Monday, April 27, 2009

pairing down

meditation / celebration
light/ shadow
transpose / juxtapose
literal / abstract
monologue / dialog

Monday, April 20, 2009

action verbs


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Unit Summery: Reflections

The reflections unit focused on the design styles and practices of the 18th and 19th centuries. During this time the industrial revolution had begun and this greatly changed the way the design world was advancing. Styles from other countries were coming together with the trade with china opening up and with faster means of acquiring imports. Exotic imports began to flow across the world and create new styles among Europe. The movement of style across the world can be experience at the Royal Pavilion which was turned into a resort in Europe. The pavilion is in an Islamic style of architecture an the Royal Palace’s interiors were done in a Chinese style creating a multi cultural work.

The battle between depth and surface soon began. This dispute was between depth, such as the placement of items within a space for its natural appearance, and surface, the “decoration” of the space with wall paper and paint. This led the way into the Aesthetic and Arts and Crafts movements.

The Aesthetic movement began and in this movement it was thought that every surface within a structure should be covered by art. There were some who thought that machines should not be used to create multiples versions of a piece and that everything should be hand crafted. This was the view of William Morris who, during the Arts and Crafts movement, became the predominant voice against machinery.

The 19th century began the development of newer and less traditional structures and spaces. The introduction of new materials, technological advancement, and meaning behind design helped to advance the design world in ways that no one could have predicted.

Monday, April 13, 2009

road trip

compression : release

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

PA : National Theatre of Catalonia - Draft

The National Theatre of Catalonia, built in 1996, is an appealing and intriguing structure that resides in Barcelona, Spain. What makes this building so interesting is that it looks like an enclosed Greek Temple With a front wall made completely of glass. Ricardo Bofill, a native Barcelonan and the designer of other works such as Walden 7, designed his projects to demonstrate his ability to act in harmony with varying cultures and combining it with global knowledge. The National Theatre was designed to trace back through theatre’s roots and embody the forms that were predominant in the Ancient Greek cities and theatrical structures.

It was learned form history that using older forms of architecture and “following the rules” left most architecture looking the same and the structural integrity not up to what it was needed to be following the 19th century. The National Theatre could be classified as a structure that took inspiration from older forms of design but the inspiration was channeled in such a way to make this structure unique. The combination of Doric style columns and glass were used in an effective and evolved way which makes this building successful.

The National Theatre was designed with 26 commons, 13 on each side, that support the double-slop metallic roof. The structure has monumental dimensions of 315 by 184 feet which is much greater in size than any temple in the ancient world. The use of modern materials is what makes this structure stand out from traditional architecture inspired by the Greek style. The columns and roof are made of concert and the front and side walls are made of glazed glass curtain walls to allow the interior to be seen from the street. There are three different theatres which has seating for 900, 400, and 300 people. There is also an outdoor space, known as the Pla├ža de les Arts, which is sometimes used as an open air performance space.

The main foyer was a conceived as a large public gathering space with internal vegetation to give the illusion of still being outside but without the heat and elements. Within this space resides the ticket office, cloakroom, information center, and restaurant. This is the area that is surrounded by glass and can be seen from the street.

The main focus of the interior of the National Theater is the main auditorium. It was designed to embody the inspiration of the Ancient Greek amphitheaters. The interior was made of wood to allow for better acoustics and to give a more welcoming appearance to those who enter. This theatre was designed in a way much like the classical amphitheatres because it allows for maximum visibility from every point amongst the seated audience. In this theatre there are performances of Catalan and Spanish play, world classics, and contemporary dance and drama.

Ricardo Bofill designed the National Theatre of Catalonia in such a way that the entire given space was purposeful. It stands out due to the mixture of the Ancient Greek Templar style and high-tech glass curtain walls.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Between Silence and Light

The craft of Monticello and Fallingwater were both forms of exceptional architecture for their times. Monticello, as said by Young in studio, was the root of American architecture. It was the representation and illumination of American architecture at the time. The craft is also exceptional in how Thomas Jefferson invented and revolutionized some of the techniques he used. He invented some of the items in his house so well that some, such as the door hinges, are still intact and functional.

Fallingwater, being a more modern structure, is an excellent piece that can be focused on and studied in terms of craft. Frank Lloyd Wright was a highly respected designer in the Arts and Craft era. He differed from the main followers of this era in how he believed that all pieces should be handcrafted and that machines should not be used for mass production of items. He believed in handcrafted work which can be seen in Fallingwater. His craft was impeccable in this structure despite the mishaps that occurred while using the little studied materials of steel and concrete. Excellent craft can be seen in the patterning of the cantilevered stones in all of the exterior walls. Also in how all of the windows were designed to function in ways to influecen light as well as sound as demonstrated in one of the bedrooms.

Techniques used in Monticello and Fallingwater differed greatly due to the large gap in time between their contraction, as well as, the advancements of technology. Jefferson was he head of architectural technology of his time. He invented and improved upon techniques of architecture and incorporated them into Monticello. Jefferson used the materials that were given to them form the natural surroundings that were removed to create the space for his home. He uses different techniques to light his home because electricity did not exist at the time. He used skylights in the ceilings to give a greater amount of light. He also used mirror that were across the room to the windows to create reflections, extra lighting, and give the illusion that the room was larger than it really was.

Wright’s technique was different when designing and constructing Fallingwater. He incorporated the structure into the surrounding mountain and rock. He even had parts of the natural mountain inside of the structure. Wright’s technique of cantilevered roofing and balconies was new and interesting concept but still needed work. With little knowledge of the steel and concrete, the concrete sunk 10% when the supports were removed from under the roof and balconies. But, despite the mishaps, the techniques of Wright’s designs in Fallingwater were exclusive and innovated. Utilizing and conserving all of the given space.

Virtual, the being able to experience something without being there, is a complicated word to apply to the opus in a few aspects we have focused on. Fallingwater has a few characteristics that can be viewed as virtual. Fallingwater, as a whole, is a structure that is of the mountain. This opens up the opportunities to allow the resident to fell as if they are living amongst nature even though they are inside. When going though the structure our guide told us that when opening the windows in one of the bedrooms it was as if one resident was sleeping right under the stars, this was a virtual experience. Another virtual aspect is the optical illusion in the guest house where the doorway acts as a mirror between the bedroom and living room.

Public and private can define a building and can give the resident peace of mind. In Monticello Jefferson paid close attention to the ways in which to hide the fact that he had slaves. He designed underground tunnels that connected the kitchen, which was not connected to the house, and the dining room inside of the house. He also had a revolving shelf area where the slaves the place food on one side, then spin the door, and the food would appear on the other side of the wall in the dining room where the Butler would then serve to guests. Jefferson also designed a way to receive wine from the celler though the use of a pulley system.

Jefferson's house was sectioned off into spaces where some were more public than others. He wanted the front room to be like a museum of sorts to exhibit the various Native American artifacts that were given to him. The room behind that was also a public space now it had many seating arrangements, games, a piano, paintings to be viewed, and an exit into the backyard.

The main idea of Fallingwater was the ideology of privacy. Wright designed to house because the family wanted a house that would allow them to escape the city of Pittsburgh. Wright uses techniques such as creating dark hallways to prevent guests from going into private areas and cantilevered roofing to create privacy. The idea of compression and release was a huge aspect of the house which goes along with private and public respectively.

Monticello's language with its surroundings was defined by the use of the area round to create the structure. The clay was used to create the bricks and the trees that removed from the area are used to create the furnishings and other wooden products in the home.
Fallingwater’s language is a very strong one and considering how the structure was built into the mountain itself and the excavated standards used in the design of the outer walls and hallways.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


Rotation can be defined as “regular recurring succession.” ( By this definition one can see how rotation relates to architectural history in how different styles of architecture are revived but sculpted to fit the times. This week Gwen had spoken to us about the gothic revival that occurred with the use of cast-iron and glass. The Gothic style was rotated back into the spotlight of architecture but was fitting for the times by using clear glass and cast-iron instead of the stained-glass and stone of the original Gothic era.

Movement is a term that is comparable to composition in how the eye must flow or move though a design without distraction or focus on one aspect. In perception and communication we created a space that that should allow movement though the space without any major obstacles or distractions. “The style is characterized by the asymmetrical whiplash line that gives a sense of dynamic movement wherever it is applied: to furniture, wallpapers, stained glass and metalwork.” (Massey 32) The designs on the surface of a space can influence movement by using texture and other embellishments. This makes sure that the eye has the opportunity to move and not stay in one specific place for too long.

Many first think of reflection as something one sees in a mirror. In design reflection can be more of a contemplative action. Many designs and architects reflect on their own post works or others works to gain inspiration. In every one of the revival eras reflection was used to accumulate inspiration for designers works. In the gothic revival, as I have stated before, takes the idea of pointing up to the heavens and organic arches but accommodates them with modern materials such as cast-iron and glass.

Source can be tied in with reflection in how ideas can be taken from other forms. Source is a much boarder term though. A source can be a flower that is translated into an artifact that revolves around light and shadow. Or a story that translates into a wearable artifact which then translates into another artifact and so on.

To illuminate something is to put emphasis on one thing or the object as a while. In perception and communication we are learning how to illuminate objects and furniture to give them more detail. Also in studio we used the idea of illumination with light to show emphasis on some part of out artifacts and hide others in shadow.