Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Explorations Unit Summary (Prompt)

Objects :

Not necessarily my closet...but my SHOES.

My bed.


My high school football stadium.

Ground Zero, NYC.


Mosaic memorial for John Lennon, part of Strawberry Fields. Central Park, NYC.

Lucerne, Switzerland (and the Chapel Bridge).

Venice, Italy.

Buildings/ Structures:

Bird's Nest, Beijing, China.

The Great Wall, China.

CCTV (China Central Television) Headquarters, Beijing, China.

Each of these places speak to me directly from life experiences; each of these pictures I personally took myself. (Therefore, I apologize for the lack of balance and composition in a few of these images.)

Final Opus Entry: Coming Full Circle

Community. Community is groups of interaction among peoples contained or defined together in a similar environment. The late 20th century brought about many forms of modernism and a lack of a sense of an international style. The European and American forms of Modernism experienced a “reaffirmation of community, of treating environments for groups of people, living and working together in ancestral traditional ways” (Roth 607). The presence of the sense of community restores a sense of comfort in individuals lives, I feel. I think this because our culture seems to be slightly shaken by change in a sense; American society becomes uncomfortable when something doesn’t seem “right” or “fit” in their eyes. When sex became a topic for discussion and scientific studies, society did not know how to react; when gay Americans were seen as not having some sort of disorder and they were normal just drawn to the similar sex, society didn’t know how to accept these people, similarly to the African Americans, and the Hispanics and Middle Easterns of today. Reestablishing the sense of community brought about a comfort to society, seeing similar designs stamped across a specific plane, individuals felt at ease feeling “normal” or “just like everyone else.” Coming from the restored sense of community came “a consistent design that results in a related family of forms, and even more important, an appropriateness of scale and an organization of spaces that arise from the ethos of those who live there” (Roth 607). This information revealed by Roth confirms my opinion that community in society brings comfort; because it brings a sense of appropriateness, society feels a sense of normality. Also because the design is around the “ethos of those who live there,” then those tied in a community will feel as if they are just like their neighbors, without much of a sense of competition. The ideas of community go back further than piazzas, and quite possibly back to Stonehenge. Stonehenge brought about a sense of community from the concentric circles and space creating a harmony and unity, bringing comfort to those peoples, no matter what the original intent was for the structure. The presence of community ties together peoples and brings to the forefront of their minds comfort and security. Another design form which promoted a forced sense of ‘community’ was critical regionalism. This brought a “reexamination of local climate and structural, formal, and stylistic traditions- a sensitive merging of the indigenous with the introduced” (Roth 603). I feel that this brought about a sense of forced community because it incorporated the idea of regionalism, or creating structures in similar likenesses based on the types of people in a specific amount of land.

Stewardship. When I first hear this term, I think of a stewardess on a flight. The job of a stewardess is to supervise the distribution of other resources, food and drink, to the passengers. Stewardship goes hand in had with the term ‘sustainablility.’ The steward must be aware of her resources, or her foods and drinks, in order to meet the needs of the passengers while not running out of supplies. Sustainable architecture in essence does the same as a stewardess; this design form brought about a “concern for sustainability of the biological environment, the sustenance of the encompassing community of flora and fauna on which humans are utterly reliant” (Roth 608). Just as the stewardess, designers found the need to pay attention to their resources because it was brought to their attention the realities of global warming and depleting resources. They acknowledged the fact that humans rely on these materials, and therefore the sustainability of structures became crucial. Designers approached this by the “careful use of energy…better use of natural light and exploit the latest technology in glazing design” (Massey 222). The concept of innovation grew from the need for stewardship.

Innovation. I feel that innovation sprouting from stewardship brought about a real need for interior designers; innovation brought interior designers to a new hierarchy because innovation was based around taking what was established by the architect and altering its original intent creating another purpose for the structure. The exterior would remain, and quite often the original floor plan, yet the interior experienced a transformation. This idea of innovation was to “refit and refurbish existing buildings” (Massey 226). In sociology, using innovation was a part of Morton’s Goal-Means Gap in which the society has a certain goals and specific means or ways to achieve the goal yet the means weren’t accessible to everyone, therefore certain groups chose new ways of viewing Morton’s Goal-Means Gap. Innovation was one of four reactions to the goals and means in society in which individuals took unconventional means to achieve the culturally approved goal. I feel that this also relates to architecture in the 20th century. I feel that the unconventional means would be the remodeling of buildings as opposed to tearing them down and building a socially-fit structure that was needed to meet the goal of sustainability, or stewardship. This introduction to a new method of design brought about the possibility of sustainability. The 20th century was full of innovations when innovation is seen as introducing a new idea or method, providing the evidence that modern design was a vague term at describing numerous forms of innovation.

Authenticity. When I think of something being authentic, I think of materials. An authentic object is made from real materials to me. Also, when I hear authentic, I think of food…Mexican and Italian to be specific. In architecture, this would consist of the celebration of traditional forms. Yet, in architecture, authenticity was a constant debate or off-and-on trend in design in relation to the pure or original forms of design from the Greeks and Romans. I feel the Grecians and Roman designs are the authentic design forms, which compose the term ‘classical.’ Since the Greeks and Romans, the design world has held on to those natural, original ideas; while straying from them, it always seemed to be a cycle of strictly following the classical rules, to testing boundaries, to breaking the rules, to rewriting the original classical rules. The 20th century was a continuation of the cycle; Corbusier brought about the idea of breaking the rules when he first started modern design. His ideas and classical ideas are generally the two that have become either in battle or in harmony in design. Latent Classicism of the 1970s was an attempt to bring the two in harmony by “marry[ing] the technology driven aesthetic of modernism with the composition principles of Classicism” (Roth 586). This seemed to be an attempt for a truce between constant question of which was a better design form. They each gained respect in the design world, with classical having the highest. Canoic Classicism was the design form which “strove to stay close to the established standards, or canon, of forms and details, while introducing only minimal modern modifications” (Roth 589). This design form held strong to the classical design forms despite the current push for modern aesthetics. This showed that the design world was once again reverting to the classical style, yet it wasn’t an international desire, and therefore modern design forms continued to operate. Going back to my instinct when I hear the word authentic, the Deconstructivism design form celebrated the material. Deconstructivism was “’an architecture of disruption, dislocation, deflection, deviation, and distortion’”(Roth 601). I feel that this design form was a celebration of material because the central idea behind the structures was established based on the manipulation of materials. These building forms were created from the authentic material, and to me, appeared to celebrate such materials, while creating to the viewer an illusion creating discomfort. Another 20th century celebration of authenticity in another sense was the Fundamental Classicism. This design form celebrated the “purest geometrical constructs, in an effort to achieve ‘natural’ essential truth” (Roth 587). I feel that this design form celebrated the authenticity of shape. It sought to stick to geometric forms, which I feel are original and pure, creating a sense of authenticity of the structure.

This week was a blur. Being the end of the semester, everything kind of hit me all at once. Yet, all the while, this week I truly feel that we did experience ‘coming full circle.’ By reaching the present time in the design world, the perception of all design processes leading up to the present became evident. The mollusk shell was an extremely sufficient visual example of the design world from x to y. I finally got to realize how the design world truly does continue to hold the past designs on its back in a sense, and that each compartment added to the whole.

“In architecture, as in all operative arts, the end must direct the operation. The end is to build well. Well building hath three conditions: commodity, firmness, and delight.”
-Sir Henry Wotton

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Meditation. Celebration. The time of modernism and postmodernism is a time of unique pairings which ironically are in a sense idioms to which modernism was in accordance with. Meditation is the polar opposite of celebration, yet the times of modern design managed to join the two to create a somewhat sense of harmony. Meditation makes me think of alone time, in a relaxing or serene state of pondering or thought. The modern designers meditated on the classical design forms and the blossoming technological advances of the time and attempted to develop a design form either combining the two or disheveling one or the other. The products of the meditation on design forms brought about a celebration of the industrial aesthetic of a structure. The contemporary design of the Joseph Shops used the celebration of the industrial aesthetic to create the sense of a somewhat serene, controlled state. These shops “incorporated industrial materials…to produce a mood of control and understatement which has now been widely emulated” (Massey 201). When one is in meditation, they are in control of their body and are aware of their thoughts while also becoming relaxed. The contemporary form of design used the simplicity of industrial materials to portray a sense of relaxed control, which in essence to me created a meditating-worthy environment, or an essence of comfort. Also, as mentioned before, the modern design was a celebration of the twentieth century advancements. The booming technological advances and the emphasis on economy through industry and manufacturing brought about a celebration of such establishments. The nineteenth century also sought for celebrating advances, an idea which carried out the more progress that was made internationally. I feel the hi-tech branch of modernism is a strong example for the celebration of technology. “The ‘Hi-Tech’ movement celebrated the aesthetic of industrial production” (Massey 195). The hi-tech design form led to the services of the building becoming the ornament of the exterior and the interior becoming flexible. The use of industrial materials brought about the industrial aesthetic and was a blatant display of celebration. Celebration and meditation worked together in the design world of the twentieth centuries, which also aids in the mystery of the indefinite line of what is modern design and what isn’t. The connection between ironic pairs blurs the vision of spectators and even further blurs the line of the term modern.

Light. Shadow. In art, light and shadow are parallel to the terms tints and shades. The terms refer to the intensity of the presence of black or darkness in an area. Light and shadow create a contrast (or lack of) to which the viewer is able to see definite shapes and decipher one piece from another. Twentieth century design experienced a time in which light was extremely important; the amount of light led to the amount of shadow in a space. The attempt at integrating “inside and outside” or “interior and exterior” has been a several century obstacle. The modernist design period brought about an essence of mastering the integration of the two. Philip Johnson’s ‘Glass House’ was seen as mastering the obstacle where he created “a simple cube with four glass curtain walls” (Massey 150). I would argue however that the Crystal Palace was a very well crafted integration of interior and exterior in terms of nature. The effect created from the glass walls was the immense amount of natural light which could captivate the interior of the structure paired with the ability to see the outside would around the viewer. After Johnson’s development, the value of natural light in a space became important. During the green design of the 1970’s, the interior of the structure became very environmentally friendly. There was an intent to make sufficient use of natural light and therefore the “main living area features a south-facing, curved window to exploit the available solar energy” (Massey 188). Natural light was a source of saving energy while lighting the interior and exposing the furniture to the viewer. Before the incorporation of color into modern design, it was seen as being mostly black and white design, which would result from the use of shadow and light in the design process. The international Modern interior placed emphasis on electric lighting sources during the mid-twentieth century; the interiors had a “scattering of free standing lamps superseded wall-brackets or the single source of light fixed to the ceiling. (Massey 161). When I picture the modern designed living room and the electrical lighting sources, I think of the old shows on TV Land which show the interior of homes with electric lighting. I can picture the black and white shows displaying the artificial light and the way it effected the space; I feel artificial light brings a sense of darker hues and a seemingly plastic environment.

Transpose. Juxtapose. These two terms are again used in accordance during the modern design world ironically. The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines the two terms as:
“Transpose- to change in form or nature; to render into another language, style, or manner of expression”
“Juxtapose- to place side by side”
Transpose, in the big picture can be seen as the modern design form itself. The modern design was a challenge to the previous century of revival and imitation of classical forms of design. Transpose also consumes transition experienced in the interior space of a structure; the language of the interior changed becoming the identity or reflection of the owner. The style of the interior during the modern design went through many ‘transpositions’ in which simplicity outweighed fluidity, and organic forms overshadowed exotic forms. The interior also experienced transpositions through the surface treatment of the interior; texture, hue, shape changed throughout the many branches of modern design. The interior of the Corbusier modern form differed from that of the Pop design form or the contemporary design. Each transposition created a different form which could be seen as juxtaposed forms of modern design. Each of these varying forms when laid out can be taken apart to reveal the basics of modern design. The fluidity of change in the transpositions brought about an essence of juxtaposition meaning that each design form connected to the other, where it was additive or subtractive to the initial modern aesthetic developed by Corbusier. Juxtaposition was also taken literally in modern interior design forms. The American Modern interior incorporated organic forms with varying surface treatments. The varying objects with certain surface treatments had a “tendency to juxtapose textures and patterns” (Massey 161). The juxtaposition of surface treatments brought about a lesser sense of order and an increase in the relation to the viewer’s appeal to the eye. During the Psychedelic Movement (another transposition of modern design), the Pop and Surreal art forms became the ornament of the interior. The interior saw “bizarre juxtaposition of incongruous objects in deliberate ‘bad taste’ in strangely fit, bright colored interiors” (Massey 185). In essence, during the different transpositions of modern design, juxtaposed objects were used in the interior to create movement for the viewer and a superimposed sense of order in unexpected manors.

Once again, I misspell another word in a sketch. Snaps for Riley!

Literal. Abstract. These polar opposites, once again compose the broad twentieth century design form called modern. Literal is a somewhat self explanatory word; what you see is what you get. What is brought in front of the eye is clear, harmonious, and direct. Abstract is somewhat unclear or not necessarily a tangible being brought to the eye. Abstract is pretty much anything it wants to be. As an art form, abstract is often very thought provoking and is self expression of the owner, it doesn’t have to be clear or easily perceived by the audience. During the time in modern design in which the industrial aesthetic was a fervent design idea, the interior as well as exterior of the structures were very literal in essence. The material used for creating the interior or exterior weren’t fashioned in any way in which the viewer was uncertain of what the material was, there was no thought process in analyzing the space because what was seen was the reality of the space. In the interior, “items in which the design was simple, of good proportions, and without dust-collecting features” (Massey 159) were seen as good design. Simplicity was seen as key, ornament and bedazzlement of the interior or exterior wasn’t seen as ‘good design’ in the early modern time. Roth speaks on modernism on page 539 and states, “Their ascetic architecture was to make no statement other that to reveal itself.” This statement shows the intent of early modern design, which was to emphasis simplicity and literal expression. Later, in the modern design period, heavily during the Psychedelic Movement, the use of Pop and Surreal art forms were used to “deliberately disorient” the viewer (Massey 185). This was heavily brought about by drug use and Op art. The Pop, Op, and Surreal art forms were seen as abstract, they brought about visual illusions and, like mentioned before, disoriented the viewer. The juxtaposition in the interior of surface treatment, I feel, is another form of abstraction in the later modern design world; the viewer doesn’t necessarily comprehend immediately what is before their eyes, they must look at each piece individually to be able to view the space as a whole. Abstract and literal where two ideas that were played with and tweaked during the modern design period; many view literal as the stronger of the two because it was more like the intention of Le Corbusier when her first envisioned a ‘New Architecture.’

Monologue. Dialogue. The terms themselves are pretty apparent as to what they mean; monologue being a ‘conversation’ between one being and dialogue a ‘conversation’ between several beings. The relation of the two in modern design connect to one another, just as all the other previous prompts have. The initial intent of modern design, I feel was somewhat a monologue. Corbusier expressed his ideas for a ‘New Architecture’ in which ornament was stripped and the rules of architecture were challenged and seen in a new light. His structures he composed were very simple, and literal in essence. His monologue can be seen in two lights. First, I feel he expressed that he wanted the development of architecture to be thought through deeper than appearance, he wanted to see architecture with a purpose, having been laid out based around an inspiration. Secondly, I feel he wanted the architecture form to “make no statement other than to reveal itself…” or “if the architecture did speak, it was only about current building technology and structural science” (Roth 539). The structures communicated in the essence of the building itself, or exemplified a monologue to the onlookers. Dialogues came later as the modern design world took flight. The incorporation of varying surface treatment brought about a dialogue between the objects and textures and hues themselves. Later, dialogue formed through the incorporation of “antique and contemporary” (Massey 208). The classical forms became drawn back into design, yet altered to become more modern. The expression of classical forms revealed the designer’s intelligence of the design world, yet the integration of the modern forms brought about credibility for designing in their specific time period, appealing to the consumer demands, as well as adding to what’s previously seen as ‘modern.’ Modern and classical forms then also shared a dialogue. With the increase in modern design, and the beginning of interior design as a profession, modern design brought about a literal dialogue as well. This would be the dialogue between the designer and the homeowner, as well as the homeowner and the interior. The interior became the spokesman of the individual owner, and therefore interior designers aided in the communication to which the homeowner desired. Modern design brought about a transformation as an initial monologue to incorporating many voices and becoming a dialogue.

I am somewhat glad that we have started having the quizzes on the reading, of course I don’t do well because I never remember what I am supposed to when I am supposed to, but I feel the reading has helped me in my prompts for the opus project. I feel that this week’s opus was very intriguing, I like modern design and I have enjoyed seeing the [pair]ing down of antonyms to create one form of design. I like the freedom in the design, yet it does concern me the lack of awareness of the environment and what is structurally needed and the emphasis on creating architecture as almost solely art forms. I am excited to see where technology takes our modern design next. It seems that there’s a cycle from renovation to design and reverting back to classical roots, so perhaps in the near future we will see Roman and Grecian forms prevail again…

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

OPUS WEEK 12: action verbs

Speculate. To speculate is to look back upon, to reflect on. The Miriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines speculate as “to review something idly or casually and often inconclusively.” During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, designers expressed a time of speculation. The Modern movement brought about the deciphering of designers as to what constitutes modern design; even today, what is seen as modern design is not a clear cut definition, the speculation on what modern design was continues to be inconclusive. Modern design reflected on the art forms of the time and attempted to reinvent those concepts into architectural forms. “Modernism is the umbrella name for a bewildering number of movements- Cubism, Expressionism, Futurism, Dadaism, Serialism, Surrealism… (Weston)” Designers reflected and pondered, or speculated on these movements and in turn introduced them into the design world architecturally as well. I chose to draw spectacles because you use them in the aid of viewing something to review on and dwell on, much like the term speculate.

Compose. To compose is to create a whole by putting together smaller parts. Because of the inspirations from art in design, the buildings of the modern time were composed in a new way. “The Modern movement stripped away unnecessary ornament from the interior (Massey 63).” The interior of the structures were composed of the basics, simplicity was valued during modern design. Structures were composed of manufactured consumer goods, the ideas of rationalization and standardization, and democratic forms of design. (Massey 63). Also, during the time of modern design, the idea of compose was taken literally; there were consumer goods which were to be composed, or put together after the purchase. This brought about the idea of parts creating a whole. The whole idea of composing is creating a whole out of certain parts. The Modern movement and modern design were composed differently, yet they both were created from the Industrial movement and expressed the value of flattening art and surface treatment.

Energize. The twentieth century was an energized time period in the design world. The modern design brought radical design changes and challenges to known rules of design. Le Corbusier was a strong example of a designer who energized, or fed to the power of the design world. Le Corbusier, through his Five Points of New Architecture, declared “a new beginning through a re-formulation of the roots of architecture (Weston 94).” Weston declares that “Le Corbusier offers a machine-age structure and the promise of new freedoms in arranging both plans and facades…” Such declarations and ideas geared towards new designs brought a new jolt into the design world. Modernism energized the design world and became a form of design of its own; a development from the claimed rut that the previous century had been in, imitating ancient forms.

Shape. Modern design took on the idea of shape in a new way; the design took shape on more literally. Post-impressionism, Fauvism, and Cubism brought about the flattening of space to the surface, changing from attempts of creating 3-D to creating 2-D. Designers were intrigued by these art forms and began incorporating them into design. Destijl expressed his designs by creating them to be abstract down to the basics. This reinforces the idea that in interior became simplified, with less ornament. Machine age and technology brought about the desire to emulate those successes in the design world; in turn came the structures with industrial aesthetic. These structures emphasized line, geometric patterns, dramatic angles, fluidity… Le Corbusier began using pilotis to create the sense of the building being raised off of the ground in order to “emphasized the cubic nature of the building (Weston 9).” This reinforces his values placed on the shape of the structure coming forth as strong and important. Le Corbusier shows that shape is important when revealing space. When looking at structures from modern design, the first thing that occurs in my mind is the simplicity and the presence of shape in the space. Space is valued and that is expressed through simplicity, space is then emphasized through the use of shape. The idea of incorporating shape into the structure relates to the art nouveau form as well with the use of continuous line throughout the space.

Stretch. The concept of stretching was expressed from the eighteenth century into the nineteenth and twentieth. Vertically, the design world stretched as a result of the incorporation of the skyscraper. What once may have been a horizontally elongated structure has now become a roughly small horizontal stretched to an extreme vertical. Looking at the New York skyscrapers it looks as though a small, roughly square structure was pinched and pulled vertically stretching the structure to new heights. Soon after the physical stretching of structures, the stretching of design ideals developed. The ideas to which designs were based around became reflective of the society; designers stretched their design concepts to reveal certain aspects in society. The machine brought about designs, the car brought about designs, and the human body as well brought about designs in Gaudi’s case. Designers were stretching their thinking caps, stretching the design world and what was seen as acceptable and ideal forms of inspiration. The idea of space was also taken to new lengths. Le Corbusier inspired the stretch of the design world, like mentioned before. Roth, on page 530 says Le Corbusier expressed “urgency of completely reshaping modern architecture.” Roth is providing to the audience the realities of ways in which the designer stretched the rules of design to form a new modern form of architecture. One of his 5 points of architecture was the use of pilotis, or columns to “raise the house of the ground, freeing the site for the circulation of people and cars (Weston 9).” This radical stretch of what was known later brought about the literal stretching of metal when constructing chairs that appear to be weightless or floating: like the potato chip chair.

The week of action verbs was interesting for me; I love looking at modern architecture, often more so than classical forms. I find the structures so pleasing to my eye and I admire the way in which they do incorporate space and place emphasis on space in the structure. I found it interesting that designers began to think deeper than delight of the structure and put more thought into the details of the building in other aspects. The delight of the space came out of the evidence of thorough thought in creating the space; the space itself becomes the ornament. I enjoyed reading Weston’s introduction, I felt that he was easier to read and kept my attention more so than the other books in the class. I also appreciated seeing how art was even further incorporated into design, to the point that it was basically it’s entire inspiration.

Le Corbusier’s Five Points of New Architecture: (Weston)
1. Use of Columns or Pilotis
2. Flat roof as a roof-garden.
3. Free plan- exploiting freedom created by structural frame
4. Free fa├žade- glazing, infilling, or omitting non-load-bearing external walls
5. Long horizontal window

Peer-to-peer: Connection Building

I found that Elizabeth Green was doing her analysis on the Sports Stadia. I am doing my analysis on the Georgia Dome. Our two structures relate because they are both used for recreational purpses and are dome structures. I also felt they shared the concept of unity; the dome provides a sense of unity in the space, and athletics bring people together. I left a comment on her blog in regards to her draft as well as acknowledging the connection between the two structures.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Reflections Unit Summary

The reflections unit picks up at the end of the Baroque design period. After the rejection of the idea of breaking the rules and testing boundaries came the desire to revert back to the traditional forms of design and to the Renaissance. In other words, after the Baroque design period, in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the design world became a reflection of the traditional and ancient design world. The turn of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries brought about conflict, exploration, industrial revolution, media, and communication. This time period also brought about a definite middle class which attempted to mock the high class forms of design. Classical and traditional forms were incorporated into architectural design. As a result of exploration, colonies were established in North America under British rule. The colonial style structures were similar to that of England. There was the incorporation of the “hall and parlor” plan within the design of the home, similar to that of the palazzos in Italy. There were separate quarters for sleeping and entertaining, which still is in residential design forms today. During this time there were also worldwide revolutions taking place. A revolution is a drastic and far thinking ways of change, thus causing motion and turning the world “upside down.” Revolutions are a cycle to which change is brought, comprised of revival, rotation, cycle, reform, and Renaissance. Effects of the revolutions were prevalent and incorporated into designs. Colonial America showed their desire for separation from Britain through design; they returned to “inside the box” design forms, rebelling against heavy Baroque styles, and returned to classical, clean-cut forms. The interior of homes became the defining point of the individual, and therefore a concentration on the interior began developing. Colonial America would imitate ancient Grecian style as opposed to Roman because England was more inclined to imitate the Roman form of design; this is displayed in the American capital city, D.C. This time period also brought about the crossing of east and west in designs. The west developed a desire for an exotic appeal in the interior of structures which were represented through eastern art forms as well as eastern goods. The Silk Road and other trade routes brought the ideas of eastern design to the west. Westerners imitated Egyptian, Chinese, and Japanese design forms by including symbols on the surface of goods while creating a “new” form from eastern ideas. During the time of eastern and western design mingling, the aesthetic movement presented itself. There was a desire that art touched every wall of the interior space. Exotic design forms often consumed a space, like in the Peacock Room. The industrial revolution heavily affected Europe and America. The introduction of machine capability brought about easier manufacturing, as well as quicker. The machine also allowed a sense of mass production of goods. The machine brought controversy because many designers like William Morris favored the originality of a hand-crafted piece as opposed to the conventional machine crafted piece. Glass and iron also brought about a change in the design world. Structures were build out of glass and metal, which could be easily produced in mass forms and brought about easy construction. These materials gave structures a more delicate appeal. Greenhouses and train stations were created through the use of glass and iron. Iron was lightweight, had more tensile strength, and was thought to be fireproof. Structures such as the Crystal Palace, created out of glass, brought a delusion of interior and exterior. In America, the industrial revolution and the introduction of iron and metal into construction brought about the development of the skyscraper which had a vertical emphasis as opposed to horizontal. Jenney’s development of the iron skeletal system in a structure while building in Chicago made the vertical expansion possible. The nineteenth century design world brought about new building types and significance of art forms in design; yet the central essence of these centuries were to stay away from breaking boundaries, and to be a reflection of the ancient traditional design rules.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Opus: Road Trip

Roots. Roots are the source or provider of growth for a particular being. Plant life grows and remains thriving due to the roots which hold them into the ground. Plant’s roots provide the plant with nutrients, the necessities to keep maturing and thriving. The plant differs in appearance than the root itself, while also maintaining the branch-like structure similar to that of its roots. The nineteenth century architecture developed based on the structural and ornamental appeals of architecture’s roots. The nineteenth century designers referred back to times in history and were inspired by historical forms to create a more modern design while still appealing to the historical aesthetics. The main historical forms that composed the roots of the nineteenth century plant were the Greek and Roman Classicism, Gothic, and Egyptian designs as well as art forms. These designs inspired the nineteenth century designers, yet the pieces of the nineteenth century were slightly more modern. Like the plant looking different in appearance from its roots, so did architecture of the nineteenth century. This “informed and selective borrowing of historical building forms and details rooted in associationalism (Roth 470)” was known as eclecticism. Eclecticism was the plant/ tree which thrived from the roots of historical design. Roth mentions that the idea of eclecticism was rooted in associationalism as well, in other words, the designers of the nineteenth century chose their historical form to pull from in relation to the building type. Roth explains that classicism was associated with “governmental and commercial buildings (481)” while Gothic was associated with “religious and educational (481)” forms. Greek and Roman structure gives the audience a sense of authority and power, which would explain why they used the style for political and economic sources; the two which depict a nation’s power. Roth also says that the Egyptian style was associated with “funerary buildings, gates to cemeteries, medical schools, jails and prisons because of the massiveness of construction (482).” Eclecticism itself also branches out, much like that of a tree. Synthetic, creative, academic, and romantic national eclecticism were the branches of this form of design to modernize the root, historical designs.
I also found that the late 18th century and early 19th century forms, which entailed the Art Nouveau form, brought about a form of design which encompassed the significance of line. Through the use of line, I feel that in many of the designs of this time, an essence of organic forms is created, often looking like roots to me. I was looking at the picture on page 513 in Roth and observed that the room in Casa Mila with the curving lines in the iron and the walls, ceilings, and floors, and I felt an essence of roots. The column to me visually gave me a sensation of organic, root-like feel.

Congruence. When I first hear the term congruence, I think of geometry and triangles. In geometry shapes are congruent if they are the same shape and same size. also said that congruence is “agreement, harmony, conformity, or correspondence.” I found that definition intriguing personally, I hadn’t realized congruence could also mean that. During the time of eclecticism, there was a desire to refer to historical forms and design. Eclecticism at one point focused on “archaeological accuracy (Roth 472).” Much like the definition of being the same shape and size, the goal of this point in eclectic design was to make everything accurately like its prototype. Roth continues on this on page 472 when he says designers made “sure the entasis of a column was exactly like that of its prototype, the curve of a capital was correct, the number of cusps on a Gothic finial was faithful, the arrangement of tracery of a Perpendicular Gothic window was authentic, or the inclination of the battered wall of an Egyptian pylon was right.” During the time of revivalism, congruence was extremely significant. I feel that the the nineteenth century in general was a time of congruence; I feel the goal was to create designs that were similar to historic designs, but mostly to create a sense of harmony in design. Through association, it seemed as though there were agreements as to which form of design suited which structure.

Concept. Referring back to the plant and roots, I feel that the plant or tree itself would be the concept. To me, a concept is a central idea or form to which certain sources created the idea. The roots created the tree. History created the nineteenth century concept of design. I feel the concept of design for the nineteenth century was eclecticism. The desire to go back to historic references in the design world brought about the growth of the eclectic idea. There were different branches of eclecticism, yet the concept or the central idea was the same. defined concept as “a general idea derived or inferred from specific instances or occurrences.” That definition clearly describes the eclectic form of design. Revivalism also was a concept, a concept to which congruence was key. On page 469, Roth quotes Eugene-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc “’Must the nineteenth century, then, come to a close without ever possessing an architecture of its own?’” The concept of referring to the past and using historic sources appeared as though the nineteenth century lacked in progression as far as its own forms of design, yet out of this century came eclecticism. I feel eclecticism embodies the nineteenth century concept of design, which then would be a form of its own.

Materiality. Materials for building were changing during the nineteenth century. Construction was becoming more of an ease, mass production sped up construction time, and concrete, metal, and glass helped take architectural forms to new heights.
Metal + Glass + Concrete = Vertical
With the introduction of iron and steel, the constructions of massive buildings were possible. Mass production of glass brought about the ability to change the aesthetic of a building. The Crystal Palace, a structure of mass scale which was possible through iron, was made of glass. This brought about an organic feel, a relation to nature which hadn’t been known. These new materials also brought with them the train system, large public buildings, and greenhouses.
Materials also brought about the development of the high rise office buildings in the United States. Through the discovery found by William Jenney, these materials allowed construction to go vertical. Jenney was constructing the Home Insurance Office Building in Chicago where he “decided to use and iron skeletal frame, not only on the inside but in the exterior walls as well (Roth 506).” The use of iron framework acting as the skeletal system of a building reduced the weight of the building, which allowed construction to reach new heights, literally. The ease to which the materials of the nineteenth century brought construction led to the growth of the design world to verticals and no longer only horizontal.

Compression: Release. Compression is created through the addition of outside pressure pushing inward. Release is to free something from confinement, to give leeway. Since the form of the dome, compression and release have been used in architecture as a mode to sustain the firmness of a building. During the late nineteenth century and the development of the skyscraper, Jenney created the method of construction involving the iron skeletal system. Through the use of the skeletal system, “iron and steel frames reduced the total weight of these office blocks by half or more (Roth 507).” The iron skeletal system consisted of the compression of the exterior and interior forms against iron and steel structures throughout the building, which in turn releases as Roth mentioned about half of the pressure on the structure itself which would be inflicted by weight. Compression and release work together to make building vertically possible without concerns of how much weight the structure can withstand. For my P.A. project, I am doing the Georgia Dome, which also uses such Compression and Release principles to enable firmness. The dome was created based on a tensegrity cable system to which through compression, or pressure on some areas and releasing pressure in other areas enables the dome to remain stable without having large columns throughout the structure holding the dome up. The four round corners of the structure are the most crucial areas to which compression and release are used to provide stability.

The road trip unit was fairly easy for me to understand, I felt like I got slightly more than the gist of this unit. I was interested in the development and construction of the skyscraper. I liked how much of the prompts this week related to each other, it helped me to make connections. I am a visual learner, so it helped me to comprise the terms into a picture of a tree in order to describe the nineteenth century designs. The nineteenth century’s effect on the design world was the development of eclecticism, skyscrapers, new building forms, massive scales.