Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Design Drafting

Analytical Presentation of The Kathleen Clay Edwards Library

The Kathleen Clay Edwards Library opened on September 10, 2004. The library was named after its benefactor Kathleen Clay Bryan Edwards, a devoted philanthropist who donated 2.5 million To Piedmont Land Conservancy to protect Price Park. This land was previously owned by Jefferson Pilot and was sited for the company club house. Edwards’s donation was in honor of her grandparents Julian and Ethel Clay Price, founders of Pilot Life Insurance. Piedmont Land conservancy holds permanent easement rights on the perk to ensure that the land is always used as a passive park. The Greensboro parks and Recreation Department oversees the maintence of Price Park where the Library is located.(http://www.greensboro/ Libraries.com)

This grand opening initiated the environmental focus of this branch. The event included a poetry reading from environmentalist and theologian Thomas Berry. Father Thomas Berry is considered an Ecotheologian. Also the T. Gilbert Pearson Audubon Society in collaboration with the city’s park and recreation department and the Piedmont Land Conservancy.
In the entrance/reception area of the library is a large cupola(a dome like structure with a polygonal base) the dome has a polygonal lantern with windows all around. This cupola is similar to the cupolas of ancient Roman temples which illuminate the space below. [1]There is a mural of wild life and nature scenes on it with verses from Thomas Berry’s poetry which state that it is the responsibility of this generation to lead the next generation in learning about the earth and its inhabitants that we would be good stewards of the earth for the sake of the next generation to come. “That it takes a universe to educate a child”, “ It takes a universe to fulfill a child”. This is just one of the verses written on this oculus.

In Thomas Berry’s latest work, The Great Work: Our Way into the Future, “Father Berry gives an historical perspective, with the environmental crises multiplying around the globe. Berry offers the alternative of deeply affirming the sacred quality of the earth”
To summarize briefly we as human beings should be good stewards of the earth and that
Everything on earth need not be tamed. We must learn to accept things in the wild as nature intended them to be that all living things have a purpose on earth. There is a huge
Conflict between developers and environmentalist. We should truly study the earth (nature itself and learn to live with it in it’s natural state that over developing the land is detrimental to all living things.
Kathleen Clay Edwards Library is the first environmental library in North Carolina with the soul purpose to educate the community about conservation of the earth. They have programs such as the master gardening program to teach about gardening and replenishing the soil. Just recently they had a Earth Day celebration. Every month the calendar is filled with activities for individuals as well as families to enjoy the outside
Area. This library is located on 93 acre Price Park. They have a bird and butterfly meadow, a reading garden, walking trails, ponds and wetlands. The Library has an extensive collection of nature gardening and environmental resources for children and adults. The architects for this building are Teague, Freyaldenhoven and Freyaldenhoven . (TFF) The architectures of this building ensured that the construction of the library was environmentally conscious and minimize the impact on the park. .A large red oak tree which was cut down was used in furniture items these were then auctioned to provide funding for the library. The library has many green building features including natural
cork flooring, carpet tiles made from recycled materials, and ply-bent wood chairs which use the most sustainable process in furniture making. Low flow toilets were installed and solar panels and a cistern system to collect rain water is used to maintain the gardens around the library grounds. The building that I compared my selection in this analysis is the Weissenhoff building in Stuttgart Germany built by Mies VanDer Rohe which was built on the international style in 1927. Other architects in the international style was Frank Lloyd Wright and Le Corbusier.

1[1] The Stalin Report, leadership in energy and environmental design.
2. www. Greensboro/libraries.com
3.www. newbuilding.co “ A Sustainable life
4.www .Thomas Berry.com
5.www. Teague, Freyaldenhoven and Freyaldenhoven.com
6. Great buildings on line-Archiplanet.com
I also phyiscally surveyed the building and the grounds itself because the cistern system was not in existence at the time of the building being in construction. This was later added on by another company.

Thursday, May 7, 2009


Ten Best things that Guides my Design Journey:

1. Egyptian Pyramids and any kind of Egyptian artifact. The Pyramids fascinate me. When I was a child in elementary school a student did a science project by putting bread under a pyramid shape and days later the bread was still fresh. It was preserved. I own an authentic Papyrus Egyptian painting.

2. The Immaculate Cathedral in Washington DC. Again my grandmother would take my cousins and I to this Cathedral on special occasions. There seem to be an aura of majestic peace and reverence when ever we visited this Cathedral .

My Grandmother's dishes. My grandmother always set the table for evening dinner after breakfast so that all she had to do was serve dinner when my Grandfather came home.from work. I loved to see the pattern on the plate as I ate my dinner.

I love animals all kinds but especially exotic birds, Macaws,Parrots, Parakeets, etc.
their feathers are so beautiful and colorful. They are such intelligent animals then again all animals are.

Amphitheaters: I enjoy sitting outside in an amphitheater listening to Music

love a cup of warm coffee in the morning.

I grew up with Danish modern furniture. My Mother had a fetish for good furniture. My Grandfather was from Denmark.

I love the sea and Islands anywhere especially in the Caribbean.
I love to travel and meet new people and places.

So these are a few of the things that inspire my Design Journey.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Coming full circle

Community We had a party for the IAR community last week and I'm sorry I missed it. I could not get in at the gate because I came alone and left my phone at home and was unable to call someone to let me in. Bummer.
One of the notable aspects of critical regional reactions to imported Euro-American Modernism was the reaffirmation of community of creating environments for groups of people living and working together in ancestral traditional ways. pp 607 Roth
As far as Interior Architectural Design goes we are coming full circle in our now global economy. The world has become a smaller place to live. A Global community your neighbor may have been born anywhere in the world and for now the house next door may look like everyone else's on the outside but the interior will be of the culture from which they came. With the high level of immigrants into America and Europe people from Asia, Africa and the Middle East, and South America have a determinate influence on style of furnishings. For example people from the Middle East don't sit at a table to eat they sit in a circle on the floor. Many African countries still use their hands to eat with instead of table ware. People from Mexico and South America like to paint their homes in bright color that remind them of their homes were they came from. These are just some examples of change happening in American and European cultures. Since the 1990s with the rapid change in electronic communication and constant change in communication devices we are able to do business globally communicated with countries all at the same time. Do banking electronically. Work from home, go to school from home or even home schooling our children not attending a building except for the main home. Before 2008, the Housing market for the past forty years has been mainly healthy but now this is no longer so. The fall of the housing market has caused a financial crisis across this country and across the world. What will be the out come of this crisis with people all over losing their way of making a living.

How does this effect architectural style we are already across major cities in the US cutting back on new construction of housing and most cities are in trouble finding funding to preserve historic homes. Some cities across the US are thinking about using for housing the huge van's shipped with goods from China that stay empty in stock yards in major cities .
According environmentalist it is a good low cost living structure that stays cool in summer and due to insulation between the panels warm in winter. Use and reuse /sustainable living? I agree with Patrick in class when he mentioned stewardship. Sustainability means good stewardship of what we have in natural resources, water, soil , food, housing and building. Many store front are going empty and homes all over the country are going into foreclosure meaning empty homes. What impact will this have on the near future. Even here in Greensboro N. C. I see beautiful homes up for sale by owner due to the staggering economy. Times are a little frightening today what impact will this have on the near future for us as Designers?

Future designers will have to come up with inovated ways for housing, will we have communal homes like some in the 1960's. Will homes become smaller and close together? Will historic building be used for other purposes? Will there be a need for a School building if everyone communicates by electronic means? Who will be the new Designer to invent the best econological way to create housing that will be sustainable for 100's of years.in the future. As an older American most of us have cut down, cut back and realized that "less is more" from Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

(Pair)ing Down

In our communications and Design class we were assigned first a window treatment that had to present duality and medication and celebration. We went through a process of twelve different drawing showing negative/positive,in/out,front/back,
dark/light and so on. We were allowed to use MDF board and paper or one other liner element. This project is now a continuation of another project that has to do with making a mediative.celebrative room out of the two offices on the first floor,room 118 and room 120. We had to get the dimenision of the room do a plan, plan elevation and three sections also reconstruct the room as one unit eleminating the middle wall choose to make the now office into a lounge for graduate students a place to relax mediate or sleep if need, as well as a mini public gathering place.

In Interior Architecture class the Arts and Crafts designer were more mediative in their craft of furniture making it was well made but rather plain and sterile.It was comfortable and well made but not as exciting as the Art Nouveau designers like Victor Horta with his Winter Garden. Celebrative style of Art Deco or Contemporary American design of Frank Lloyd Wright with his etched class windows in the SC Johnson and Son Administative building in Racine Wisconsin.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Action Verbs:

Speculate: Neoexpresionist speculated that their designs would be accepted and approved by Stheir clients and the public in general. In 1995 Gunther Domenig exposes what seems to be a skeletal frame of crete piers and beams extending a trussed steel and glass mass that curves
as it reaches out extending each story as it rises, with a slender steel beam and diagonals reching out from the finisher structure as if it were unfinished. Two other well known were Bart Prince and Grank Gehry who were known as biomorphic expresionist.
Prince is know for the a house in Corona del del mar,made of combined concrete and wood in curved and faceted modules. Frank L. Wright was another biomorphic architect who used trapezoidal plan layout with angeld incorporating sheet metal and cyclone fencing with angluar roofing. One major problem was translating this design on drawings for the client to see. Then of cource the most famous is the Guggenheim Muesium. These two architects are more artists than anything else expressing their thoughts and ideas as to what a designed building should be
and getting their clients to buy into their ideas.
In Design class we had to spectulate how to redesign our classroom windows for a place of duality and celebration.
Compose: Art Deco designs were composed of geometric emphasis derived from Cubism.
This was avant-garde movement in painting from 1907 to 1914 led by Pablo Picasso and George Braque it meant to deconstruct the Renaissance form of representing three dimensions of a two dimensional surface. This new analysis of visual reality resulted in fragmented , angular forms known in Art Deco work. Art Deco artist looked beyond the European influence for their design they look at the East and Middle East Japan to Arabria for the exotic. Large pillows for the floor. platform mattresses bright bold colors in the room and woodwork a resemble
from magazines and plays . A while back we watched the movie a Mid-Night Summer's Dream and from this we composed a story about our artifact which followed to other related designs in our combined design classes this semester. One of our lastest assignments was how is a story like a design.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Origins of Modernism:

Modern architecture started in the western hemisphere. This began to happen around the 18th century with the onset of the industrial revolution. The modern era had little to do with any particular style but brought on by several revolutions. The modern movement came about with a world wide shift from authoritarian government to democratic republics. The economic change in the world of commerce and power of business corporations opened the door to a new class of people the wealthy and the middle class. The previous political power of the church began to greatly diminish. The reaching back to the great philosophers, and thinkers of the past and present, new thinkers, craft people, inventors. People began to open up their minds and hearts to new and expanded changes in their world. This was contrary to religious control over man.
This period was known as The Age of Enlightenment. Like a cancer,massive changes began to take place in Europe and Asia and the newly developed country of America. Changes in science attributed to better food production, better land management, better diets produced longevity in human race which caused the need for better housing and transportation. Scientific research in medicine to stop or control diseases. "Edward Jenner's vaccine against smallpox in 1796."Roth 440. Diderot a champion of the philosophies of France created and published the "Encyclopedie"
a illustrated summation of knowledge which advanced the new social ideas.
People looked back at the Ionic Greek scientists who believed "the only knowledge one could be certain of was the one that could be demonstrated by scientific observation and measurement."
P.442 Roth.
Scientific discoveries in physics inspired by Isaac Newton and Benjamin Franklin showed that lighting was a form of electricity. Discoveries in chemistry, Antione Lavoisier who identified 23 chemical elements. The reshaping of social and political thinking such as that of John Locke, Baron de Montesquieu, and Jean Jacques Rousseau,(noted for instigating the French Revolution), along with the writing of the Roman republic history. This lead to the American colonies revolt against British rule and then to the Declaration of Independence. " that all men are created equal with certain inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness......"
In reality these rights were for some people in the newly founded American, not for the native Indian Americans or for the African Slaves brought by force to the new country.
Were they not men too? OK this is for another period in America.

Architecture homogeneity began to change during the Renaissance of the new humanist architecture which spread outside of Italy. During the 18th century there was available a multitude of architectural choices. One factor that changed in architecture was from the fake to the real. Example are two churches St. Genevieve in Paris,and Vierzehnheilgen which was decorated with stucco carving and scagliola work from Baroque and Rococo illusionist. St. Genevieve was decorated with real marble the columns were not just decorative but served supportive function. The vaults were solid stone. When this church was finished it was turned into a mausoleum for great French heroes and renamed' el Pantheon" for France.

Somehow through the periods of architectural changes Gothic, Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque and Rococo Architecture the formation and foundation of ancient Greek and Roman architecture had been altered and changed so it was practically unrecognized. There were no real drawings of ancient architecture or writings to explain ancient civilization. So during the 18th century a art historian Johann Jochim Winckelmann (1717-1768) actually visited the excavation of Pompeii and then wrote a series of open letters explaining his findings. This led to his being known as the Father of Archaeology. Winkelman's writings were published the first was" Reflections on the paintings and Sculpture of the Greeks, and History of the Art of the Ancients. He is also known as the Father of Art History due to his ability to formulate cultural factors and climate and politics to the development of his art.

The English followed suit to the excavations of Rome and Greece with James Stewart, and Nicholas Revett. In 1761 they published The Antiquities of Athens. France did the same thing
Jacques-Germain Soufflot (1713-1780). Therefore most of the European nations are returning to the ancient ruins to see what culture and architecture was really like in ancient times
In this time period architects wanted to get back to the basic elements of good design set by the Greeks and Romans but to incorporate new functions. One example was Etenne-Louis Boulee's
Centoph built for Issac Newton based on the mausoleums of Rome. Another was the Salt Works at the Village of Arc and Senans in eastern France were he arranged a city surrounding the salt factory. The photo below is the administrative HQ's for the Saltworks the other drawing is the cenotaph of Sir Isaac Newton.
In summary the Western world began to reach back to antiquity to find basic building blocks for the new society emerging through world wide revolts and changing intelligencia.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Opus: Road Trip

Roots: a source or origin

The word roots has many definitions but as used in Architect I believe it means when a design element became established or fixed in the history of design. As one style becomes the forerunner of another. For example the roots of Jefferson home in Monticello was designed on the Greek and Roman columns. Jefferson used the Ionic columns on his home and at the University of Virginia as well. While visiting I saw a few Corinthian columns too. Here are photos of the columns used at Monticello and UWV. Classmates getting camera ready. This trip was exciting.

During the eigthteen century modern architecture took it's roots from various revolutions, starting with the democratic and industrial revolution. There was a shift against authoritiarian governance to a democratic /republic form of government. The revolt against church and state resulting in the power of the people to govern themselves. With scienfic investigation came the agricultural revolution a change in the way seed are planted and crop rotation which created greater yield and better production of food not only for people but livestock as well. People became healthier produced larger populations around the world. Medical investigation , Edward Jenner's investigation in 1750 produced a vaccine against small pox. With the expansion of the population a new type of architecture is need to house this population. Alone with this came the industrial revolution: transportation, mass production of goods, clothing, food and shelter.
This brought about the rise of the middle class. Revolts against monoarchical rule over the colonies in America resulted in the Declaration of Independence in 1776, written by Thomas Jefferson. .....That all men are created equal and endowed with certain inalienable rights to life, liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.....

In my Design and communication we had material boards to comprize each student was given three words to research and collect information and present to the class. Below are three of my
material boards. My words were silk, seagrass, and marble.
Materiality: In the nineteenth century the industrail revolution had a vast effect on first Britains society with the emerging new economy the population as a whole experienced new found wealth. Middle class people (bourgeoisie) wanted to show off their prosperity and emulate that of the upper class folks. People of this time followed Victorian style of decorating which proved to be too elaborate and excessive for the small homes and cottages they lived in. The more elaborate the home the more show of wealth and properity. Two books were written to show the average homemaker the proper way of decorating a home and other social skills one was Mrs. Beeton's Book of Household Management, England 1861. The other was E. B. Duffey's What a Woman Should Know, America 1871. John Ruskin took issue with the excessiveness of the Victorian style of materiality and wrote a book call the The Seven Lamps of Architecture, here he expressed his distain for the excessive cramming of things into a room to show wealth which really serviced little purpose and made the average person home life miserable because it cost so much to buy these thing the average family really could not aford. Ruskin promoted the simply style of cottage fashion which he believed was a much healthier way of living. Ruskin influence William Morris to start the Arts and Crafts Movement to get away from over production and mass produced furnishing. Simple lines and materials indigeious to the local was used to produce hand crafted furishings. Pp 7-13, Massey.
Even today with the way our economy is failing people are rethinking consummerism and materialism, using what they already own or replacing with second hand or antigues handed done from family. Excessiveness is no longer in vogue and people are returning to a simpler way of living just to survive these trubulent economic times.

The key concept of the Arts and Crafts movement was the chair which was hand made and the joints were visible. It was believed that the more clearly express the construction the more honest the piece. This lead to the Antigue Movement in the late 19th century. William Morris founded the Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co. foreshortened to Morris Co. where hand crafted quality furnishings were made. Morris inspired the Aesthetic Movement of the late 1860's and 1870's an alternative style of reformist design in Britain that influenced American design as well.
Other inspirations came from Japanese designs as well with their simply lines and blue and white porcelain articles and silk prints and laquered furnishings.
Books and magazines made it easier to share information with England and other countries and back to America again.

The concept of compression and release was coined by Frank Lloyd Wright. In this design function he felt that stairs was a waste of space, therefore he made the stairwells very narrow until you reached the room which was wide open space. The last have of this semester has been in the compression and release mode. Having so much work to do in such little time I find compression and looking forward to when this semester ends will be the release I so much desire.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


CRAFT: This past week-end we took a trip to Falling Water in southwest Pennsylvania's Laurel Heights. Here we visited the house that Frank Lloyd Wright built for the Edgar Kaufman family in 1936-37. This house was built on a small waterfall in a wood mountainous area fo Laurel Heights, Pennsylvania. It was exciting to see how this house was crafted out of the natural landscape part of the juting mountain became part of the houses structure. I notice that the stone fireplace in the living room was part of the outside rock cliff. I really enjoyed every bit of seeing Falling Water. Wright has even crafted the funishings in the bedrooms, living rooms, cabinets, and furniture. This house is constructed of verticals and hoizontals. The verticals being the supporting walls, which are made of gray lime stone. and the horizontals cantilevers are cast in reinforced concrete. Wright wanted to cover the cantelevers with gold left or a thin layer of aluminum but Kaufman rejected both ideas. They decided on ware earth tones. The craft in the home and furnishing are as geometric as the house itself making for more spaceious area. Windows everywhere made for a fresh spectacular veiw.

Although we had visited Monticello first, in Virginia home of Thomas Jefferson. This house was built on the Palladian, Classical style home. Thomas Jefferson was also an inventer. He had made clocks and pulleys for opening and closing door. Monticello is a lovely looking home but I wonder how cramped it might have been with all the people who resided there. Thomas Jefferson was constantly finding ways to craft new inventions into his home, such as double payne windows in the dinning room. In the entranceway a clock that told the time of day and month of the year as well. Jefferson had sky lights nearly in every room of the house to bring in more daylight. One of the most unusual things about this house are the eliptical archways through out the house. This was my second trip to Monticello I remember visiting here as a child in Jr. High school.

The grounds were beautiful and I learned something new I did not know then that Jefferson hid his slaves underground as well as his servants. Thomas Jefferson was the 3rd US president. He is the author of the Declaration of Independence. He considered himself a yeomen farmer, promoted republicanism. He was also a horticulturist and inventor, also founder of the University of Virginia. He was also known as a lover of books. He is considered by some the greatest of US Presidents.

Public/Private: Falling Water was suppose to be a country retreat for the Kaufman family but so many people came to visit they had to build another out of the way home six miles away.

Thomas Jefferson keep his personal life private it is believed he sired many children by a house servant slave. Although Wrights son lived with his parents he had his own personal private quarters. The outside and inside stair wells provided a privacy to the Falling Water house.

Jefferson's bedroom was the only private room in the house at Monticello even though there were windows all around the room. The Portico in the Monticello home is considered a public place, here Jefferson like to show off artifacts from his travels and interest in his life.

The guest house at Falling Water was above the main house giving the guest a private area and as well as the Kaufmans.

Technique: One of the techniques used in architecture of Falling Water was compression and release. Where Wright felt that a stair well was a waste of architectural space so he made these areas narrow and then when one finally reached a room, this area was open wide. Jefferson used a series of pulleys to operate the Great Clock he made and had place in the portico of his home.

Jefferson also actually had an underground subway so to speak were slaves and servants went about their daily tasked unnoticed. The Arts and Crafts technique was to hand craft furnishes to the best quality rather than the new automated way with nearly no quality controls in place.

The Arts and Crafts of American would use innovation of machines to make furishings one due to lack of workers but a high demand for furnishings for the middle class homes.

Language: Thomas Jefferson would speak seven different languages fluently. The language of the home at Falling Water was congruent with the environment it was built from. There is a horizontal and vertical congruentcy in the structual form of the house at Falling Water.

Monticello was comprized of the elements surrounding the house, it was made in harmony with its surroundings. The windows and sky light let the out doors in all around Monticello the same is true for Falling Water as well. The elements to build the house were found locally except for the wood floor which came from North Carolina, North Carolina Walnut. Hardward for the doors and cabinets most likely came from local sources. Jefferson believed in separation of church and state and freedom of religion this is why quakers settled in this area. They believe in self sufficiency and making most the items needed for daily living. They craft furnishings for the home themselves and clothing, cook ware as well and utilities for cooking. We could see many of the old time hand crafts still available today as we stayed at the inn outside of Pennsylvania.

Virtual: One thing that I noticed in Falling Water was that everything was virtually proportional the furnishing fit exactly in the rooms. The closets were flush against the walls everywhere in the house everything had a specific place where it belonged. Wright did not like clutter and refuse to make room for it. The windows gave the illusion of not being incased as it was built to let more of nature in and not block light or fresh air of the mountain side and sounds from coming into the house. When the windows were opened at Falling Water it gave the feeling and sounding of virtual running falls into the house this was a beautiful sound to me I could really enjoy living at Falling Water. Mirrors and wall paper patterns gave a room a virtual sense of enlargement or closeness depending on the technique used. Mirrors can make the room seem larger while wall paper can make a room cozy and smaller depending on the pattern use.

Analytical Essay : Kathleen Clay Edwards Library

The Kathleen Clay Edwards Library opened on September 10, 2004. The library is named after Kathleen Clay Bryan Edwards,devoted philanthropist who donated $2.5 million to Piedmont land Conservancy to protect Price Park. This land was previously owned by Jefferson pilot and was the site for the company clubhouse. Edward's donation was in honor of her grandparents Julian and Ethel Clay Price, founders of Pilot Life Insurance. Piedmont Land Conservancy holds permanent easement rights on the park to ensure that the land is always used as a passive park. The Greensboro Parks and Recreation Deptment oversees the maintenace of Price Park where the library is located. (www. Greensboro Libraries.com)
The grand opening of the library on September 2004 initiated the environmental focus of the branch. The event included a poetry reading from environmentalist and theologian Thomas Berry and included hands on environmental "Discovery Day" sponsored by the T. Gilbert Pearson Audubon Society in collaboration with the city's park and recreation department and the Piedmont Land Conservancy.

The Kathleen Clay Edwards Library is located on a 98 acre Price Park which includes a bird and butterfly meadow, and a reading garden, walking trails, ponds, and wetlands. The Library has an extensive collection of nature gardening and environmental resources for children and adults. Bird and butterfly meadow is 2.5 acres of sloping hillside. Price Park is dedicated to Piedmont Land Conservancy.
Greensboro Parks and Recreation, Stormwater management and Piedmont Land Conservancy collaborated to use material called Grass Pave, an interlocking frid filled with gravel and soil and grass grown into it to create a surface that allows you to park, drive, walk on grass surface. It is made from recycled plastic and performs the function of asphalt or concrete, but with the aesthetics of a lawn while enhancing the environment. (www. Grasspave.com) This surface will reduce untreated rainwater runoff from flowing directly into the nearby creek.b This creek was previously eroded but with the help of the North Carolina Ecosystem Enhancement,and the City of Greensboro buffer plants have been planted and reconstruction to the stream for a more stable condition.
This Library was built by Teague, Freyaldenhoven and Freyaldenhoven architects and planners of Greensboro, N.C. This firm ensured that the construction of the library was environmentally conscious and minimized impart on the park. A large red oak that was removed as part of the construction was used for furniture inside the library. The Library features some green building features, natural cork flooring, carpet tiles made from recycled materials and ply bent wood chairs which use the most sustainable process of furniture making. This firm focuses on classrooms, clubhouses, colleges and Universities, fire service facilities, public schools, medical offices, Nursing homes, facilities and warehouse/distribution centers.
The Green center features native landscaping, recycled building materials, recycling programs, water efficient landscaping, energy efficient lighting, and cork flooring. (Office of Environmental Education). ( Archiplanet.org)
For more information I am looking at Greensboro City Government site, there isn't an awful lot of information on this type of Library made in the US. I believe that Greenboro NC is the first of it's kind and Elon University is in the process of following this type of building and environmental library on there grounds.

The one Architectural feature that this library has is a Cupola a domelike structure polygonal base dome with lights all around it in the center of the reading room area. This is simular to the domes of ancient Roman temples. The windows are perforated to give a illuminating effect to the space below. This is simular to the crown on the State Capital Dome in Washington DC. Other examples are the Pantaneon J. G. Sofflot, Paris France. (www. Leo Masuda's architectonic Research Site.

List of Research Web Sites for this project:
EPA Environmental library, National Library for the Environment, www.Earth Portal, www.Eco Systems, The Slatin Report: Real Estate Intelligence, Renzo Piano, Gold Star for Leed Platimun Museum. Cupola's Hot Links to Architectural Design.
Great Buildings on Line, Archiplanet, Buildings and structure Galleries.
Articles: " Green House" New York Post . www. NYPOST.COM, ECO Building, www. Variety.com :A Sustainable Life" www. ruthlandherald.com

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Shadow and Light

The photos below are the final results of my light and shadow project. This idea was taken from a bird's nest I found in my mailbox. At first I only had two rows of differently shaped sticks
so I went back to add a second layer to make more interesting. At different angles this artifact cast many shadows.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

RE- Actions

Rotation: This week in Design class we had projects dealing with shadow and light.
last week we went on a nature hunt which I spoke of earlier. I found a bird's nest in my mail box. This was so appropriate because I was looking for an iterration for my project. I created
at first attempt, an abstract form made of cardboard showing shadow and light using cutouts and cardboard shavings for the birds nest with artificial glass stones representing all the rain we had lately. Well after I presented this, I needed to go back to the drawing board and re-think my design. So what I presented at class on Monday was much better. My plan at first was to bring in a design nearly in the same shape but at the 19th hour I decided to do something totally different using the same ideation. (Pictures to follow), I created a abstract design using the 1/4 in mpf by cutting into unusual design strips representing the twigs and leaves the birds picked up and put in my mailbox. I created a artifact which cast shadow and light any which way it was rotated. Many of my classmates had created unusual designs that actually rotated.This was a very fun project. After my first presentation I modified my design to cast better shadow and light.

From my Design History class a form of rotation is Bernini's use of an oval to solve his design problem in the great piazza in front of Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome. "(After incessant vacillation between central and longitudinal plans, the final decision was made to extend the nave from Michelangel's east arm.) Roth 408. He divided the piazza into two parts the portion next to the facade being a trapezoid and the more distant portion an oval enclosed by curved Tuscan Doric colonnades focusing on two fountains where an Egyptian obelisk existed. According to Bernini
this represented the motherly arms of the Catholic church.
In my reading I notice how major designers and architects keep rotating from one style of design to another examples: Gothic, Romanesques, Baroque, Rocco, etc ;and back to the basic of Greek and Roman orders. Away from the principles of Vitruvisus and back to these basic principles of architectural design.

The Arts and Craft movement was initiated by William Morris in 1860.

Morris wanted to change standards of design from machine made furniture to hand made in the way of Gothic architecture was made by trained artisans. He believed in uncomplicated furniture design. His Red House ,the home he built was made of common read brick, and inside was wood stained moldings and built in wooden furniture and free-standing pieces modeled by medieval designs. Morris established a group of artisans to create furniture, tableware and other artifacts for the domestic home. P. 493 Roth. Frank Lloyd Wright and Charles Frances Annesley Voysey were greatly influenced by Morris.
Frank Lloyd Wright was connected to the American Arts and Crafts movement were he deviated from that of Englands Arts and Crafts movement with the inclusion of the Art and Crafts of Machines. " the architecture of the future would out of necessity be built of machine formed elements; the modeen architect woul d be obliged to embrace the machine in every aspect of design." Roth 494

I use to live in Springfield Illinois and visited a home built by Frank Lloyd Wight for
The Dana Thomas house in Springfield Illinois. This home was built on the Pairie style design where he brought the outside in the building. I loved visiting this site which sadly to say is now closed due to lack of funds to renovate this historical home. This home was built in 1904 the ceilings were very low. I believe because people back in those days were very small people even the clothing show on the beds in the bed rooms were so tiny for adults today. No one I know could fit these articles. There was a library in the lower level and even a built in bolling alley for entertainment. Dana Thomas was a socialite of the day in those times.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


The New Rome:

Change comes to the Roman Empire. Constantine becomes the Emperor of Rome after Diocletian abdicates the throne. Emperor Constantine relocates the entire Imperil City of Rome to a New Roman Empire call Constantinople. Under the influence of his Mother Helena,a devote Catholic, Constantine accepts the Christian religion founded by Jesus of Nazareth. A new religion sect among the Jews of Palestine took affect like wild fire across Rome, Greece, Asia Minor, North Africa, Egypt and then Europe. In just a century this religion was spread from twelve disciples to thousands and tens of thousands across the then know world. Do to the belief in Jesus the Christ( Son of God). Christianity comes to the Roman Empire. Even the year changed due to this Prophet, Man Son of God, to the Year of Our Lord. (Anno Domini). Roth 277.

Churches under the direction of Constantine began to develop all over the new Roman Empire. It is believed that due to Constantine's faith in Christ he was able to defeat the Persians who came to conquer the New Rome. Under the influence of his mother Helena, Constantine builds a Holy Roman Empire and the first Cathedral of Rome the Basilica of St. Peter. This church the largest of it's kind was built over the burial site of St. Peter the head of the new church of Christ. Before Jesus was crucified he commission Peter as the head of his church. "Upon this rock you shall build my church....and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." verse from the Christian bible verse. This Basilica stands even today in the 21st Century.

Constantine took an active role in Church doctrine and policy. He became the new Vicar of Christ the Enternal King. Pagan religions were abolished or at least not to be publicly worshiped. Christianity becomes dominate. At first the early christians were persecuted for their faith and they had to hid to worship this all changed under Constantine. There was a council at Nicaea which resulted in the Nicene Creed a decree in which all Christians were to follow and even exist to this day. Later when the church becomes so powerful the christian church begins to persecute heretics or non believers.

The Basilica of Saint Peter of Rome is one of the largest basilicas in Rome. It is now called Vatican City. It is 90.7 meters long and 21 meters wide. This basilica forms a T resembling the cross on which St. Peter was crucified. The architect Zenobius is credited with this construction. Other churches are built through the New Rome now known as Constantinople.

The Visigoths coming from upper Europe, Hungary and Germany began to conquer the western half on the Roman Empire. The city of Rome is deviated in 410. The Visigoths moved out of Italy and settled in what is now France and Spain. The Ostrogoths from Russia settle in the Eastern part of Rome and this area becomes known as France. The Burgandians in the south establish an area called Britain. The Anglos and the Saxons from Denmark over run now Britain but the borders of Constantinople are protected from all of this movement and change.

Constantine builds a Mausoleum to his daughter Constantina. Due to all the vandalism in Europe, Monasteries began to be developed to preserve learning and writings. Monasticism is developed to protect and nurture classical literature and a new institution arises called Monastic copists. Groups of Monks began to organize into "orders "in southern Egypt.

Basil the Great establishes Monasteries in the East and Martin of Toures does the same in France. In the 6th century under Benedict of Nursia the Rule of Monasteries was established and monasteries began to crop up all over Europe.

The Emperor Justinian comes to power in 527. Under Justinian rule two major developments happened the codification of Roman law and the Church building. This code was an attempt to get rid of corruption in the government. The common people began to revolt against this rule and burned the city of Rome and a beautiful cathedral of Hagia Sophia.

The Hagia Sophia was a grand Byzantine Church one that Justinian was determined to rebuild. This church was built with the remains of Ancient Greek and roman pagan temples. This signified the use of re usable materials. This church was finished in 527 AD.

Justinian employs two experts in the theory of physics and statics to rebuild the church of Haga Sophia. Hagia Sophia was an achievement never before done not as large as the Pantheon but just as grand if not more. The dome of the Hagia Sophia elevated 120 ft in the air a cube surmounted by a dome. This was supposed to represent the Universe. It collapse again in 558 twenty years after completion. Constantinople is captured by the Ottoman Turks and the Hagia Sophia falls into Turkish hands and becomes an Mosque.

There is a shift in the Byzantine church, Eastern and Western Byzantine churches separate. The Pope of Rome is no longer Pope to Eastern Byzantine Churches . The Orthodox churches of the east expanded to Serbia. Bulgaria, and Russia.

The Middle Ages becomes The Age of Enlightenment :

The Dark ages come and end with the rise of Charlemagne the Frankish Empire. A stable feudal system emerges. The Crusades against the Muslins were : Charlemagne reestablishes Centers of learning in the Frankish Kingdom. Monasteries began to flourish all over the west. They became liberies for ancient scared and pagan text.

The revival of Roman Architecture results in the construction of an Octagonal Chapel on the Byzantine church of San Villae in Ravanna. This was designed by Odo of Metz built of cut stone and central vertical space covered with a stone vault. Domestic construction began wood framed homes Manor homes.

Charlemage of France becomes the next emperor. He is against Iconlastics in the churches and has them removed and replace with crosses and foliage. He believes that too much attention is put on decorating the churches, that this might have something to do with the problems in the Byzantine church. One of the oldest drawings to survive the Middle Ages was the Plan by Abbot Haito of the monastery of Saint Gall. Monasteries were used as hotels for travelers.

The Architect of Islam: Byzantine Empire lasted 900 years after Justinian's reign . A new religion is preached by a prophet Muhammad, in Mecca. This religion spread across Arabia, Persia, Syria,Palestine, Egypt, North Africa and Algeria in the west. Then to Pakistan and Hindu Kush in the east. Christians were allowed to practice their religion as long as they paid taxes. Islamic Architect brought mosaics and vibrate colors to their buildings. The domes of the mosque were spherical, smooth, with colorful glazed tiles.

High Middle Ages: The Romanesque churches had round arches, massive vaulted naves and very little light. Gothic Architecture is invented in 1141 for Suger, abbot of the monetary of Saint -Denis a small town next to Paris. He and his team integrated a number of improvements in late Romanesque church architecture by including pointed arches and rib vaulting. Gothic architecture was physical, assertive, had a positive disposition on the here and now. While Romanesque period focused only on the here after.

This period a joy in human existence coincided with the adoration of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God. She exemplified womanhood and raised respect for woman and motherhood.

In 1066 Normandy conquers England which develops into the 100 Years War from 1337 to 1457. This marked the end of the Middle Ages. A new economy develops from the end of the crusades or because of it, one is the growth of cities and trade. Agriculture and woolen cloth was a very important industry in England, Flanders and Italy. A new class of people derives from this the French called Bourgeois, (city dwellers). This new class of merchants, bankers began to rival the nobility and clergy. They began to be able to build homes of their own and not just keep funding the development of churches.

The Middle Ages end after the Black plague and a great famine kills over 2/5th of Europe's population.

Renaissance Architecture: During the renaissance period there was a return to the classical orders. This period was characterized by harmony, clarity and strength. A revival of linking the old standards with the new. An interest in antiquity, literature, philosophy and mathematics. Urban planning became important. Filippo Brunelleschi brought back the Greek and Roman style of building architect. He developed a basilica design with the plan in which squares of the crossing was the module repeated to make a Latin cross. Basilicas were based on Corinthian style arcades. Merchants families began to build homes for the urban life.

The city of Florence created a new form of domestic architecture. Shops were on the first level and living quarters were upstairs. Brick was widely used in these structures. St Peter's Basilica in Rome is rebuilt. The designer Donato Bramante using the old corthinian orders reinterpreted the circular temple for , constructing a peristyle around the central sanctuary. A hemispherical dome covers the interior as in the Pantheon. Andrea Palladio brings back the classical elements of the column, entablature, pediment and the arch.

Doric order columns dedicated to St. Peter and also included emblems of the papacy on the metopes of the frieze. Some of the other architectural builds of this time were: Palazzo Farneses, Rome, Library of Venice, Venetian Palaces, Palazzo Cihiericati, Vicenza. By the 16th Century Rome had become the center of power and princes of the church. These are the works of Andrea Palladio.

Baroque and Rococo Architecture come into being in the 17th and 18th CE.

Baroque church in Roman was created by Ignatius Loyola. The church of Gesu Rome. Loyola founded the order of the Jesuits ( Society of Jesus). Symbolic and well as illusionist schemes were used to play on the emotions as well as the intellect of the parishioners. A new style of architecture was used based on repetitions and distortion of the classical Renaissance motifs. Broken pediments, giant orders, and convex and concave walls were used by baroque architects. Bernini, and Gorromini were commissioned to remodel older palaces. They used open loggias, grand staircases and emphasis on entrances. Painters and sculptors adorned the architecture with great fresco cycles.

In France King Louis XIV has the Chateau de Versailles rebuilt. The palace and gardens of Versailles was developed in different phases from the 17th to 18th century. Major sculptors and painters of the day were employed to make this undertaking a "Monarch Triumphant" Urban Villa's are created, the development of Hotels where the interior was based on the decorative style of Versailles.

In the 17th century London is nearly burned down in the Great Fire of London 1666. Acts were passed to rebuild the city. Christopher Wren was the architect to redesign the city. He used inventive barogue soluctions involving distortions and adaptations. Among his work was Trinity College Library, Cambridge, England, St. Jame's Piccadilly, and St. Paul's Cathedral.

Rococo Style was a decorative movement that developed in the early 18th century. In the hotels of Parisian nobility the style came from the rich decorations and ornamentations of Versailles. Designers of this style based their architecture on more intimate scale and comfort. Rooms were arranged by decorating them with light, colorful and playful schemes in panels and door frames that disappeared in the walls. Walls merged with the ceilings. A few Rococo style churches were St Paul and St. Louis in Paris. Germany used this style more than France.

In England in the early 18th century a movement to "national taste" came into the arena. This was about the reforms that Inigo Jones and Palladio used to get away from the extravagant "deformities" of baroque architecture. Inigo Jones changed English architectural ideas with the theories that Palladio wrote in his "Four Books of Architecture" . This was a revival of the classical thought. The appeal of Palladio's treatise was a proportional system of orders, based on careful study of the ruins of antiquity. Palladio used the work of Vitruvius to establish his "Four Books of Architecture".

Some of Inigo Jones works are the Queens House, Greenwich, England, and the Banqueting House at Whitehall.

In the United States in the mid 18th century Thomas Jerrerson uses Palladian's treatises to create his home in Monticello, Virginia. This was a two story house with a portico detailed from Palladio's designs of the Doric and Ionic orders. Later Jefferson remodels the house with French republic details.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Revisions: The Renaissance period was a period of revisions. Gothic architecture was being rejected by the Italians. They thought of Gothic Architecture as crude and barbaric, uncivilized. The Florentine Italians began to revisit the age of antiquity of Rome and Greece.

They believed that human history was not divinely ordained as Christendom had taught during the period called the dark ages. This was a period of new architecture built and designed around mathematical science and scientific interpretation. This was a time when the thinking artists, architect, sculptor, inventor began to break away the the dominance of the Roman Catholic church. This new architecture concept of mathematical clarity and rationality in the Divine of the Universe. Roth 353 Renaissance artist firmly adhered to the Pythagorean concept " ALL is Number." Architecture is considered a mathematical study which works with spatial units where laws of perspective was discovered... (Rudolf Wittkower, Architectural Principles of the Age of Humanism. 1949 re quoted from Roth p.353.

This new architecture was represented by Filippo Brunelleschi's Foundling Hospital in Florence Italy. This building was based on Roman sources governed by the arrangement fits parts and proportional systems. This was an example of architecture based in human intellect not conveying religious dogma but to provide for the human needs. This was a hospital that catered to orphaned children.

Renaissance was a time when man began to look at the artisan as a Humanist Scholar. Works of the ancient scholars began to be revisited, Cicero, Virgil, Greek thinkers and philosophers Plato and Aristotle. This generation of scholars were not interested so much as to how the "Church" wanted them to think and see the world about them. They wanted to see the world through their own eyes, mind and thought. The appreciation of natural landscape was on of the important contributions of the Renaissance.

As this relates to my study of History of Architecture, in Communication Art class this week we took a nature walk and looked for natural elements that related to us as individuals as we walk this journey through our lifetime. We all had to write a story that was important to us as individuals and then from our finding create a abstract design that represented this story or important moment in our lives. I chose the story about the birth of my first child, my daughter Lena.The memory of the birth of my first child was one of the most memorial times of my life. This time of year being spring I thought of the renewing of the earth a rebirth. A time when all things become new again.

I found yellow daffodils growing along the edge of the grounds of my back yard and choose this as a iteration for my new project. We are using MDF 1/4 material to create a light abstract design. This takes some thinking about how to work with this material to make a structure that is of good craft, to scale, showing original thought relating to light, balance, and relate to our vision of our story. An unusual thing happened this past Sunday. I don't always check my mail. I noticed on Friday there were sticks in my mail so I picked them out and threw them on the ground. Well, Sunday morning I went to check my mailbox before leaving the house an a whole birds nest was in my mail box what a inspiration for rebirth how appropriate.

These are objects of my inspiration for my project in Design Communication class. In Design drafting class and Communication Design class this week we are studying perspective drawing we are drawing to scale a room with furniture.

Brunelleschi creates the Dome of Santa Maris Della Flora using methods of study from ancient Rome in the creation of the Pantheon. He later created this dome in two parts a dome inside a dome. Nothing had ever been created before like this. The most striking part of this dome was the lantern he designed to cover the top of the dome. Vitruvius is revisited the architectural bible for the new generation of humanist patrons and architects was the Ten Books of Architecture. Ideal proportioned forms were derived from ideal geometric forms by straight lines and circles as well as solids created by these forms in three dimensions. (Plato called these forms "eternally and absolutely beautiful" p.359 Roth

Vitruvius believed that ideal system of proportion can be found in the human body. Also he described hoe platonic Philean shapes, the square and the circle are incorporated in the proportions of the human body. ( In drawing class we had to draw our designs to scale using the human form.) Even in drafting class we a drawing furniture which uses circles and squares-geometric forms.

Renaissance architects sought clearly expressed numerical relationship in their designs. They used Pythagoras theories. "Galileo Galiliei said that it was impossible to understand the "book"

of creation if we do not learn the language grasp the symbols in which it is written" This book is written in mathematical language, and the symbols are triangles, circles and other geometrical figures. " I would consider this datum a set of written rules for the creation of design.
Leonado Da Vinci 's drawing of the ideal Vitruvian Man, 1485-1490 the form of the human body contained with the essence of the ideal form. ( The perfect geometry of circle and the square) as well as ideal proportional relationships. p 360 Roth.

Image of Vitruvius Man in perfect proportions.

Vitruvius also inspired Leon Battista Alberti 1404-72 to write the first architectural treatise of the Renaissance. The most important to him was the layout of interiors. In our Design class this week we are learning about the layout of the interior of a room. Andrea Polladio 1508-80 used pure architectural term in spatial relationship. Yet it's said he often broke his own rules. Fundamental to the Renaissance theory of beauty was the theory that spatial movement within spaces was enhanced by calculating mathematical ratios. Part of the equation was based on a measure of the human body, the module and multiples of it thus determining the proportional relationship. This system affects both real and fictive architectural space with in a defined scale proportion of the room.

We come to the English Renaissance 1500-1600 when King Henry VIII revised the control of the Catholic Church of Rome over England. After The pope of Rome refused to sanction the annulment of the Kings marriage to Catherine of Aragon the widow of his brother and then his marriage to Anne Boleyn King Henry VIII was excommunicated from the Church. He then made himself Papel of the Church of England. There was a major transition in Church control of government and Monarchal government. The consequences of this move dissolved the properties of the Monasteries and were sold to private families. The monasteries were transformed into palatial residences. Since secular interest cause professional men, wealthy men began to finance the building of their own homes and furnishings. Due to the emancipation of the laity education became a priority. Libraries were added to buildings by the end of the 16th Century. Henry VIII invited the Italian artisans to introduce renaissance to England.

Only minor changes were made in furniture design the main interest was on comfort and display. Homes were sparsely furnished some with multi functional. Example was the chair/table where the back of the chair served as a table top when folded down rested on arms parallel with the floor. The chest was designed for storage of valuables, linens and clothing was occasionally used for a been to table. This is the same usage for today's 21th century time. People still use chest as coffee tables and storage for valuables. Chairs, benches, stools, and settles were the primary types of setting. A special chair for the Lord of the manor as he presided over activities was the wainscot chair. This was a open armed chair in which the armrests extended beyond the arm support ending in a swirl.