Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Drafting Portfolio: 2nd Half

Model [Sacred Space]: Meditation
Model [Sacred Space]: Celebration
Sketch Up View #8
Sketch Up View #7
Sketch Up View #6
Sketch Up View #5
Sketch Up View #4
Sketch Up View #3
Sketch Up View #2
Sketch Up View #1
Axonometric Projection Lettering Quiz
Rendered Section of Sacred Space
Rendered Section of Sacred Space
Rendered Plan of Sacred Space
Sections of Gatewood 118 and 120
Sections of Gatewood 118 & 120
Crit Room: Interior Perspective
Stair Research
Plan of Gatewood 118 & 120
15 x 15 Interior Perspective
15 x 15 Exterior Perspective
Book Work Page One
Book Work Page 2

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Precedent Analysis: Revised Essay

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, with a desire to hold on to the idea of a drive-in. This goal was the cause of the resulting materials used in construction as well as the layout of the church. The product of this goal resulted in 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.

The Crystal Cathedral towers over many of its surrounding buildings. Though it is massive in height and span, its visual weight is deceiving. This church is made out of silver colored glass, which is pieced together by steel trusses. This glass is what allows for the deceiving “lightness” of the structure. It also supports the idea of a “drive-in”. Being able to see to the outside from the interior creates a seamless-ness. So while people are worshipping inside, they actually feel like they’re outside, back in the historic “drive-in” service. The layout is also crucial to enforce religious beliefs. Like most churches and cathedrals, the Crystal Cathedral provides a modified version of porch, court and hearth. The outside lawn is the porch. From this lawn, people enter the cathedral, transitioning from a public place to somewhere more private: the court. The hearth is specified by the massive wooden structure, which is a backdrop for the altar, where the most important person (the priest) gives his sermons. Also like many cathedrals in history, light is a crucial element in design. Johnson uses a complete fa├žade of glass, and though it may or may not have been intentional, the entrance and exit of light throughout the space is what creates a “sacred space”. Further supporting the idea of a drive-in, doors behind the pulpit also open to allow sunlight as well as breezes into the space. The structure system could be compared to that of the postmodern era, as Johnson does not try to disguise the structural elements of the building, but instead, exposes the steel and glass 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.

What strikes me about The Crystal Cathedral is its ability to follow all the preconceived ideas of a religious space, but also suggest new ideas. If someone were to look at this building, he would not guess that it were a cathedral. He might be close in thinking it was a place of entertainment, but without seeing the large cross in the tower next to it, it is impossible to identify. It clearly pulls away from the traditional religious spaces that we have studied in history by obtaining many dualities. First, I will suggest that it has both transparent and opaque qualities. The building itself is transparent in that you can see right through it. However, it is opaque in a sense that it is unidentifiable as a religious building. This is due to the switch from traditional stone, as seen in the Gothic era, to glass. Its theme also contradicts the purpose it serves in temporary versus permanent. The idea of a drive-in is somewhat of a temporary idea. It only serves its purpose as a drive-in when there are people parked. However, a cathedral is quite permanent. It’s not something you can pack up. It requires much more thought and intention.

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. Take the Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland for example. It is also a massive structure that rejects the idea of stone in a religious building. It, too, uses projection of images on the lengthy walls. Being that it is placed next to commercial buildings, its purpose is disguised. 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.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Explorations of Influence

Chateau de L'aile- Vevey, Switzerland
This chateau was a part of the Robert-Couvreau family many many years ago. It has now been renovated to provide living space for residents.
Venice, Italy
Venice is a place where I dream to go. With the history that I know now, it would be ignorant not to visit there.
The Louvre, Paris
The juxtaposition of this Industrial Sculpture next to a series of classical buildings leaves much room for interpretation and inspiration.
Classic Ray Ban Wayfarers
Revival through trends. I own a pair... and they are my way of keeping it classy.
New York City, New York
One of the most historic cities in America in terms of development and industry. It is also a place I like to call home (or close enough).
Church of Hagia Sophia- Istanbul, Turkey
Inspiration by use of light. This church is unique as it was built while Gothic Cathedrals were going up in countries like Italy and France. It looks nothing like Amiens, or the Duomo.
Carcassonne, France
A French Exchange Program. We visited this site (La Cite) and learned about how it used to house the entire city of Carcassonne, which has now expanded a great amount.
Family Crest
This ring has been a tradition in my family for centuries. A Family is received through marriage or birth. It is given on a child's sixteenth birthday, or on the day of marriage.
Grand Central Terminal, New York City, New York
I see the inside of this building at least 25 times every summer, commuting back and forth to Long Island to visit friends. It makes more and more architectural sense every time I see it. Its beauty never leaves.
The Nautilus Shell
My admissions project for this program. The abilities that this shell has, as well as its fit with commodity, firmness and delight, helps me understand the concepts of architecture. However, this shell is not only representative of architecture or mathematics, but of life.


Sunday, May 3, 2009

Coming Full Circle

COMMUNITY: a social group of any size whose members reside in a specific locality, share government, and often have a common cultural and historical heritage; a locality inhabited by such a group

Community is a major consideration in architecture and design. Why? Because usually a firm builds or designs for a group of people, whether it’s for a family or an entire town. Depending on the community, there will be limitations that are set on how a design is created. These limitations often reference style, context, time period, etc. An example of the importance of community is seen in the time of critical regionalism. “One of the notable aspects of critical regionalist reactions to imported Euro-American Modernism was the reaffirmation of community, of creating environments for groups of people, living and working together in ancestral traditional ways” (Roth, 607). This idea of designing for a community coexists with the concept of creating a community within a design. “What makes housing complexes successful are two essential factors: a consistent design that results in a related family of forms and an appropriateness of scale and an organization of spaces that arise from the ethos of those who will live there” (Roth, 607). Communities are particularly influential in the 21st century due to the fact that populations are growing and there is more need for things such as communal housing and villages. This raises another complication: Mass Construction while respecting the rise of sustainability. Sustainability is becoming a huge idea within architecture due to stewardship towards the environment and a concern about decreasing global warming.

STEWARDSHIP (steward): One who is actively concerned with the direction of the affairs of an organization

With sustainability, we have stewardship, or lack thereof. If Global warming wasn’t an issue, I’m not so sure that sustainable design would even exist. Global warming rose with lack of concern about our earth. We were ignorant of the harm we were causing, allowing the problems to increase in severity, and now there are threats that the world will come to an end. Right there, is the lack of stewardship. However, stewardship is rising in architecture and design firms, with new restrictions and alternate ideas. “The overriding issue is that of sustainability, which has grown in importance on a global level, and for the field of design generally. As awareness about issues such as scarce resources and global warming is raised, so government policy in the developed world calls for a more responsible use of precious materials and energy” (Massey, 219). This responsible use refers to the awareness of toxicity of materials as well as the lifecycle of these materials and how much energy is inputted into particular building technologies. This type of stewardship is the only way to go about design these days. For the most part, the more earth-friendly you are, the more chance you have of scoring a client, especially in commercial design. There are many ways designers go about sustainability. However, two specific ways involve renovation and deconstruction.

AUTHENTICITY: being genuine or real

The idea of authenticity in design refers to how a building came to be, whether it was constructed from scratch, renovated into a new building, or taken apart to be something more simple. One major design movement that involves authenticity is deconstructionism. During the deconstruction movement, designers were all about “composing an interior which looks as if it might fall apart, a loose collection of different technological and structural elements” (Massey, 216). This idea of structural element involves the exposure of systems as part of the design. A good example of this exposure is seen in Herzog and de Meuron’s Turbine Hall. Instead of disguising the systems, “they exploited the might of the vast Turbine Hall as the key public space of the building. Industrial materials are laid bare” (Massey, 228). Renovation is also a major part of authentic versus artificial. Preservation and recycling of existing buildings was a major part of a step towards sustainability in both hotel design and commercial building. This consistent presence of architecture, regardless of change, is supported by Eisenman “… there is always some being-in as opposed to the condition of being-as. It is the being in that architecture that is questioned” (Massey, 602).

INNOVATION: the introduction of something new; a new idea, method or device

Sustainable design is an innovation in itself. As far back as Egypt goes, people have never been worrying about how their use of products would impact the future. Sure, there have been considerations about how long materials would last, and how the buildings would be used in the future, but as far as consideration of the environment goes, sustainable concern is at an extreme. Like I said above, sustainability has caused many new considerations and limitations in design, causing designers to come up with new ways to approach building projects. For example, Ken Yeang came up with a new building type appropriate for the sustainable movement. “By the early 1980’s, Yeang had begun to define a new building type, the tropical skyscraper, exploiting strategies for reducing the need for energy consumption (especially for ventilation and cooling), for incorporating elevated masses of landscaping, and for facilitating neighborhoods or communities of people in the high-rise building” (Roth, 609). The computer also became a major part of design work. Technologies were growing and it became easier to develop ideas with computer programs. “The computer now makes possible the virtual creation of building projects that were never executed as well as the ability to recover buildings and environments of antiquity that no longer survive” (Roth, 611).

I know that there is usually a summary at the end of these, but I am going to take the last paragraph of Roth and analyze it and relate it to all four words above.

“Architecture is the art we cannot escape; it is over, under, around us virtually every second of our lives. An architecture of substance is more than simply a benevolent, protective umbrella; at its best, it interacts with us on our behalf, informing our memory, allowing us to become more human.” [Interaction has to do with community in that architecture is built for a specific group of people. This interaction is also an example of stewardship, in that community is a concern of the designer or firm]. “It is far more than shelter, more than a commodity for speculation, more than an expedient package, more than a capricious, artistic gambol. It is the built record of how we have ordered our cultural priorities, of who and what we are, and what we believe in.” [This idea of who we are and what we believe in has to do with authenticity, and someone following their genuine beliefs. These beliefs then create an authentic design that is not only real, but also original. Different from the others]. “The many contemporary expressions of modernism, how they reflect regional desires and needs, and how they respond to divergent theories on the role of architecture coupled with the emerging changes in how buildings are conceived and designed, make it impossible to say how architecture around the globe will develop in the century now opening- except to say that it will be ever changing and stimulating.” [This everchanging architecture is constantly raising new ideas and concepts for design. This is an example of innovation]