Friday, March 27, 2009

Alternatives Unit Summary

In the Alternative section of History and Theory of Design, we learned new architecture based off of the previously learned architecture of the foundations unit. The alternative unit was all about starting to revise the ancient world and make it new and better that it was before.
Once the Roman Empire ceased to exist, the people of that era were in total chaos. In the early Gothic Era there was a rise in Christianity that swept the western world because the church was the only safe orderly place left. The main goal of the Gothic period was to make order out of chaos. Churches were erected in the shape of crosses to bring heaven to earth through design. The center and usually the tallest crossing point of the church is where the two would meet and create centrality and order. Italy at this time was concerned with geometrical division as well. The church \people believed that the genetic code of the universe was in geometric shapes, and if the world ended at the beginning of the century, it would not be destroyed. All of the churches at this time used light to connect the world back to heaven through design. In all of the chaos, the church sought the keep the order through geometric shapes, light, and height.
In the Renaissance period they were even more obsessed with order and perfection. They chose to revive the ancient world in a Romanesque manner “in the manner of Rome” The question was though how do you legitimately and appropriately revive the past? They wanted to stick to the rules of Rome, but somehow change the designs. The dome at Santa Maria del Fiore was inspired by the pantheon only Brunelleschi wanted to he used a cloister vault. It had a steep pointed profile and was octagonal in shape. There was a thicker dome on the inside and a thinner one on the outside and the two were nested inside of each other connected by ribbed arches at each of the corners. This all began reviving the past.
After the Renaissance there was an intense need for something new that had never been done before. In order to this rules had to be broken and artistic creativity had to break out of the box. At the beginning of the seventeen century the same structural and static structures were pushed to the edge by the Baroque period. Baroque designs were elaborate, embellished, and complex. It was all about capturing movement in emotion in the work and further expanding design. The statue of David by Michelangelo in the Renaissance was standing there in thought, while Bernini’s David was captured in movement with intense expression on his face. After the Baroque period, there was a transition to Rococo architecture. This design was about light colors and the delicate, irregular curvilinear ornament captured in the design. This was partially due to the stuffy architecture of the chateau Versailles in France. Everyone was sick of the cramped interiors and wanted to feel at ease. The rococo architecture achieved this with the fluidity of the designs.
All the new architecture that arose after the fall of Rome was helpful in to deside was is legitimate in design. Do we keep it simple and to the rules or do we break the rules with elaborate details and colors. All of these designs gave way to what was about to happen in the next phase of architecture when technology pushes design further.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Grammar: Syntax


At the heart of all designs there is revision. No design is ever finished on the first try. Designers must constantly revise their project to make it better. The royal chateau at Versailles was originally a hunting lodge but it was revised to be bigger and bigger until the French Revolution. When it was built in 1624 the building was small in size, but in it was enlarged in 1631-1636. The chateau at that time had “Several geometric garden parterres laid out west of the chateau, defining an axis centered on the lodge and stretching westward into the landscape” (Roth 417) When Louis XIV came into total control of the building he ended up drastically changing the chateau even more after his minister of finance made his own chateau much more extensive than the kings. The king had his architects wrap a new building around the existing building and leave that untouched. The plan was to “celebrate the king, his rule, and his military victories through numerous allusions to Apollo.” (Roth 418) He also made the landscape more elaborate by adding more water features like pools, fountains and water basins. To further his extensive building the infamous Hall of Mirrors was added to the west façade to reflect the large outdoors into the massively decorated indoors. Every detail that was put into the revised building that is Versailles radiated the notion that all things were to come back to the most important feature; the king. The revising of the small hunting lodge into a large château is hard to imagine


In design it is very important to consider our audience when we are designing. After all, we are not designing for ourselves we are designing for the public. The designer has to follow what the customer wants in order for his or her design to be successful. In Versailles I explained over the revisions that took place again and again in order to achieve the king’s goal of showing his power and having it all relate back to himself. The town’s people were the audience, and since the king did not concern himself with the financial aspect of Versailles this caused the people to be in a crisis, which led to the French revolution. The time that it all takes place is important to consider as well for audience. Now that the French revolution is over, Versailles is overwhelmingly beautiful and extravagant. Although it was not appreciated as much back then, it is more than appreciated now. The hall of mirrors reflects back the beauty of the outdoors and brings it indoors to command the space as explained by Roth “Windows face the gardens westward and banks of mirrors on the opposite walls reflect the light throughout the room” (Roth 419) The viewer cannot help but be taken back by the glory of the space. Every aspect put into the glory of Versailles is in or reflected in that space.

Charter I believe is how a space is decorated to give it an appealing look. It is something that is added to a room that makes it a real stunning design. In the Baroque period in the seventeen century the apart from the chimney piece the ceiling was what gave a room character. The ceilings were decorated with plaster and “included such motifs as naturalistic fruit, foliage, curling flowers, putti, and animals.” (Blakemore 206) The ceilings were very elaborate works of art that drew the eye upward and were at such a delicate feature, that it was no wonder why they were on the ceiling. The rooms were overwhelming with the décor of the plaster designs. They were given character to places that normal ordinary people did not have. It shows wealth through the extensive detail put into the work.

Last week in Suzanne’s class we were to create a board that had a clear datum line. The Mossman building group that I was in, was commended on having a clear and successful datum line. It is an area that allowed the eye to understand what to read first and where to go from there on out. Our board had the groups pictures lined up along the datum line and on the datum line we included the title and group members. If there was no datum line, the project would not read as well and would not be as successful. Instead the eye would not know where to look first and make the board look less professional. As far as history is concerned I believe the line of reference could be that of thought and emotion. In the renaissance the world was concerned with thought and writing down all the rules of the ancient architecture and design. While in the Baroque time period it was all about breaking the rules and going towards emotion and movement. There is no datum line in Bernini’s work. His work had lots of movement, and the eye did not know where to go. The mind is constantly moving throughout his work, although this does not make his work unsuccessful, this is the way he wanted his work to be viewed.


During the seventeenth century there was a transition from baroque to rococo architecture. The Baroque architecture broke the rules and was more about “elaborate, embellished, and complex” and focused on decorative elements and deep colors (Roth 398). However, around the end of the seventeenth century there was a transition to Rococo, which had “the use of light colors and the delicate, irregular curvilinear ornament. This transition was partly due to Versailles, due to the cramped quarters that the court had to live in. When Louis XIV died the “nobles moved to Paris, where they erected spacious private houses [and] hotels” (Roth 430) This moving from Versailles to the western outskirts of the city is further explained by Roth “ these hotels were most often painted ivory, cream white, or in pale pastel tints and were paned with delicate frames formed of lacy tendrils and wisps of gilded ornament…the Rococo interiors must have felt like a breath of fresh air after the somber interiors of Versailles, loaded with heavy pilasters and entablatures.(Roth 430) The transition was more towards going back inside the box instead of breaking all of the rules of art. The transitions that happened back in the seventeenth century speak a lot of what happens in design. Many things can impact design to change it into something new. As designers we must be open to changing our designs with the design or rebelling against them to create our own transition into something new.

Friday, March 20, 2009

I. Justification introduction
· Short History of the designer
· Precedent for the building
· Structure of the building
II. Commodity
· What the building is used for now
· Reason for building
III. Firmness
· Problems faced during construction
· Why it was almost torn down
· Problems faced over time
· Delight Form
· Decorative Materials
· Sculpture as art itself
· Light
· Different Names
· Location
IV. Conclusion
· What the building has inspired today
· What the house brings to design versus history

Images will be as follows:
1. Interior Elevation (Pen on Bond/Vellum)
2. Exterior Elevation (Pencil and Pen)
3. Exterior Top View (Pen on bond)
4. Interior House Detail (Marker, Colored Pencil)
5. Exterior House Detail (Pen and Watercolor on Watercolor Paper)
6. First, Second, Third Level Floor Plan (Pencil and Pen on Vellum)
7. Exterior Perspective (Pen)
8. Exterior Perspective (Watercolor)
9. Interior Perspective (Pen and Color Pencil)
10. Interior Perspective –Stairs (Pencil)
The scale of each picture has not been decided yet.
I have a concern about finding how large the building is itself. I found pictures on plans and other media but as far as how the building is divided up in square footage is something I am having a hard time finding. Another is where to look for a section cut.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Sculptured House

Sculptured House

Charles Deaton


Genesee Mountain, Colorado

I was originally going to go with the Jumeriah Beach Hotel in Dubai, but I saw the Sculptured House while searching and immediately had to do this one instead.

The house is shaped like a clamshell and was originally a sculpture. The Architect Charles Deaton knew that the sculpture would eventually be built into a house, but did not design the house with a specific floorplan in mind. There was not even a scale until the house was completed. Charles Deaton died in 1996 and never saw the interior of the building finished. His daugher Charlee, an interior designer and architect, saw over the finalities in 2000. The clamshell part of the house was originally 250 sq. ft, but when Praxis Design and Charlee Deaton took over, the house was doubled to 500 sq. ft. The house is so off of what normal houses look like and that is why it interests me. Patrick once asked what made a building a piece of art or architecture, and I feel this house embodies both. It is a work of art, that someone can live in.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

P Week

In design it is important to have professionalism. When presenting a design to a customer, one is not only selling the design they are also selling themselves as well. The designer has to look polished present themselves well. They should be dressed nicely and speak intelligently or else the customer might feel that the person is not worthy of their time. Furthermore the presented work must look as polished as the designer as well. The design must not have any stray marks and be set up on a type of grid with a clear datum line. For Suzanne’s class we had to set up a panel in the hallway that was professional looking. The group set up the pictures on a grid and created a red datum line that connected to the Mossman building. The work was neatly laid out so that when a passerby walked by the grid would be easily readable to the person.

A portfolio is a designer’s complete body of work. This can be in a hard copy on paper, or it could also be on file. For our design classes we have two different places for our work. Stoel’s drawing class we have all of our work in a hard copy portfolio that is every piece of drafting we have done so far. In studio and Suzanne’s drawing class our portfolio is online in our blog. We post everything we have done so far in a certain manner so that it looks professional, and is free of getting lost. As long as it is on our blog and on a flash drive, there is no more worries of something getting misplaced.

In design there is a certain process to each person’s design. It starts off with a precedent then develops into a sketch model, which after a few revisions turns into the final product. For history we have been learning about the early renaissance architecture. I found that the process of “rebuilding” Rome to its former glory and one main focus was St. Peter’s. Donato Bramante was chosen to mark the spot where Saint Peter had been crucified. Bramante looked to Alberti for the ideal centralized church. “Alberti had used the Latin word templum … Bramante took Alberti literally, deriving his martyruim for Saint Peter … the result was Tempietto (little Temple) (Roth 372). The New Saint Peters however, was to be bigger than Constantine’s church, embodying the ideals of the new architecture and proclaiming the power of an invigorate Christianity while surpassing the achievement of pagan antiquity” (Roth 372) Bramante’s new process was to resemble the ancient pantheon but was higher. His plan was to again use geometric shapes (circles, squares, cubes hemispherical domes) to create a large church that “rivaled scale of the Romans (Roth 374) The rough design of the church was costly and the project split the church. Therefore, the project was temporarily halted. When resumed by Michaelangelo, the centralized plan was changed repeatly yet kept the sence of it. The proposal was to “Making one of the [arms] the entry by ending it in a huge colanaded temple front.” (Roth 375) After his death, the building would be resumed in the baroque period. The process of rebuilding Rome to its glory ended up taking a long time period, split the church and changed frequently. It shows us as designers that we must take in to account various issues that will arise in design. We must consider how we will deal with the problems and eventually create an outstanding design.


Various One point and two point perspectives
One Point PerspectiveOne Point Perspective

There is two different ways to think about the word perspective. The first is in drawings there are different perspectives to draw an item. If something is looked at straight on the picture would be in one point perspective. However, if there is a corner the picture would be in two point perspective. I also found that it can be a way that someone views architecture. The urban palazzi were a way to be perceived as being rich and affluent. Some of the buildings like Palazzo Medici were just the front of the building that was seen only on the front façade or from a one point perspective. However, at Palazzo Farnese paid for the open space and built a two point perspective, corner lot palazzo. The building was out in an open space and had a grand fountain in front to show they were a prominent family. The building was owned by Cardinal Farnese who “held enormous power in the Vatican” (Roth 378) The cardinal kept making bigger, hence making people perceive him as a wealthy and powerful man. How the site will be viewed and how it will look from various points are all important things to consider when designing a space.

Periphery refers to the edge or outskirts of a city. . The Germanic invasions allowed pushed the refugees further and further out, until they were eventually on the marsh lands of Italy. No one else wanted the land, so they had to make due with what they had. The entire city of Venice is built on top of large trees buried into the ground that the people got from the mountains. The city has been referred to as the “city of water”. The city broke the boundary of the water and chose to build on top of it instead of limiting themselves to just the land. This breaking of the boundaries and normality, made Venice a trade center for the western Europe and the rest of the world at the time. The fact that the people of Venice turned into a prosperous country given the circumstances is outstanding. The space inside the periphery is designed for the rise and fall of the tides, and to last through decomposing. Designers come in contact with periphery in every one of their designs. There is a certain “boundary” to keep in mind while designing. Whether it be the site, price, or space, the design has to consider all of them in order for it to be successful.

This week more than others was especially hard to connect with history. All of these words I feel have a major role in design more so than anything else. Up and for most is that as designers we are professional in all of the work that we do. We must be sure to look the part and that our portfolio of work looks it as well. The portfolio contains our process up until our final piece of work. Furthermore, we must consider the different perspectives people will look at the design and have multi-angles of our work in our portfolio as well. Finally the designer must consider where the design will go and the periphery of that design. The design challenge is keeping inside of the periphery and working with that to achieve a top design.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Macro to Micro

Porch, Court, Hearth

So far in the semester in History, we have been learning a lot about porch, court, and hearth. Ever since the basic structure was outlined in ancient Egypt, the tripartite has been in effect. The porch is the entrance where one decides who gets to enter. Next is the court, which is the gathering place where people can meet to talk. Finally is the hearth where only a select few are allowed to go. In the acropolis in Greece, this arrangement is easy to point out. The porch is at the main entrance where Athena Nike’s temple sits above for news. The court is the wide open stretch of land that leads up to the hearth of the Parthenon. Ancient Greece was not the only one to have this arrangement, in present day homes, in which this outline is set up to section off rooms into private and public spaces.


This week in Suzanne’s class we focused on details of buildings. Details are element of design that makes the building unique. They are tiny elements that make the building recognizable by just seeing them. When we were given the assignment to draw details for Suzanne I chose to do the concrete wall facing on the Mossman Building. No other part of UNCG’s campus has this on the front of the building. It’s a small thing but on a larger scale it is what makes up the entire building.

In history we have been learning about the cathedrals during the Renaissance. The people were convinced that the world would come to an end, and the church was the only hopeful salvation. The cathedrals used geometric shapes that correlated with the genetic code of the universe, and if the world were to end the cathedrals wouldn’t be destroyed. This detail is incorporated into all the Cathedrals of that time period. Another detail that the church had was the ribbed vaulted ceilings. The ceilings were a series of triangles making up a square to hold up the cathedral’s roof. This detail was not only for delight but was symbolic of the church holding together the town, because without the church the towns would be sent into even bigger chaos.


Designers use plans to show the outline of a building that includes fully detailed setup of the building. The plans are not that interesting to look at, not to mention regular people would not know how to read them correctly. Luckily there are diagrams to show circulation patterns, function, the context, zoning, and other elements to help the consumer understand the layout of the design. These diagrams are nicer to look at as well. They can include colors, pictures and shapes that make it look more like a work of art, rather than a boring set of lines.


Composition is a key element to design, without, the design would be a mess of different pieces. Composition would be better to describe parts to a whole, considering different parts (details) make up a composition that in turn creates a whole. The details have to come together to create a unified piece of work. For instance, at Salisbury Cathedral there are many different elements coming together like the high ceilings at the crossing point of the crosses, versus the low span of the entire building. These elements come together by having the ribbed vaults connecting the two throughout the entire building making it into a glorious composition. The geometry in making the cathedrals was quite like Vitruvius did by connecting the proportions to the human body itself “Ideal systems of proportion, he observed, can be found in the perfect proportions of the human body” (Roth 359). At Amiens Robert first walked the measure of a man and made a fifty foot square, from there he used a series of crosses and angles to create the mammoth sized building. The connection between man and architecture is a beautiful way of connecting the details together to create a composition.


From what I have gathered so far in History, I feel like impression is all about how architecture affects us personally and how it carries with us throughout the remainder of our lives. It is how we perceive a building, and what the building tells us without the designer there to explain. The cathedrals were all about impression when they came in to take over when the Roman Empire fell away. The cathedrals were a safe haven to the town’s people and gave them a place to create “order out of the chaos”. The dynamic effect that the church had on the towns people both physically and spiritually created an impression on the way the world would go from then on. Once you enter through the doors of the gothic cathedrals it takes a hold of you with its beauty and epic height. Once one has visited the cathedrals, they will take that experience with them throughout the remainder of their lives. As present day designers, we all must have a way of impressing the client in our own unique ways. We want to have an effect on someone that carries with them throughout the lifetime and that they never want to forget.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Inspirational Drawings

For Suzanne's class we had to get inspiration from other artists around the world and try to find our own unique style in them. I liked trying new techniques to use water color and markers. The following pictures are first the inspiration then my own renditions of them.

Pete Scully

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Foundation of Architecture

In the foundations unit of History and Theory of Design the main focus was where and when architecture first began. The foundations unit was just that, the architecture that was first started in ancient times was the foundation for the way building types look today. The archetypes in ancient Greece, Egypt, and Rome, are what the designers of modern times pulled from to make the world today.
Not only were the designs archetypes for modern times, they were also prototypes for following civilizations. In ancient Mesopotamia the stepped ziggurat let into the pyramids in Egypt. The ziggurats purpose was to get physically and spiritually closer to god, and at the highest point the temple this would help them achieve this goal. Each individual ziggurat was built for a particular god, the ziggurat of Ur –Nammu was devoted to the moon god Nanna. The pyramids that the ancient Egyptians used were to immolate the same effect, to reach heavenward to the gods through structure. The Egyptians smoothed over the steps and had unique measurements to directly correlate with the suns location. The pyramids at Giza were used to celebrate the god Rah. The Egyptians believed in making their buildings last longer than they would because the afterlife was more important than the reality. They believed that their tombs were a passageway into the afterlife and who and what they brought with them would be how they lived for the rest of eternity. They made elaborate pyramids out of limited technology and materials that lasted for hundreds of centuries. The pharaohs would steal from existing structures to help make their pyramid larger and better. The bigger and better concept would carry on throughout the remainder of history to help build up our world with structures.
The ancient Egyptians also introduced the tripartite arrangement included in Hypostyle hall. This temples form was copied by the Greeks who incorporated it into major buildings in their cities. The porch, court, and hearth was an arrangement in which the porch was for deciding who was to enter, the hearth was for meeting and greeting, and the hearth was only for important people like priests. The basic outline that was established in ancient times carried throughout history into modern day homes and buildings. In the home there is the porch, living room and the bedroom. All decide who is worthy enough to be allowed in to the sacred hearth.
After the Greeks faded out the Romans came in to further develop the basic outline of architecture. The Romans used a hybrid of all the previous civilizations to create wonders out of concrete. Along with creating big buildings and cities, the Romans created other important architectural elements to reach heavenward. The invention of the “wu-wu” was the male form of saying that bigger was in fact better. The structures would be placed out in open areas for all to see in wonder at their glorious wu-wu. Arches were added later as the female form into design. They weren’t necessarily used for a passageway, but more of a symbol of success. Soon after the basilica in form became the prototype for churches. The churches were to create order out of chaos when the Roman Empire came to an end. The heaven on earth embodiment of churches was put into the architecture by line and form. The footprint was laid out in girth and in height with geometric precision, so if the earth ended the basic forms would help the church be the last thing standing.
The foundations unit thoroughly explained how history affects architecture in every single way. The prototypes laid down in ancient times are still in effect for current designers to receive inspiration from. Each civilization copied off of one other to improve the architecture and look of the world. All wanted to be better than the last, so height and form was key to showing power. Without the foundations of the ancient world, who knows where humans today would be.