congruence comes materiality, which is dictated by the roots of a time period or historicism, and also dictated by what the building is agreeing with, whether it is commodity, firmness or delight, though I hope it is following all three. Roots and congruence also control compression/release, determining whether or not it is appropriate for a certain type of design. Compression or release can also be achieved through materiality, depending on what type of material is used in construction of a building.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Between Silence and Light

Craft: Skill in doing or making something; an art, trade or occupation requiring special skill, esp. manual skill
^ Craft of furnishings at Monticello
Architecture has everything in the world to do with craft. In this case, architectural craft shows skill in construction of a building, whether it is by hand or by machine. During the arts and crafts movement arose a debate. Which method is more appealing: handcraft or machinery? William Morris seemed to be a firm believer of craftsmanship. “Morris established interior design and the production of furniture an furnishings as a valid enterprise for the architect and fine artist, firing the Arts and Crafts Movement in the 1880s to ‘Turn our artists into craftsmen and our craftsmen into artists’” (Massey, 12). This belief in handcraft became the foundation of the Arts and Crafts Movement, demanding that everything be handmade in order to earn value. This was contradictory, however, to the rise of new materials such as iron and glass. These materials were easily employed by machines to create buildings such as Paxton’s Crystal Palace and The Eiffel Tower. Craft is not only important in construction of buildings, but also in design. It is necessary for a designer to have good craft in all that she does. In order for an idea to be communicated, a designer usually has to build a scale model alongside multiple drawings and a presentation. All three of these aspects must be well-crafted in that the model must have neat and clean joinery and surfaces, the drawings must be thoughtfully composed and rendered, and the presentation must be clearly organized.

- Public: of, pertaining to, or affecting a population or a community as a whole; of or pertaining to all humankind, universal.
- Private: Pertaining to or affecting a particular person or a small group of persons; individual; personal
^ A Private Room at Falling Water; notice the softness of the light
Public versus private space is crucial in architecture, obviously because usually buildings are built for people, whether they be public buildings such as a mall or a church, or private buildings such as a residence or office. There are different considerations when designing a public or private space. A public space requires more circulation space, with elements that accommodate a people as a whole. A private space, however, requires elements that accommodate one person or family, and each individual need and want. The desired effects in public and private spaces also differ. Private spaces tend to feel more welcoming and comfortable than public spaces. For example, Fallingwater was a more private space than Monticello, in that it was built first for family life, and second for entertainment. This can be seen through the use of dark hallways, keeping people from the private rooms, and the use of low ceilings and compressed spaces. At Monticello, the entertainment spaces were laid out closer to the entrance, while the private rooms were towards the back, and on the upper level. There were, however, many bedrooms; too many for a residence housing one person. There were bedrooms for people he hosted as well. This aspect of entertaining and inviting makes Monticello a more public space. During the Art Nouveau movement, much attention was paid to the public spaces in a residence, such as the entrance hall, dining room and living room. For example, Victor Horta creates an entrance hall with “a entrall placed staircase of white Carrara marble which forms the centerpiece of the whole design […] the visitor is led by this impressive stair to the upper floor if the house which contains the dining and drawing rooms” (Massey, 37). Art Nouveau was all about motifs and decoration, and using these to create grandeur within the exposed rooms of the house.

Technique: The manner and ability with which an artist, writer, dancer, athlete, or the like employs the technical skills of a particular art or field of endeavor; method of performance
^ Technique of using marker and white colored pencil to show light and shadow
Different designers have different techniques. In other words, their way of doing something might differ from another’s. This technique is dependent upon two aspects: style and the client. Depending upon style, a designer might use a particular color scheme, or a strict furniture layout. Depending upon the client, the designer will use techniques in her design to accommodate the wants and needs of that client. Technique is also important when considering the communication of a design. For example, what types of techniques need to be used in drawings and diagrams? What type of key will be used? Which media is most effective? These are all considered techniques during the design process. In the nineteenth century, there was a debate about technique. What construction technique was more useful? Handcraft? Machine? How the design was built depended on the preference of the designer. For example, the handcraft is clear in C.F.A. Voysey’s house, The Orchard. “C.F.A Voysey was an architect of the next generation who designed houses and their interiors with the Arts and Crafts regard for the vernacular and honest workmanship, and extended his interest to designing wallpapers, textiles, carpets and furniture for his schemes” (Massey, 16). This honest workmanship can be seen in the woodwork and craft of furniture in his house. Frank Lloyd Wright, however, chose to go against the grain and use machinery in the construction of Falling Water. He used mass-production materials such as glass and concrete. I’m not entirely sure that the construction of Falling Water would have been possible without machinery, actually. These are just some examples of the broad ranges of technique.

Language: any system of formalized symbols, signs, sounds, gestures or the like used or conceived as a means of communicating thought, emotion, etc.
^ The complexity of language among countries
As designers, we are constantly aiming to communicate ideas, and how would this communication be effective without a language? The language of design is a complex one. Not only is it important in communication of design, but it is also important within the design itself. Let’s take Vitruvius’ three-element principle: commodity, firmness and delight. These three things exist within a language of their own. In order for a design to be effective, it must use all three. Also, the elements of design need to speak the same language with one another in order to have unity. Without language, or coexistence, unity in a design, and ultimately, success cannot be reached. Much unity is achieved at both Monticello and Falling Water, as both designs correspond with their location, using local materials. Falling Water almost even blends in with the cliff in which it’s built. These two “monuments” have a language through the connection with their locations. Language is also important between a designer and her client. When a designer creates a model, it must be an accurate scale replica of the completed idea. Along with a model, the designer must use skillful language in the layout of her presentation and composition of her graphics, whether they be digital or drawn. Language is the foundation of history in design. There is a language seen between eras, and this language is constantly repeated with revival, or more specific to our history unit, eclecticism. “Eclecticism- the informed and selective borrowing of historical building forms and details, rooted in associationalism- can be viewed as developing in a series of sequential related phases extending all the way from the early eighteenth century to the present day” (Roth, 470). This borrowing of historical forms led to revival of classical architecture from Greek and Rome, as well as the Gothic style. While von Klenze’s Sculpture Gallery in Germany was based on the image of the classical order (Roth, 472), the Houses of Parliament in London expressed a Gothic style (Roth, 475). These are just 2 examples of how the beliefs of eclecticism , or historical reference, were spread across Europe.

Virtual: existing or resulting in essence or effect though not in actual fact, form, or name.

After discussing the opus words in studio today, I am a little unsure of the intended meaning of the word “virtual”. Virtual, to me, does not mean “of virtue”. When one thinks of virtual, they usually think of a computer or television image or program. I think that virtual architecture is found in buildings that communicate a “story” or “meaning”. This idea of virtual correlates to the constant emphasis that is being put on abstract, rather than on literal. Virtual architecture is not necessarily abstract, but it is not literal. Let’s look at the precedent that I have chosen for my precedent analysis project. The Crystal Cathedral does not look like your typical church. It looks like an obnoxiously large glass business building. There is no sign of the cross unless you are looking from above, in which case the plan view resembles a cross. This building is not obvious about the purpose it serves until the interior is experienced. The Gothic Revival during eclecticism contradicts this idea of “virtual”. In England, the Gothic Revival during the 19th century coincides with a religious movement. “The revival of the Gothic style in England coincided with, and gave support to, a liturgical reform. The Gothic Revival phase of eclecticism that emerged in the 1840s in England was linked with a liturgical movement within the English Anglican church” (Roth, 480). When one sees a Gothic church, they instantly know that it is linked to Catholicism. This is a very literal concept. Virtual concepts are found within the interior as well. Experiencing an interior can be virtual in that a space can have a certain impact on you, but you won’t be able to put your finger on what makes it so effective. In fact, I think that the layering of elements and ideas within a space makes the interaction that much more virtual.

I believe that the main word to focus on this week is public/private. All four other words are the determinants of what makes a space public or private. For example, the craft of a residence will often be greater in that of residency than that of an office building. Why? Because in residential design, the designer is designing on a more personal level, and creating things within the space that relate to the client. Details might be traditional or more organic or geometric depending on the taste of a client, while office building design needs to be more generic, or applicable to all people.  Technique is also important in terms of public or private. 

Precedent Analysis Essay: Draft 1

The cycle of design is dependent upon the borrowing of building styles from previous eras. These buildings that are the foundation of another design are called precedents. Precedents are used throughout the history of architecture and design to inspire those styles to come. The Crystal Cathedral is a major example of a building that is a potential precedent for the future of religious architecture.
Before the Garden Grove Cathedral existed a small “drive-in church”, founded by Rev. Robert Schuller and his wife, in Garden Grove, California. This drive-in replicated that of a drive-in movie: lots of space for parked cars and a projector screen in the front. The popularity of these services increased as word was spread. However, as the local congregation grew to be near 10,000, it was necessary to build a new church to house all of these people In 1970, Schuller approached architect Philip Johnson, asking him if he would build a larger structure. Schuller had desired to have a chapel made out of glass, to create the same drive-in interaction. This demand for a bigger church led to the design of the “Crystal Cathedral” by Johnson and his partner, John Burgee. The construction of the Garden Grove cathedral was completed and opened to the public in 1980. This church accommodates about 3000 worshippers along with 1,000 musicians. It houses the “Hour of Power”; a religious television program that is so popular, it is now international.
The crystal cathedral reaches a height of 128 feet, while spanning 415 feet in length and 207 feet in width. The exterior is constructed of silver-colored glass held in place by 16,000 white steel trusses. On the interior, the area for musicians was constructed of marble imported from Spain. The altar and pulpit are made of granite, and the 17-foot cross at the front is made from wood and 18-karat gold. Balconies are held in place by white concrete columns. The Crystal Cathedral was built with consideration to the popularity of earthquakes in California. It is designed to withstand an earthquake of 8.0 and winds up to 100 miles an hour. The spire is comprised of stainless steel prisms. The Crystal cathedral is cruciform in plan; however, the crossing lines come to a point. The interior is laid out so that the altar and pulpit are at the front, and clearly separate from the audience. There is a middle seating section with one aisle on each side, and then there are also two raised balconies, each coming from opposite points. Light is a crucial element in design, as Johnson uses a complete façade of glass. This translucency allows for the entrance of light, particularly during the daytime. This sunlight causes the Cathedral to sparkle in a sacred way. Doors behind the pulpit also open to allow sunlight as well as breezes into the space. The structure system is clear in the interior, as Johnson does not try to hide the trusses, but instead, exposes them so that light can protrude through.
The Crystal Cathedral is one building. It is a unified whole. Its parts consist of its commodity, firmness and delight. First, it accommodates the amount of people in the church congregation, and then those who travel to this church from all over the world to participate in the “Hour of Power”. It accommodates its intended function of religious worship and entertainment, providing a space for religious service. Its structure is extremely firm, as I spoke of before. The manipulative trusses make the expanded ceiling possible, while the columns provide for withstanding of earthquakes and high winds. The structural organization also has a hierarchy to it. At the front point of the church stands the altar and pulpit. This is the hearth of the church, where the most important person stands, or where the most important people sing. Then comes the court, where the people sit. The people are also given importance in this space as seating spans the entire width of the church. Last but not least, this cathedral provides delight in its appearance. It is illuminated, like the heavens, to create an extreme effect of worship upon those inside. It is also delightful in its unique difference from a typical church. The light gives the cathedral a sense of life that could not be achieved in an enclosed church, and the use of natural materials such as wood and marble achieve the virtual idea of being outside, while actually still inside.
The Crystal Cathedral pulls away from the traditional religious spaces that we have studied in history. I have complete faith that this structure that breaks the rules will have an extreme impact on other spaces. I think this abstract worship space will give way to the rise of many other contemporary cathedrals across the country, if not the world. Some may argue that this huge structure takes away from the religious tradition. However, a religion is a religion despite the place where it is worshipped. I think the Crystal Cathedral provides the community with new ideas about how to design spaces for the public, and I know this building will become a prototype for those in the future.

information from here

Thursday, April 2, 2009