Monday, February 28, 2011

BP 7 : 2/27/11

In the article by Alain be Botton he talks about the happiness of architecture.  He discusses how specific characteristics of a room such as the colors can help one develop a sense of delight about a specific place.  I think that finding happiness in architecture is having a space which allows someone to connect to happiness within.  This can be anything from a place or space where someone enjoys doing their favorite activities or it can be a space of place of someone to just get away.  Patrick’s rules help to emphasize the important characteristics of architecture that give us this happy feeling. 

When looking around campus, I can recall a space and a place of happiness for me.  My first place would be the fountain picnic area behind the EUC.  When i was a freshman 2 years ago at UNCG, I found this spot and immediantly it sparked a sence of happiness in me.  It was a place where people could come to eat, read, socialize, and relax.  When looking at the space through the rules, it does a good job of emphasizing surface through materiality with the use of brick.  The patterning of the bricks in small squares that make up a larger square gives the area a sence of place.  Also, I think that the area combines number 10 from the West and East rule books.  For example, the place expands ones physical world because it is located right beside a brick building and through encoporating the material of the squares the place has a sense of belonging with the building.  On the other hand, encoperating the flowing fountian takes us back to our inner world giving the place a natural happiness.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

RR 7 : 2/27/11

Representing circles and rules at Konarak sun temple
During the time of 1238 to 1264, King Narasimhadeva dedicated the wealth he had obtained through victorious battles to build a temple to Surya, the sun god.  The temple is shaped like a huge wooden chariot because like most Hindu temples, the deities are paraded around in a procession. 

The temple is very representative of circles and sacred places.  For example, the temple building was designed to carry the sun in its daily path across the sky.  Twelve circles (wheels) representing the twelve months of the year were carved around the base of the temple.  Also, seven horses were carved, one for each day of the week.  Ching states, “When seen from the side at some distance, the temple seems to be on the verge of movement” (408).   

The sun temple at Konarak was a place of pilgrimage.  Every February , thousands of people gather to a sacred pond on the site of the sun temple to take dips in the ponds holy waters. 
This picture is represenative of what the temple would have looked like during its era.  Here we also can see the pilgrimage gathering at the sacred spot.

Monday, February 21, 2011

BP6 : 2/21/11

As a group we focused on comparing the structure of Amiens and Cologne.  One thing that was interesting when looking at different perspectives of the two cathedrals was, the cathedrals had more characteristics in common than contrasting each other.  The conclusion is that region has a lot to do with the style of Gothic Cathedrals.  Patrick said in class, “All cathedrals speak the same language, just different dialects.”  We see this with the structure of Amiens and Cologne.  Both Cathedrals have the same basic golden sectioned however; we see that the Amiens section is more complex in division.  This makes the ceiling division tighter knit and the wall structure more spaced within the cathedral choir.
Amiens Ceiling from

 When comparing the exterior of the two, Cologne cathedral shows more attention to detail.  The flying buttresses of Cologne are closer to the building allowing for the slender effect that the cathedral gives off allows us to awe at its enormous height.  When concluding these observations, one can see that architects over the generations of construction to the Amiens cathedral paid more attention the interior details, whereas the Cologne cathedral focuses on the exterior details. 
Flying Buttresses of Cologne
Flying Buttresses of Amiens

 As cathedrals were seen as places of sanctuary during the Gothic period, what was going on in government can have a lot to do with this change in detail.  For example, Cologne cathedral can symbolize the chaos on the outside but when entering into the cathedral one is releasing the chaos and entering into a world of simplicity.  Cologne was also built after Amiens so as time changed we see people views change on where detail was important and where it was omitted.  One other conclusion to look at is the scale of the cathedrals.  Cologne cathedral appears to me a vertical element rising above a tightly packed city.  In the positioning and height of the cathedral we see that the Germans wished this to be their central point.  Within the German walled cities, houses were so close together when looking from about all you see are level rooftops.  The Germans made sure that the cathedral stood out above all the other buildings as a map for people.  The Amiens cathedral is placed in in a semi-spacious area it appears to be bulkier.  We still see that the French put it as the center of the city but due to land space and the type of area they chose to make the entrance big in scale. 

Amiens Cathedral:

Cologne Cathedral:

Cognitive Map:

For my Cognatice map I chose to use the golden section because it is the bases where all gothic cathedrals began.  The regions and catherdrals lie at the ends of the axis.  The sections starts out in one small square where everything is the same.  As the sqaures branch out and began to touch the ends of the axis we see the the evolutions of regional influence during the dark ages.  The difference lie on the outside because the differences in the catherdrals are on the surface however withing the center and where the sections cross, lie all the similarities because they are the same core foundation through all regions of the dark ages.

RR 6 : 2/21/11

Chinese structual system

Wooden bracket system roofs are very distinctive of Chinese architecture.  Much like the columns in Greece and Rome, bracketed rooms began as a structural system but throughout several developmental stages, engineers learned how to simplify the bracketing system and they began to serve as decorative traditional purposes rather than structural purposes. 
Examples of Chinese roofs with Bracket system

The bracket sets are composed of horizontal, vertical, and diagonal elements called Dou-gong.  Dou-gongs differ in size and number depending on their position and location, the size of the roof, and the stature of the building.  The wooden roofs are classified by the number and type of bracket system.  Ching states, “The brackets keep the top part of the building stiff against rotational forces while supplying enough flexibility in case of earthquakes” (pg.299) 

The bracket system also helps improve the detail and scale of Chinese wooden roofs allowing the roofs to serve as expressional components in architecture.  This complex idea of a bracket system never developed in India or the West because in these areas walls played a more important role in structure and expression of a building.  For example, although the wooden beams had to be placed with skill, the Chinese architects did not have to worry about the bending and twisting of the building.  Two examples of Chinese Temples that have the wooden roofs are the Nanchan and Foguang Monasteries.
Nanchan Monastery

Foguang Monastery

Material for Reading Response found in Ching text.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Unit Summary 1 : 2/16/11

It all began around 3500 BCE as the foundations of architecture were being laid.  Objects, spaces, buildings, and places all begin to have depth and meaning.  People began to communicate through the spaces.  Through observation and study we can to see how humanity once saw the world and their beliefs on the universe around them.  These importance spaces begin to develop in the forms of circles, groves, and stacks.  Circles were to mark sacred spots.  They also mimicked the sun and moon in shape and showed how important these two elements were to people.  We see this represented in one of the first efforts at communicating through places, Stonehenge.  This circular stone marked a sacred spot which emulated the sun and moon.  Another element, groves are a repetition of vertical elements taking on characteristics of humans or trees.  Columns and the Egyptian porches are good examples of groves.  The last element, stacks are representative of mountains.  They are stacks of material serving as a visual representation of hierarchy, purpose, and importance.  A great example of this is the pyramids of Giza.  The pyramid is a series of stacks extending to the heavens.  These three elements are still key elements in architecture seen today.  For example, one can see visual representation all over campus of circles, groves, and stacks.  The three elements help emphasize specific order within objects, buildings, spaces, and places.
The three elements serve as foundations to the principles of design harmony, contrast, unity, balance, order and proportion.  Groves and stacks began to come together in the shape of temples and palaces such as the Parthenon and Xi’an, China.  We begin to see the difference in Greek ideals and reality.  For example, the Parthenon was a building that sought perfection and through the use of optical illusions the Greeks pursue this perfection.  This can  still be seen today with the grandeur of the Parthenon.  In representation of order through columns we see archetypes of columns such as Doric and Ionic being used as structural support in megarons.  Megarons are the prototypes for modern day buildings because they each had a porch, court, and hearth which are three elements still represented today.  All of these new ideas began to take shape in temples such as the Parthenon where groves held up stacks, which told stories through sculptures. These stories were different on each temple across Greece and through this we can see the difference in life, time, and society.  The Parthenon serves as the final phase of the evolution of megarons styles.  We can also see how proportion was used for the Parthenon when looking at its placing and size as it sits to be seen as the grand prize on top of the acropolis.  Economics, gender, and sacrifice all began to represent people’s ideas at the time.  For example, the human characteristics in columns were gender specific, with each different archetype being representative of Grecians ideas of male and female.  Economics is seen at Delphi which help all the banks of the Greek empire.  Here rulers would express their power through the scales of their banks. 
As the foundation elements and principles of design took shape three other elements of thought arose in the form of firmness, commodity, and delight.  These elements are what people can score a building on being well built.  Commodity is the quality of the space and how well it meets user’s needs.  Firmness is the performance of the building such as materials used, structural system, and how well the building is built.  Delight serves ones aesthetic needs in giving the sense of place a positive effect.  As designers began to look at these three ideas building style and purpose began to shift as we moved to Rome.  We see city grids taking shape in many of the same forms one would see New York City’s grid however at a much smaller scale.  Axis began to be important showing power, balance, and dividing up spaces.   Circles, groves, and stacks are still key elements as we see with the Colosseum.  The colosseum is a stacking diagram of the empire keeping groves within its structure however they serve a different purpose which gives us a clear diagram of how columns began to serve more as decorative pieces and arches were used as the new structural system.  The colosseum was in the shape of a circle and it was a sort of sacred gathering place for people to come and enjoy entertainment similar to the purpose of our modern day Coliseums.
All these terms, elements, and principles we have studied are humanities way of explaining life.  They have developed over time into the objects, spaces, places, and buildings we have today.  Although modern day buildings seem to be very different from buildings in 3500 BCE they still have the same elements and principles that help diagram similar stories. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The story of my Dining Space

For this project we are supposed to design a dinning space which incorporates social media and allows for a global dining experience.  The dinner is to take place two times a year, on the winter and summer solstices.  When working with a project as broad as this it makes the project easier to begin if one first begins with a story.  This is my story for my dinning space.  
One of the main purposes for the dinner is to eradicate hunger so in doing this I have chosen to serve rice as my main dish because rice is a universal food which feeds millions of hungry people.  My initial statement for my dinner is for global partners and neighbors to experience the ritual of another culture through food.  I wish to invite people from some of the leading UN nations who will, through the use of social media, be dinning with people in less fortunate countries.  My room is to be laid out in a rectangular shape (size unknown as of now) with a sideboard embedded within a nook.  My side board will have a plate for every person present and upon that plate will be a traditional rice meal from whichever country they will be dinning with through visual media, such as skype.  Flags above the plates will be there to represent the countries.  Every attendee will dine with someone or many from a separate country.  For example, they will all be dinning together but if there are six people representing six countries at the dinner there will also be six different countries dinning through social media. 
My space will have two slender rectangular tables each facing the other with about 3 feet in between.  Within the 3 feet in between their will be a solid glass bar running the length of the tables with digital panels that are stored within the bar.  In length, the tables are to be 120 inches and about 40 inches.  The tables are to be offset from each other by one seating so no one is directly in front of another, rather they are in more of a zigzag seating arrangement.  This pattern is to compensate for the digital panel for social media that will be directly in front of each seating, between the two tables.  To accommodate for the table needing to seat between 4 to 10 people I have chosen to have a stepped surface in which the table will be stored in the floor.  Each 24 inch seating will be its separate entity making it easier to take away or add to the number of seats.  These separate seating however will not have space between them so when they are all raised out of the floor they are two solid tables.  I wish for my tables also to have some sort of built in light whether it be at each seating or within the middle piece.  This type of lighting is supposed to increase the intimacy due to the fact that although people are dinning together their real experiences are with someone through the digital panel.  Another reason for having a table within the floor and also lighting set into my dining is because I wish for my space to have multiple uses throughout the year when the dinner is not taking place.
I wish for my space to have two wall which consist of only glass windows making the dinners feel a connection to the outside.  On the ceiling of the dinning space there will be a series of mobile reflector panels which will help to alter the amount of direct light that comes into the space.  On these panels are also a series of lights for when the sun goes down. 

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Blog Post 5 : 2/14/11

Rhythmic motion and structure meet in harmony
Reflection of vibarant color
Perspective composition

Just a song I thought that kind of went with the picture due to the rhythm of the music.

Reading Response 5 : 2/14/11

For this weeks reading response I chose to focus on what some would consider one of the greatest buildings in the Western world; the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey.

The first version of this magnificant building was design by Constantine in 360 CE however, it was greatly damaged by civil stife during the regin of Justinian's rule.  After the conflict, Justinian rebuilt Hagia Sophia as a monument to his rule and the celebration of his victory.  This was a building that Justinian had dreamed up great ideas about, so that it was to be a building to be remembered.
Ching textbook

For the design and construction of Hagia Sophia, Justinian engaged experts in theoretical physics and statics because only they could construct the kind of building Justinian had in mind.  The new church was a double shell with the center being a square marked off by four peirs and capped with a dome.  This square bay and half bays design that we discussed in class was a new and improved way of designing churches.  The Hagia Sophia is a great representation of the fusion of an empire and church depicting how the Byzantine saw the earth.  The cube and dome modeled the universe and earth allowing for a complete sphere to settle within the space.  The dome represented the heavens over the earth. 

Windows lined the base of the dome making the building appear as if it were floating.  A quote from our Roth reading by Procopius about the dome says, "seems not to rest upon solid masonary, but to cover the space with its golden dome suspended from Heaven" (pg. 290). The many windows surrounding the dome and building also allowed for natural sunlight to reflect of the mosaics making them appear to dance and the marble floor appear as a wavy sea.  

The Hagia Sophia was a spectacular building of its time and still centuries later continues to marvel.  Ching says that, "Impressive as the complex stuctural system is the architects made every effort to make it appear effortless" (pg. 273).  

Infomation was from Ching and Roth readings along with Monday's class discussion.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

React for Feb. 16th: Culture and design Interrelated

Everything we do, think, and see can be related back to culture so it only makes sense that design and culture are also interrelated.  In our readings Hall talks about the perception of what people see visually and how people actually see it.  For example, based on the enviroment we live in, a building can be precieved differently.  Most likely the building will serve the same fuction universally such as a house however, the difference will be in scale and layout.  The difference in perception  is highly influence by the culture we live in thus this is what designers must take into account.  One would not design a European style house and place it on an American farm because culturally it would be too small.  In Hall's reading there is a disscusion about the cultural influence in the design of kitchens.  Most men do not spend as much time in a kitchen therefore male designers look more to asthetics in designing a kitchen.  The reading says that designs such as this leave out how a kitchen is actually viewed therefore many times their is awkwardness in space, too tall of cabinets for women, etc.  This is all related back to the different cultures in how women visualize and spend time vs. how men visualize and spend time.  When looking at how design and culture are interrelated in realation to the movie Bebetta's Feast, we can clearly see the cultural difference in Swedish dinning to French dinning from the food, to the table set up, and the lighting during dinner.  When we look around the globe one can see definite distinctions in how culture influences our ideas of design.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Color Week

 For a whole week we spent all our time learning to adjust our eyes and see color in ways we never have before. It was an interesting experience and invigorating to watch myself learn throughout the week as I watched color change right before my eyes!

Color Experiment 1: This was our first color experiment of the week.  For this palette we were to take two colors and find a middle color.  It was difficult at first but when I learned how to adjust my eyes it was very easy to see how the middle color transformed between your eyes. 

Color Experiment 2: Once we learned to see color with our eyes we gained a whole new exprience of color and ungraded to choosing two colors and finding a middle color which reveals both.  In doing this it was easier to pick two prime colors that were on the opposite side of the color spectrum.  We also learned to look at greys and browns no more as colors because they are more of the combination off all the prime colors. 

Color Experiement 3: For this 
Final color week activity: Our color palette.  In making our color paletter we used all the skills we had learned through the week.  Our goal was to make a palette with the top tip representing light and the bottom shadow.  From there, through a series of combining colors we placed together the remained of our color palette.

Blog Post 4- 2/7/11 IAR 221

Friday for class we took yet another campus tour! This time we looked at circles and applied them to the  principles of commodity, firmness, and delight and how these principles helped to reinforce the three dimensional feeling of circles. 

I took an oppourunity to look at many circles throughout campus.

It is interesting to me that as you walk through the the main axis of campus (college ave.) it is lined with a series of stone circles laid into the brick.  The largest circle marks an intersection, which historically can also be a sacred spot of another main axis that runs through campus (Walker St.).  Inevitably, this is the direct center of campus. 

One other landmark which held a circle was the water fountian outside the Music building.

When I look at this fountian to me it is similar to an amphitheathre in form.  It sits right outside the circular enterance of the music building.  On each side its had layers of stone bricks like above in the picture which seem to mimic the shape of the fountian and ripples in the water.  I also think that it is interesting to look at them in realation to the ripple of sound we here when music is played.  This circular fountain can make a sacred spot because it is a peaceful area in which music students or any students can come to gather insipration in nature. 

One of the building I choose to look at in relation to circles was the EUC. 

The Euc has two circle enterances which mimic each other with a long hallway of vertical columns dividing the two.  The two circles mark the sacred spots of enterance into the building. 

As one walks into the first enterance he/she is overwhelmed with light.  The use of multiple windows allows for this light to be such a promonent feature of the enterance.  Also, the use of light colored wood helps to open up the dome enterance and make it feel like more of a sacred spot compared to the rest of the building.  From this enterance one is sent into the long hallway guided by a series of columns.

One the floor of this enterance is a circle within the floor.  This circle is made of color marble and gold plating allowing it to stand out.  On the ceiling of the dome, a oculus mimics the circle on the floor. 

The EUC is used for everyday use, gathering of people.  Within this enterance many people wait for friends to eat, socialize, and study.  The building is very popular and is key building in most students lives. This gathering is a major function of this domed enterance.

The 2nd enterance to the EUC is also a circular enterance in which the 3 levels come together in large spiral-like stair cases. The area appears to be very open due to its size and the use of multiple windows allow natural light to be the main source of light.  Also, on the floor is a simialr marble and gold plated circle which ties the two enterances together.  The also have similar ceiling with corresponding oculus. 

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Illuminated Box

For our first project of the semester we were asked to make a box and divide it into 4 sections. During the first phase we were asked to cut, tear, or manipulate in anyway the outside of our box so when we focused a light on the box, the inside was divided into 4 distinct sections.  The second phase we were asked to add skewers or paper to help divide and emphasize the 4 sections. 

When working with my box I focused on thinking about dividing the space within my box equally. After many trials and errors, I put 4 cuts in  the center of my box in a fan shape.  When shinning the light through the cutouts, there are 4 distinct areas of light and 4 areas of dark.  To emphasize the areas of light I added 4 similar shaped pieces of bristol board mimicing the 4 cuts on the top.  Adding the bristol board allowed the light to be illuminated onto the paper making this center moment dramatic and important. The paper captured the light in the center while at the same time releasing it.  I thought of this as being a scultual opening in the center of a building where in the center people gathered and associated.

Reading Response 4: The Roman Colosseum: 2/7/11

Information for Reading Response was from our readings in Ching and Roth along with our class disscusion notes.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

React: Theory Reading Feb. 4 : Design Manifesto

Webster’s Dictionary defines manifesto as : A written statement declaring  publicly the intentions, motives, or views of its user.   In the world of design we all write, draw, and model manifestos with every project that we do.  Designing is exploring, stepping outside reality and dreaming up something original.  When one goes beyond what is real, he or she must be able to express ideas clearly so that people can visualize the same thing that he or she is visualizing.  Sketches and models are the best way to represent ideas in design.  This takes time and dedication because good craftsmanship is key.  Sketching is still not one of my strong points but it is something that I am practicing and improving on and it makes me excited when I see my worked pinned up in class and think “wow! I did that.”   Trial and error are also elements that make up design and designers can always improve.  I have spent hours upon hours in studio working on a model or a sketch only to get frustrated because something does not work out like I had thought but this is all the fun of design.  It is like having to figure out a puzzle, not only do you only have part of the puzzle you also have to go out, find/make the rest of the pieces and somehow, in the end it is comes out to make a picture.  I once heard someone say, designing is never complete and I believe this is true.  Even when I am finished with a project, new ideas are always running through my head; ways I could make something better or do something different.  I also believe that design is very reflective of one’s personality because designing is all about the individual and what one creates in his or her head, even if they are designing for others.