Wednesday, February 25, 2009



Precedent is an inspirational word or artifact. It can be a lot like the word prototype or archetype as it is where the next phase of design comes from. Throughout history, other cultures based their designs for architecture off of previous societies. Romans used precedents of other societies when they built the churches. Constantine was active in the church and in only a year after he reunited the empire he “made Christianity the favored imperial religion.” (Roth 279). Now that Christianity was popular they needed a place to worship and they set out to find an architectural place of worship. “Constantine and church officials looked to secular public buildings, and the type they selected was the basilica” The basilica was a place for law or gatherings, what better place for a Christianity to be embraced. It was a place where a gathering of people could hear the Christian law preached from the altar. From there other churches used the Church basilica as precedents for their own. Furthermore, the other buildings of Christians were derived from royal tombs which were round, octagonal, or square. (Roth 280). As designers we must receive inspiration from other places that we might not have thought about for spaces. The basilica was used for law and with a few alterations it became an icon of what we see today for worship.

In design I find this word to be similar to multi functional. As stated in previous entries, for a space to work it must have commodity, firmness, and delight. The commodity of a building is determined by those who use it. The basilica was used for “civic activities…a large covered space, where judges could hear cases and the public could listen” (Roth 257). However, around circa 300, the basilica would be forever changed into a place of Christian worship. The basic outline of the building was a duality; it was not only for one use alone now. Again Constantine changed the commodity of the building by making it into a churches gathering space. “St. Peters and other early churches were clearly derived from the great imperial basilicas, but additional modifications were necessitated by the special needs of Christian worship.” (Roth 282) The commodity changed so to must the others as well. The basilica had a certain way of working for both law and the church. Two completely different purposes, and yet came together to accommodate both under “one roof” so to speak.


Moment captures time in place and allows us to revisit whenever the need. Architecture or even design in general captures a moment in time to allow us to go back and see what life was like back then. A moment that is literally caught in time is that of Pompeii Italy. When Mount Vesuvius erupted the town was caught off guard and was completely covered by molten lava. When excavated the archeologists found the city beneath. The town gives much insight to what was occurring back in that time. It linked together so much of what was going on in Italy during those times as well as uncovering for the first time the villa. Had this moment in time not have been discovered there would have been many loose ends of history still yet to be connected. In present day time we are learning to capture our own moments in time through drawing. For Suzanne we had to go draw a specific building and capture the building in whichever way we wanted. Those drawings created a mood of what was occurring and gave insight on how to become a better rounded designer. If the composition was too close it did not show how the building was to be experienced. However, if the moment was captured with a more zoomed out look, the building read more easily. Capturing those buildings in time allows me to revisit them whenever I am stuck on a design and get inspired by them all over again.

Size is an important aspect of design. When drawing the Mossman building, I saw how the people interacted with the space and got a feel of how large the space was to an individual. Size impacts design in every way because people do not want to feel uncomfortable and jammed into a place. The bathes of the Diocletian can be a way of interpreting metric further besides that of a measuring tape or tool. The baths are all linked together by the technologically advanced system of water, but the people within the space and the different rooms separating one room from another is a different way of going about the word metric. The building was for an aray of different amenities besides that of bathing. The baths were free to the public and had theaters and gymnasiums and had “continual games and the pleasures of the baths served to divert the populace.” Roth (269). These baths created a system of diverse functions that separated each into a caldarium, tepidarium, and frigidarium, and yet were all connected by water. The people in the space verses how large the actual baths were created a measuring devise to go by. It could accommodate 3200 people at various times of day for men, women, and slaves. The people had to feel comfortable enough in the space so that they were not all packed into the baths. The distance between the classes and the actual people in space versus one another all had to be taken into account when designing the baths of the Diocletian. Thus, the word metric goes beyond that of a measuring tape. It can be used to describe a range of different scales; the scale of the governments rule, the space between people in the space, and the space dimensions itself.


Presence I feel is how something speaks for itself. Work as a designer has to present itself without the designer there to defend it. When our work is put up it becomes for others to interpret and critique. The churches presence in society was to make order out of chaos. The church was built high and dominated over the area in which it was placed, as to give order to a unorganized place. The churches of Italy had geometric shapes that contained the genetic code of the universe they believed that this would make the building not become destroyed when the world ended. The church was the turn to place for order in the early 1000’s. The presence of the church allowed the people to feel more secure.


The purpose of design is to voice our ideas through our work. We must be careful of measurements because that is how a person will interact in the building. The scale of something must be able to relate well to the consumer, or it will take away from the design. They must be able to enjoy the "moment" that the space is creating by making it a functional design. Furthermore, if a space has a dual purpose or can accomidate more than one purpose it makes the space more delightful because it goes back to the basic functions of design. If the design works well enough, it can make its presence known throughout its lifetime to become a design that can be used as a precedent for designs to come. Afterall, that is what we all are designing for. We design to allow our voice to be heard long after we are gone.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009





Thursday, February 19, 2009

Burj Al Arab

Burj Al Arab


Tom Wright


The Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai is known for its iconic look. All of the iconic buildings that are known today like the Sydney Music Hall or the Eiffel Tower can be recognized by a few quick strokes of the pen. That is exactly what Architect Tom Wright was briefed to do for the Burj Al Arab. The building was to be recognized in a 30 second or less sketch. The idea for the hotel came to Wright while on the beach of Dubai. He noticed the sails of the boats that the island is known for and going off of that, created the symbol of Dubai.
The Hotel is the largest in the world, but its most remarkable feature is that it sits on a manmade island of sand held in by friction. “Workers drilled steel piles into the seabed to support the massive building and armored the island with precast concrete "shed" units -- specially designed hollow blocks made to minimize the force of waves. Workers then filled the structure with sand dredged from an offshore seabed” (Dowdey, October) The building jetting out from the shore, had to be resistant to wind and many tests were done on the building to make sure that it was able to hold up to time. The Burj Al Arab, has amazed me ever since building went into effect in 1994. The way the rigid concrete and steel structure is united with a more delicate glass fibre fabric is so unique. The atrium is special in its own way as well by being the tallest in the world at 182 meters high. Additionally, the fabric is illuminated all hours to make the building glow and stand out even more in its open site.
The Burj Al Arab building reminds me of the wu-wu that has been discussed in class. It stands out from everything else in a wide open area. Furthermore, it is also wide and tall spanning out from the site making the eye go straight up in wonder and delight at the building. It celebrates its iconic look while being a seven star rated Hotel in Dubai.

Atkins Global. (n.d.). Burj Al Arab. Retrieved 2009 18th, February, from Tom Wright :

Dowdey, S. (October, 01 2007). How the Dubai Seven-Star Hotel Works . Retrieved February 17, 2009, from How Stuff

WS ATKINS CONSULTANTS LTD. (2006). JUMEIRAH BEACH RESORT. Retrieved February 18th, 2009, from Burj Al Arab:

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Parts : Whole


The archetype is the main source that a product or an idea is derived from. When beginning there has to be something that one can go back to and receive inspiration from. The prototypes are then derived around that product. The temple is an example of an Archetype/Prototype/Hybrid. The temple started about “1050 B.C.E., a wooden structure with upright columns completely in the central chamber… It is believed that the temple, with its surrounding colonnade was an attempt to recreate the sacred grove.” (Roth 231) The Greeks took the archetype from nature the groves that they used for sacrifice to the gods. They then built the temple of Hera I out of wood, and slowly over time reconstructed with all stone. The temple of Hera I is the prototype of the ideal Doric temple column. The Greeks put one row of columns in the middle and rows on the outside. Hera II was the next temple that used the Doric columns. This one spread out the columns into two rows instead of just one row in the middle. That temple was the prototype for the Temple of Athena or the Parthenon. The Greeks took out the row from the middle and moved them just to the porch of the temple. The building was made out of white marble and used Doric columns on the outside and Ionic columns on the inside. The Roman Temple “Based on Etruscan prototypes, was similar to the Greek temple and eventually was embellished with Greek orders and architectural details” (Roth 250). The Romans changed the temple to fit their needs and was on an axis instead of just made into the land. Furthermore, instead of it being able to be viewed from all sides it was viewed from only the front. All these elements make the Roman temple a Hybrid of the past and present. All the architecture in US Legislature is a hybrid of the past and present.


Source like archetype is where an idea or product originates. When designing something we must look at other sources, whether it is nature or another’s design. The Greeks, as mentioned before received inspiration from nature. They looked at the groves and came up with a temple that embodied natures form, but also achieved its commodity. The Romans then used the Greeks as an example of what their temple looked like. It was not an exact copy, but embodied the technology that the Greeks used.


The Greeks used Orders to decorate the interior and exterior of different buildings. They are classified by the capitals which are Doric, Ionic, Corinthian, and Composite. Each one came in a different chronological order, in which each capital changed each time. As time went on, the Greeks technology advanced to enable them to create different looks each time. These ancient orders are still around today, as explained by Blakemore when she says “Future periods of design were influenced by the characteristics observed in classical Greek and Roman architecture these are reflected in space planning, interior architecture, and furniture.” (Blakemore 30) It goes to show how History influences design every day.


An entourage can be described as a grouping. There are ways in which that can be taken in different ways. Rome was shaped by its entourage according to Blakemore “Foremost among these influences were geographic position, conquests, technology, priorities in social life, and religion” (Blakemore, 45). Rome was, because of the way they shaped the land to fit them and also how they used Etruscan and Greek ideas and made them into their own hybrid. Entourage can also be a grouping of items. They wanted to show power and wealth in what they did, and did this by taking others ideas and shaping them into a amazing technological piece. Furthermore, In Suzanne’s class we had to draw 12 thumbnails of a building. Those pictures made-up the entire building and gave a feel of what went on at that building. As designers we put together an Entourage of pictures and ideas just like the Romans, in order to design a space.


Hierarchy is entourage within a group, or a group within another group. Hierarchy may be social status, like the Wu-Wu, where men wanted to show social status by having the largest and widest structure in the middle of a forum. It showed that they were the highest ranking man and others were inferior. The size of buildings also correlated with hierarchy. In the acropolis each building connected back to the Parthenon making it the main focus in the town. When someone enters through the gate they are guided to see just that. The other buildings in the Acropolis are positioned to draw the eye straight back to the Parthenon. This shows the viewer that this building is the most important; hence, Athena is the main attraction.

The archetype/ prototype/ hybrid are all ways of funneling out ideas to create just one main outcome. All designers must start out with some sort of source to make their work unique, but also embody what the client wants. Furthermore, if a piece deserves special attention, we give it hierarchy to draw the eye straight there, and have everything else come back to that artifact. That compilation of pieces creates an entourage of work that over all makes the entire design come together. Each of these parts creates the whole in design. Without one the other will not function.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Thumbnail Drawings

For Suzanne's class we had to draw a specific building in thumbnail drawings to zoom in on how the building looked inside and out. My group had the Merle E. Mossman Administration building.
The drawings really allowed me to see how a certain area looked. Some Areas of the building needed updates. For instance the outside is older looking than the inside. The inside looked like it was updated within the last ten years. For this to be a building that prospective students see, I think a designer could go back and update the outside a lot better.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Scale Figures Around the World

Drinking and Drawing

For the Vignettes we had to go somewhere and drink and draw. The first two are Panera Bread, and the last is at Barnes and Noble.

This man stood really still, I think he figured out I was drawing him. Thanks random guy!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Opus Three


Scale can be interpreted in various ways. Scale is important in design, making an artifact in a space to big can take away from the design and can be over bearing or can show off a key piece. Throughout history humans have used scale to show power. According to Blakemore, “Class distinctions were reflected in the d├ęcor and size of a house”. In ancient Egypt the scale of a pharaohs building were large to show their power over ordinary town’s people. At the temple of Hatshepsut the building had large man like figures that towered above the common people, as if to give a warning to any intruders. The scale of buildings varied between males and females as well. The male’s temples were taller and pointed to the heavens, as if to say they were part of the gods. The female temples like that of Hatshepsut were smaller in height, to show they were less powerful than the men. In modern times, designers have to consider scale as well. They have to consider how the place will be viewed by the consumer. Banks use scale of their buildings to show wealth and security. The material of the buildings has changed, but they too make one think twice before robbing the place.


Unity is how different objects come together as a whole. For instance, in ancient Egypt and Greece, the people were a polytheistic society, who wanted to pay tributes to the gods. They created unity by designing buildings that connected the real life with the afterlife. The pyramids in Egypt created an invisible line that went up into the heavens and united the two together. The sun would beam down onto the top of the pyramids and travel equally throughout the rest of the pyramid to the land. The Greeks created the Parthenon as a temple to celebrate Athena the Goddess of wisdom. The columns on the corners are closer together than all the rest of the columns thus creating entasis, so that if the invisible line was drawn again it would come together at a point above the earth. This could possibly be interpreted as their way of bringing Athena down to the earth, uniting the Gods with the land. In present day our work must all come together to create a unified space. Consideration must be like the ancient Greek and Egyptian societies thus connecting our ideas to the space itself.


The earth created boundaries for humans and from then on we have created boundaries for ourselves. The water limits how far humans can expand our reign over the earth. The Egyptians settled along the Nile and eventually made a country villa on the space outside of the town. This villa was a “Walled enclosure and [its] dependencies” that only had a defined gate to determine who could enter. (Blakemore 6) Across the water, the Greeks had the Acropolis that had a wall and a gate that is similar to what the Egyptians were creating. They set up boundaries to show they owned the land and wanted to protect their wealth. The idea of putting up walls to protect ourselves has woven its way into our everyday lives. We have walls put up in our houses with doors to decide what is shown to our guests. It is our duty as designers to create walls that give our customer a sense of security in that space.


Section like unity can be interpreted in many ways. In design we create sections of various views of a space to show what the overall look is to the design. Walls are sliced into to display the materials used, the feel of the space, and depth to the design. Another view of section is that our basic house structure is influenced by that of ancient times. This is further stressed by Roth in his book “Modern civilization has added very few new basic building types to those that arose from the needs created in Neolithic times” (Roth 175) The very basic outline of a house was set up as a “tripartite arrangement [that] begins with the reception spaces and is followed by the great hall and a private section. (Blakemore 6). The Egyptians had the portico, hypostyle, and the naos. (Blakemore 2-3). The Greeks similarly had the porch, court, and hearth. Almost every architecture space has those clearly defined sections at the core. One receives guests at the door (porch), and then proceeds to the living room to converse (court), and the bed room is only for designated people (hearth).


Vignette as we learned in Suzanne’s class captures a moment in time by drawing. History at its core is a vignette. It tells a story from architecture, drawings, writing, and so on. The design of artifacts captures that moment in time and it is up to present day humans to decipher what the true reasoning was behind that piece. Our vignettes that we did for class captured the moment of different locations. To me my picture of a man at Panera Bread made me think he was having a bad phone call by his body language. Another individual may think that he was having a stressful day and it had nothing to do with the phone call. That captured moment can be viewed in many ways just like that of history.

Blakemore, R. G. (2006). History of Interior Design & Furniture. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Roth, Leland M. "Understanding Architecture." Its Elements, History, and Meaning. Cambridge: Westview Press, 2007.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Looking Back in Order to Look Foward


Means "construction or expression of one language whose parts correspond to elements in another language but whose total structure or meaning is not matched in the same way in the second language." In history, Stonehenge can be interpreted as an idiom. The meaning of the stone circle has been in question for over centuries. Our meaning of Stonehenge might be completely different than their original meaning. This week in Studio we learned the importance of having symbolic meanings in our work. The American idea behind the color red could be perceived as love, where as in another country it could symbolize communism or the devil. This is idiomatic. The choice a designer makes in materials has to be well thought out, as to not offend ones client.


Material plays a big role in design. In Egypt, the people had limited materials at their disposal, so they had to work with what items they did have. This hindrance led them to adapt their technology to make what they needed. In the desert there was an unlimited amount of sand to use so they made a variety of structures with it. They used the sand in one instance to build a hill to move slabs of sandstone into columns towering above to the heavens. This limited use of materials can be adjusted into modern day as well. If we only have one piece of MDF available and a chair, server, and workstation needs to be made, we have to adapt our design to fit the materials at hand.

This word can have many different meanings. In Suzanne’s class we illuminate objects every day by drawing them. We went and found vignettes in our everyday lives and drew them to remember that day. When I go back to that page later in life, it will “shed some light upon” that specific day. Light can also affect how humans perceive an object. Manipulation of light has been used over thousands of years as far back as the Egyptians. The Egyptians wanted to make the Giza pyramids stand out from the desert, so they covered the sandstone with a slick limestone, so that the top would gleam during the day. This effect made the top of the pyramid look like it was lit up. Roth writes that “Light is a most effective element in creating a sense of mystery and awe” (Roth 86)* The Egyptians must have stood in amazement when the pyramids were in full glory in 2560 BC.
Commodity, Firmness, and Delight
The basic elements of architecture were first described by Vitruvius as “providing utility, firmness, and beauty” (Roth 11) Sir Henry Wotton later shortened that phrase to just commodity firmness and delight (Roth 11). Any design must have a function. Whether that function changes over the years or stays the same it is inevitable for it to occur. The pyramids in Egypt are an example of this once again. Careful consideration went into making the building withstand the test of time, because The Egyptians wanted the buildings to outlast them. The tombs were being robbed and other pharaohs were taking from the graves to build their own legacy, therefore, a new plan had to be made to deal with firmness. The tombs function was unchanged, but to show power, a new plan was devised to deal with all three elements .After thousands of years the pyramids at Giza Egypt are still standing. The limestone has eroded away almost completely, but it is still standing after all these years. The Egyptians with limited tools created one of the Seven Wonders of the World (Roth 196). There in lies delight. The human mind “seeks out mathematical and geometrical relationships”. The pyramids at Giza have precise measurements of 51 degrees 50’ to face up directly with the sun. (Roth 196). This connection gives our eyes and minds something to ponder and gives it beauty or delight. If the pyramids were off on one side, they would not be as well perceived as they are now. As designers we must incorporate these three things into our work, because when one element changes the other is then affected.
*Roth, Leland M. "Understanding Architecture." Its Elements, History, and Meaning. Cambridge: Westview Press, 2007