Monday, April 20, 2009

Peer to Peer Analysis

After pin-up last week, we all got paired with another student of our choice to peer review.  That person had to relate to your own drawings in some way though, that was the only rule.  I chose Christy Wallace because her drawings of the Massaro house by Frank Lloyd Wright are very similar to mine.  Both were done in colored pencil and about the same sizes.  The Massaro house is similar to the Weissenhof house in the way that they both have the same concept of linearity.  They both were built around the same time and use verticals and horizontals to compose a unifying structure.  They are both modern, which is why they are similar in linearity.  Christy did a great job at showing the concept of the Massaro house.  Her drawings were very clear and easy to read.  They provided depth and color too.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Reflections Unit Summary

Reflections unit is all about looking back and seeing visions to make better things in the future.  After war in the twentieth century, Americans wanted to be different from the English by not copying their style.  Instead they liked the smooth surfaces to make three-dimensional forms and they had a love for the exotic.  Europe was more focused on geometric figures.

Reflections is about how the new changed from the old.  Castle Howard had a planned landscape and it looks like it is all naturally laid out.  It looks like nature as you would find it when it really is not actually naturally laid out.  Colonial North America was trading and producing wood to sell to London.  The classical world was coming together through trade with North America (the naturalized world).  Plantations were growing like crazy in the United States.  Plantations were built to have a nice landscaped yard and well developed house where you could live in comfortably and grow crops.  They were very beautiful with chimneys on each ends of the house to provide heat in the South.  In the North they had centralized chimneys to provide heat all areas of the house because it is mostly cold in the North throughout the whole year. 

Revolutions started happening during wartime and the contemporary style was evolving.  Everyone was in depression from the war and needed entertainment and happiness, so they started to build factories, exhibitions, train stations, orangery, greenhouses, and arcades.  Places such as the Crystal Palace in London was a place that provided a “lifting of the spirit,” heavenly experience.  These gardens also provided health with less disease instead of filth and slums.  It was the first real skyscraper and soon everyone wanted to be the city that had the biggest skyscraper. 

Reflections was a time when the East met the West.  Trade routes were being made and everyone started to trade.  It was the new thing to do at this time.  Through trading, Americans learned of different styles that everyone had and then started incorporating their ideas into the American culture and arts.  The Chinese made designs specifically meant for different countries other than their own.  This is why you find many things that are made in China these days. 

Materials became a big part in the building world.  The use of machinery was in need to be put into use during this time.  The big city of Chicago, the second city, is well known for its building sizes, quantity, and materiality of the buildings.  Steel iron was discovered and everyone wanted to use it because it was cheap, easy to bend, and made a great supporting façade.  Concrete and glass were also used a lot because of their availability and great use.  Glass was expensive though.  When you assembled all parts together it was a well-built structure.  New building types turned into art and they influenced each other. 

Reflections is all about a time for change and how society changed with new developments. I was a need for meaning with a romantic past and hope for a better future.  We can learn that the past can be used for studies for inspiration and copying.  There was a lot of hope and that is what we today strive for, hope for a better future.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Road Trip

Roots:  Roots are where the seeds were planted and is where the beginnings are strongly planted.  It is where something comes from.  In design, we all have to start the journey of learning somewhere.    Roots in a structure begin with the foundation because without the foundation the structure is not secure.  The Home Insurance Building in Chicago has a “free façade” because the exterior supports the exterior only and the interior is supported by steel frames, not the exterior.

Compression/Release:  This week we have been tossing ideas around about what to do for our window project where we have to make two different light sources out of mdf and paper if we choose.  My doodle drawing of my window shows that the pieces compress at the corners and release on the curves in the middle.  Binding materials can make a strong structure.  For example, Antonio Gaudi’s Casa Bonita is made of a concrete façade and has steel iron and glass tile on top of it for decorative effects, but also to make the structure stronger.  The Brooklyn Bridge is another example of compression.

Congruence:  Congruence is the coming together of two or more elements.  When you converge and attach two elements they have a sense of connectivity and dialog.  Antonio Gaudi was great at converging the idea of humans and his structures.  Guell Park in Barcelona has many curves and organic shapes, just like a body has.  There is much fluidity throughout the park.

Materiality:  Materiality is what makes up a structure.  Stoel says it is important to  become good at researching materials because you will never know all of the materials out there.  This week we had to make three material boards.  I learned a lot about how I should of formatted my boards and matted the pictures to unify the boards in some way.  The title should always respond to the size of the paper.  Most buildings are constructed of metal, glass, and concrete in the 19th century.  Still today those materials are very popular to construct with.

Concept:  Concept is a popular word that is used in IARC.  It is the main idea or theme throughout a structure.  Tommy Lambeth said, “Concept is a simple organizing idea.”  My building that I chose to research on for Patrick’s class is the Wiessenhof house in Stutgartt, Germany.  The house’s overall concept is linearity because it has so many straight lines and everything is vertical and horizontal.

Summary:  All roots of a building come from materials that are compressed and released to make a structure.  The concept of a building varies between any building, but is the main idea or theme.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Between Silence & Light

Craft:  Craft is something that is an art and requires a special skill.  Clean lines and datum lines require special skill, as it is an art of perfection.  After visiting Falling Water and Monticello, I realized they both are very highly crafted with the woodwork and masonry.  Each place took special craft in how the materials were to be placed in the landscape surrounding the houses.  In the hotel we stayed in over our trip, they had wooden rocking chairs in each room that were made by the Amish.  The chairs are well crafted because they are handcrafted and that requires a special skill that many do not know how to do.  As Roth says, “The architects become deluged with information regarding the accuracy of details.” (Roth, 472)  Details are very important when it comes to good craft.

The craft is in the placement of how Wright put the beams across from the house to the rock.

Public/Private:  When you are designing a house, you don’t want every space you design to be just public, because then you wouldn’t have any place to go and have your own privacy.  You have to balance out the two in a home.  In Monticello, the parlor and foyer were very public places and the bedrooms and study were very private areas in the house.  In Falling Water, Wright made the hallways dark and the rooms light because he felt that the hallways were not important since they are not a place to be sociable in and instead a place to get from one area to another.  Even certain materials that are used in a room can tell what rooms are more private or public because Blakemore says that. “Wood, the least expensive, was the most common material for modest homes and for less important rooms in the houses of the wealthy.”  (Blakemore, 400)  

This is a public area in the family room at Falling Water.

Technique:  Technique is a way of accomplishing a certain task.  It requires a specific skill of procedures to get to the final craft.  It is so amazing how they could of built Falling Water right over the waterfall.  In order to make the house cantilever over the water, it had builders make logs to hold up the structure as they built it so it wouldn’t collapse.  This took great technique in figuring out how to make Falling Water cantilever over the water.  During the 19th century, “Inlay became a prominent decorative technique of great technical superiority…”  (Blakemore, 382)  Inlay used native woods just like Falling Water used its natural surroundings.

This elliptical arch is very hard to do since the arch is supported by the side structures and it is hard to make it balanced.

Language:  When you think of the word language, you think of a foreign language that is used in communicating with others verbally.  When you talk about architecture having language, it means that the structure speaks words of its own to describe it.  Ludwig Mies van der Rohe once said that, “God is in the details” meaning that perfection in details has its own language and speaks something that is so unique.  Both Monticello and Falling Water worked with the landscapes in a way that celebrated them.  Monticello used clay for bricks and you see lots of clay color in the lot it sits in.  Falling Water used stone in constructing the house, as there were lots of rock and stone in the landscape it surrounded.  

The landscape at Monticello helps celebrates the language of the house itself.

Virtual:  Virtual is an interesting word as I was surprised what it actually meant when I looked it up.  Virtual is the existence of something without actually being there.  We got to have a virtual tour of both Monticello and Falling Water, but most importantly, both houses utilized virtuality through light.  Monticello used skylights that made the light come through and make you feel like virtually the sky is actually there.  Mirrors in the bedrooms made the rooms virtually look bigger because the image reflects back making the space appear to be larger than it actually is.  Falling Water used glass windows that didn’t have any corner support so that when you opened the corner windows, you got a virtual sense of the outside when you were inside.  That made it feel like the outdoors were coming indoors.  Glass was a very expensive material during the times that Falling Water and Monticello were both being built.  “Around the mid-19th century a number of factors combined to make it feasible to install larger panes of window glass- manufacturing processes, excise duty, and window tax.”  (Blakemore, 397)  It was nice to be able to install bigger pieces of glass because glass was a way to make a room look virtually appealing since you felt part of the outdoors inside.

The skylight in one of the rooms at Monticello makes a virtual appeal in the room by bringing the outdoors in.

Summary:  Craft and Technique have their own language because they make private and public spaces look virtually appealing.  The way a building is put into place and the small details are put into private and public spaces.  Windows and mirrors inside a house create a virtually appealing space by making the outdoors look like they are indoors and at the same time not making it distract from the room but make it celebrated.

House of Weissenhof

I have chosen the House of Weissenhof.  It is a modern style house that is very unique in shape, color, and size.  I was attracted to it because of its overhanging top since you don’t see many buildings that look like that at all.  The history, house details, and purpose of the house are all important to know when understanding where ideas came from when designing.

            Le Corbusier, a French architect, built the House of Weissenhof.  It was built in Stuttgart, Germany in 1927, part of the 20th century.  The house is modern and is made of mainly stucco that is over brick.  It was built after the war and Le Corbusier had to deal with a difficult ground surface that was uneven and the budget was limited.

            The house’s main material used is stucco around the upper exterior of the house.  Le Corbusier used common materials such as brick, tiles, and vaults formed with tiles as permanent shuttering.  The roof is covered with grass, which is interesting because you do not usually come across houses with growing life on top of them.  The house is made up of squares and rectangles; it is a theme that you see throughout the exterior of the house.  All of the many windows are small squares that balance out the white stucco on the front exterior elevation.  The back of the house has several square and rectangle shape cement blocks that give a feeling of openness because the centers are hollow instead of solid.    Le Corbusier’s ‘five points of a new architecture’ are free plan, free façade, pilotis, roof garden and ribbon windows.  He accomplished all of these in the Weissenhof.  Some of the main rooms in the house include a boiler room, coal store, washroom, lots of storage, kitchen, dining, living, maid’s room, five bedrooms, a boudoir, bathroom, and a terrace

            Le Corbusier’s main reason for a modern house was to be different from everyone else, as he knew it would be compared with other European Modernist designers.  The function of this house is just like any other house; it is to be well designed for people to be comfortable living in.  As you can tell it was meant for a family with lots of children.  Le Corbusier was on a budget when designing this house because it was after the war and money was limited.   The house from a distance is very appealing because of all of the contrasting elements.  A different architect decided in the same year to design something very similar to Le Corbusier’s design.  He made Weissenhof row houses that are two stories tall and have a focus on gardens.  The materials and colors and shapes from the Weissenhof house were inspired for the Weissenhof row houses.  Le Corbusier’s House of Weissenhof has a very futuristic look to it, which I think is why people still draw eyes towards it today.

            As a four-story house that is built on a very challenging hill in Stuttgart, Germany, it was a very successful design for the time it was built.  Le Corbusier really captured the rectilinear elements around the house.  The one thing it never became was a popular or standardized house.  

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Celebration [3rd SKIN]


Rotation:  A rotation means that something is turning around in a circular motion or a change and may repeat itself.  There is the saying that, “History repeats itself.”  In Patrick’s class we learned how a revolution evolves/comes about.  It starts out in the rotation stage, where a change happens.  It then moves into the cycle and reform where change is made from the rotation.  It transitions into the Renaissance and comes out to the revival stage.  America was trying to separate itself from England and had to make a revolution.

Here is a drawing from my notes in Patrick's class about the cycle that a Revolution goes through.

Movement:  Movement creates a sense of path.  For our Pathways, Edges, and Boundaries project, we are going to install pieces of cement into the ground of the parking lot islands.  My group, the Gateway group, is using half spheres to guide the pathways and square blocks to direct the pathway that will be stepped on and used.  The squares create a sense of movement because of how the raised circles are placed onto them.  There is movement in history of how it is constantly changing.  There is change between two chairs that are the same style but built in a different time periods that influenced each of them in their own way.  “The Arts and Crafts Movement had widened the debate about what constituted good design, but had little effect on conventional interior design at the turn of the century, either in America or Europe.”  (Massey, 31)

This is a potential layout of how the stepping stones and half spheres will go into one of the parking lot islands.  It creates movement because the path that people will walk on is how they get from one end to the other and the raised circles on top create a motion that is moving.

Reflection:  This week we made a project about light out of MDF.  We had to make natural light reflect onto our project in some way to illuminate it and create movement.  My project is a great example of how light comes through the curves in my design on each circle plate and reflects light, making shadows.  As you rotate the project the shapes change and create movement.  The Crystal Palace in London is another example of reflecting light.  The conservatory has glass all around it, illuminating everything inside of it and making you feel like you are in paradise and have a “lifting of the spirit” experience.  The “ banks of mirrors on the opposite walls reflect the light throughout the room” in the Hall of Mirrors in Versailles. (Roth, 419)

This is the 3rd skin project that I made out of MDF and it shows how light comes through the weaves of the circle plates and reflects on the ground in creative shapes.

Illumination:  Illumination is what brightens up something with the source of light.  You can think of illumination as an example of Christmas time when all the houses are lit up with decorative lights in celebration of the birth of Christ.  It gives you the feeling of spiritual enlightenment just like the feeling that the Crystal Palace gives you.  Massey talks about a townhouse that Horta designed for himself saying that “…a skylight illuminates a centrally placed staircase of white Carrara marble which forms the centerpiece of the whole design, winding up through three floors.”  (Massey, 37)

This is a perspective drawing that I did for Suzanne's class and we had to use different media and medium to create a family room, dining, and kitchen area.  The window in the back shines light onto the objects in the room and illuminates the whole entire room.

Source:  The source of light is amazing!  Light adds energy and makes people feel happy.  In an interior space, light illuminates a space and makes color in a room pop out.  It makes everything brighter and glow with confidence.  The Beaux-Arts style was a conservative style and “…in interior decoration was marked by lavish use of carving, gilding, rich marble and extravagant lighting…” (Massey, 31)  The source of lighting was well known and suited for large spaces such as in a hotel or department store. 

This is my favorite section that I rendered from my perspective drawing and it shows how the source of light reacts with the objects in the room.  For example, you can see how the couch is darker on the side that is not facing the window where light is not spotted on, but it is shown on the side that you can sit on.  It creates different hues.

Summary:  This weeks words were all words we have had before, which makes things interesting for this opus.  It was neat to see how different this weeks opus was from the words I used in the past and what I wrote about them.  Illumination comes from the source of light that reflects light and creates movement as light is rotated, just like how the sun rotates and moves to create movement in shadows.