Saturday, February 28, 2009

Foundations of Architectural History

The first part of our History and Theory of Architect class was and introduction to world history starting about 5000 years ago. Man and his ability to control the space he lives in.
It is amazing to me how from the beginning of any recorded history whether through pictures or written symbols, the remants of fragments of tools, earthen ware, and even human remains tells the story of man's creative talent in discovering his world and realizing in his creation that there is a power higher than himself, a Supreme Creator.

In studying the History of Architecture John Ruskin states it best "Great nations write their autobiographies in three manuscripts- the book of their deeds, the book of their words, and the book of their art. Not one of these books can be understood without the other, but of the three the most important and most trustworthy is the book of his art." 2. Roth p.5

We started out with nature's structures and how man made structures for shelter for himself according to the environment he existed in. Whatever was available in that particular environment to make some form of shelter to keep the elements away from himself and to survive. The first structures were made of mud, stones, animal skins, if man lived in mountainous areas it might have been a cave; in the woods shelter made of sticks and limbs of trees covered with mud or animals skins. None the less man used what was available to construct structures for living in. "Architecture is understood to be the whole of human Built environment as a form of dialogue with the past and and future...." 1. Roth

We spoke about the elements of design in architecture; Commodity, Firmness, and Delight.

Commodity : According to Marcus Vitruvius Pollio 90c -20bc architecture must provide utility, firmness, and beauty. Commodity has to do with what it is used for. Firmness has do with the foundation of a structure,ie ( post and lentels; ie. trabeated system.) Beauty or Delight is the appealing basis of the structure, space, perceptual space, conceptual space, behavioral space, physical space, fluidity of space interwoven spaces as constrast to static space, negative and positive space....balance,sysmetry,contrast, color, texture, sound, scale, and repetiton.etc....

In first recorded history we discussed the rements of post and lentels left by ancients people unknown, Stonehenge in Salisbury, England, the Stones on Easter Island, same in Brittany France, strange stones left on the ground in a vertical position and we can only speculate what they mean.

The one area where we do began to understand and have meaning is with the Egyptian culture and how the afterlife was as important as living in the present if not more. They built pyramids to honor the kings (Pharaohs) of their country. They believe in honoring their dead kings and often buried all his staff and family members with him upon his death. Their bodies were mumified using special oils and herbs, their internal organs were extracted and put in jars. Pharaohs were buried in simple tombs but robbers would come and pillaged the tombs. Later an Egyptian architect Imhotep discovered a way to hide the Pharaohs underneath the pyramid. Robbers still found a way in, so they began to bury their Pharaohs in unmarked tombs hidden in a place called the Valley of the Kings.

Imhotep's invention of a hidden chamber for the Pharaohs.

The Eypgtians were extremely brilliant race of people which puzzle even today arhaeologist , scientist and architects. Why were they so comsumed with life after death did they know something we don't even today? The largest of the Pyramids is the Great Pyramid at Giza near Cairo the present capital of Egypt today. This pyramid ranged in height about 750 ft in width and 482 ft high. It was built with over 2 million stones weighing atleast 2 tons each. this tomb was built 100 years after Imhotep's death. 1) Understanding Architecture-history and theory. p201 Roth. Besides the tombs the Egyptians constructed Temples one of the most famous it the Temple of Amon at Karnak. These temples were not only places of worship but centers for learning and administration of their nation. they were built on an axis that ran perpendicular to the nile river toward the winter solsttice with the sun. The Egyptians were the first people to believe in a single god RA. They had hierachcy system were Kings ruled but the common people lived in villages They valued bigness geometric form, sharp edged with the obelisk, pyolon and hypostyle hall.

The Egyptians were conquered by the Greeks during the time of Alexander the Great. The Greeks learned many things about architecture from Egyptian modeling their post and lentel . Due to the landscape of Greece the Greeks became master seamen. Their livilyhood depended upon the sea and trade with other countries. The Minoans were the first inhabitants of Greece during the Homeric Age. After the Minoans fell came the Myceanaean citadels. the citadels were build on strategic hills and were enclosed by strong curtain wallings. At the upper end was the palace where the ruler lived and the dwellings of important leaders. Most other inhabitates lived outside the citidel's walls. Citadels were entered through monumental gates. One the most famous is Lion's Gate at Mycenae. This consisted of two vertical stones an a vast lintel above this a carved relief of two lions. A common form of ornamentation in Minoan and Mycenaean palaces was the triglyph frieze or motif made of half rosettes divided by vertical bands. It is believed to be the precusor for the Doric Frieze of metopes and triglyphs. Roth 206

The Megaron was the central complex of a palace and the main domestic unit. It was a long narrow suite composed of a columned porch an ante chamber,prodomus and the megaron proper. In the proper there was a raised throne and was centered around a fixed circular hearth framed by four wooden columns supporting the roof. The floor of this megaron was painted with checkered pattern while the walls were adorned with frescoes. The Mycenaean were noted for their tholos tombs or beehive shaped tombs. Outside of these tombs were two highly decorated columns the most famous was made of green alabaster designed with chevons and spirals.

Another group of conquerers came from the north called the Dorians crushing the Mycenaean culture. Some of groups fled to Asia Minor and to the Anatolian coast. The Dorians contributed a language and a new group of gods who ruled on Mt Olympus in the North of Greece. These gods replaced the gods of the Minoans and Myceaneans. Stone architecture was re-introduced and this was the beginnings of Classical Greece. Greece began to colonize the Mediterranean due to poor agriculture and raw materials. From southern Italy to the Black sea founding cities along the Spanish and French coast. Other colonies were founded in Cyrene, North Africa and Naucratis in the delta of lower Egypt. The Greek colonies were called "way homes" not colonies in the sense of the later European colonies. Colonization spread the Greek language which became an international way of communication. The mixing of the Minoan/Mycenaean culture with the Dorians created a Greek character embrasing inquistiveness, a love of action and a desire to achieve perfection in human intellect along with phyiscal endeavors. the Greeks wanted to understand their gods. how the world as they knew it operated. They created a language inorder to record their finding. p. 217 Roth

In eveything the Greeks sort after balance and symmetry having like measure. Nothing in nature seemed without order. Even the gods had reason for their actions. Heraclitus describe the cosmos as a balance of such opposites as day and night, hot and cold, health and disease.

Greece produced philosophers such as Atistotle devoted to study of the natual world, Plato observed how things worked, the Ionian philosopher Pythagoras of Samos estabished a colony of followers proposing that everything is based on numbers. He founded musical harmony, conceived of the trianglular and square numbers and provided a proof of the concept used by the Egyptians and Mesopotamians that the area of a square constructed on a hypotenuse of a right triangle was the sum of the areas of square numbers made on the other two sides. Carpenters still use this theory today.

The Dorians introduced their sky gods Olympian gods were described in Greek myths in human terms and depicted in perfect human form. The Greek myths described the misadventures of the gods how not to organize and conducts one's life. Zeus was their male god of thunder, and Hera was female companion. Many temples were built to the gods combining male and female attributes. Twelve Olympian gods were worshipped by all Greeks and temples were erected in their honor. Zeus of Olypia, Poseidon at Sounion, Athens had Athena, Athena Parthenos maiden worrier. The Greeks did not necessarily believe in the after life like the Egyptians.

Another important contribution to the world was the invention of democracy in the polis of Athens. "city-state". The Polis was a community of families related by a common ancestor a person did not move into or join a city you had to be born a member. The Polis consisted of the city and surrounding farms. The polis was a communal life of the people, political, cultural and economical. Everyone in the community had a say on how a city was run.

After Greek and Persian war cities were rebuilt Hippodamos was credited with planning new cities. The Greek peninsula was divided into three sections wtih a bouleutarion in the middle.(a house designed to house a boule or councilman). Most civic and commercial business was transacted in the open air in the agora, the private houses of Greece were small and simple until the 4th century BC. Greek enters the Hellenistic period. The largest Greek public buildings were the open air theaters and stadia for athletic competitions. A stadion meant a unit of distance about 656 ft. a stadium structure had tiers of seats usually used only certain times of the year. Plays and theater played an important part in Greek life. Drama productions began as religious rituals for the god Dionysos. Comedies of Aristophanes played an important part in the civic life of Greece. The plays contributed to the education of the Greek populace as a form of entertainment which was adapted by the Roman civilization later.

The most important building in Greek civilization was the Temple. The temple was for the populace but only the priests and selected officials could actually enter it. The exterior of the temple was lavished with artistic attention. Rituals were celebrated at the altar in front of the temple. In 1050 BC the temple emerges from a wooden structure with upright columns completely around a central chamber. The columns of Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian orders came out of these first crude tree type columns. The sacred temenos of Olypmpia is a good example of a temple.The precinct is framed by the bouleutarion on the south a stoa in the east, and a small range of city treasuries in the hill of kronos to the north. At the north edge is the temenos is the temple to Hera, wife of Zeus. The principal building was a large temple dedicated to Zeus built by the Elis' in 468-80 bc this was a Doric structure. The Periclean building of the Acropolis the Parthenon and the Propylaea represent Doric architecture. Greece gave us the Classical Orders these orders were adapted by the Romans. They made the columns more ornate. The orders became part of the basic architectual volcabulary.

In all the Greek orders the height of the column and the relative size of all the related component parts as well as the entablature are porportional derivatives based on the diameter of the column. Doric column was the most massive. Ionic was more slender. The Corinthian order column is ten times the height of its diameter and is the tallest of the three. The Greek orders were adopted by the Romans who used them as decoration. One of the principal changes introduced by the Romans was making the Doric order into a more slenderr tuscan Doric with the addition of a base and smooth unfluted shaft. The other major composite order formed by placing the volutes of the Ionic capital atop the curled acanthus leaves of the Corinthian.

Roman Architecture: The Romans conquered Greece and adaptes their column system only basically using it as decorative pilasters. Arches and vaults and domes are introduced. Several arches placed end to end form an arcade.. Romans used this structual action to build their arcades and aqueducts. Vaults are built up of arches pushed through space forming a semicirular vault called a tunnel or barrel vault. Usually these masonry vaults are placed on thick walls used as buttresses holding the vault up. An example of a barrel vault raised to great height is the nave of Saint -Sernin, in Toulouse,France, in 1077-1096. p. 34 Roth. A solution devised by Romans architectures was to run additional barrel vaults at right angles to the main vault so that they intersected resulting in a groin vault, opened up by wide semicircular lunettes at each end and the along the sides. The three bay groin vault was used in the baths of Rome and later in the Basilica's.

Domes are arches rotated about its center vertical axis a semicircular arch thus makes a hemispherical dome. The Romans used domes for structural reasons and symbolic reasons suggesting overarching heavens. The most impressive dome was the dome in the Pantheon Rome. The span of the dome is 142ft 6in.

The most important of symbolic building for the Romans was the Pantheon due to the space in enclosed alone. The Pantheon was built by Hadrian around 118 CE it was a temple to all the gods. He invisioned the earth as a dish and the heavens as a dome covering the earth. The term Pans is Greek for all and theos meant god. The Pantheon was a culmination of important experiments that had been pursued for over two centuries. p259 Roth. Another important structure was the Golden House, Domus Aurea for Nero 64-68 CE. this was a complex of interconnected geometric volumes its rooms covered nearly every known type of vault and dome.octogonal room covered by an octagonal vault that became hemispherical toward the top opening to a large oculus.

Rome was an empire which included whole of Mediterranean basin and Europe. Romans took pride in being self governing . The Romans conquered Carthage during the Punic Wars, Macdonia and Syria. The empire expanded from Gibraltar and Gual to Armenia, Palestine and Egypt in the west. After Julius Caesar's death there was a civil war in Rome and Octavian tried to resume order. He ruled for forty one years. The time was marked with peace much of the best architecture was built during periods of peace and expansion of economic development.

After Octavian there were other emperors not as good, Julio-Claudian, Caligula and Nero, Vespasian, and Flavian. Rome suffered enternal striff then there came a period of five years of peace. Pax Romana under Maarcus Aurelius the empire began to fall apart. Emperor Diocletian divided the empire into two sections to be administered by two co-equal emporers. This did not work. In 324 CE Constantine moved the imperioal captial to a new city he founded at the entrance to the Black Sea on the old Greek city of Byzantium and called it the new Rome.

Under Constantine the city was called Constatinople. Under Constantine Rome became united and mainly Christian.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Opus Project: Voices

How do structures speak? What do they long to say? The designers of the Immaculate Conception Cathedral built it to have a particular voice. The national shrine, as it is called, has been regarded as the American voice of the multitudes of Catholics around the world and thus our presence in the Catholic church. What does it say and to whom does it speak?

The plan of the structure determines the language by which a building will engage in dialogue. It has a clear set of rules and atmosphere - a metric. Being a earthly representation of something far grander, it has to imply something bigger than anything we could possibly produce. Pointing to something that can only be meagerly represented by scale, the tower is the predominant ediface remniscent of the wu, wu's of Rome. This is the 'yard stick' against which everything else is measured. Being the first thing one would sense, whether visually or audibly, it directs visitors along the first portal into their experience of the Cathedral.

Presence is only dictated by emphasis. Black is defined by white just as the bell tower is defined by the landscape and structures near it. A grand spire pointing to the blue heavens above ringing out the presence of church, literally, is the representation of the omnipresent voice of God. The patrons of the church come from all over the world each hoping to have their voice engraved into the memory of this stucture, ringing out with each toll of the bell.

A moment is marked by the memory imprinted on it. A moment is actually the crecendo of smaller less significant step like moments. There is a cadence created by the steps you must endure to reach the gates, which by no mistake represent the presense of the Creator. I remember taking my first steps up to the dual portal seen here. I can't help but remember the excitement swelling in me to see what lie inside. The stucture whispers to you as you secrets of an wonderous afterlife represented by the Godly arch embracing the smaller portal made for men. This was my moment imprinted in the memory of this structure, personal, secret and absorbed by thousands of others.

Once inside the feeling created resonates hollowed emotion. Perhaps this is my own personal experience, or perhaps the effect of the visual aura all centered around the long aisle welcoming my personal journey to the altar. To the left and the right are several smaller chapels all representing the presence of the Blessed Mother to the world representing every race and nationality. Each of which have set a precedent for the style in which the entire Cathedral has been built. Each personal and welcoming chapel give visitors a sense of the scale of history represented by the this Romanesque-Byzantine Style stucture. It was decided to use Romanesque Byzantine over Gothic because "While Gothic appeared to lift the people to God, the Roman Style or the Byantine endeavored to bring God down to the people on earth." http://www.national/

There is a duality with this Shrine to The Immaculate Conception Catherdral now known as a Bacillica since 1990. Not only is it a place for worship but it was built on the ground of the Catholic University of America a distinct center of learning for lay people and Catholic seminarians. I have always enjoyed visiting the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception from the time I was a little girl and my Grandmother first took me there. When ever I go home to Washington D. C. I try to make it a point to go visit there.

Photos: from http://www.national/ Shrine of Immaculate Conception
In my readings I realized that the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception was built with the money from Women's Guilds just as they did at the birth of Christian Cathedrals in ancient times. At first the directors, Bishops, Cardinals of the church were seeking funding from wealthy
families. Pope Pius x in 1913, made the first contribution to building a National Catholic Shrine in the United States. The invision started in 1846 to build a Cathedral that rivaled the great Cathedrals of Rome and Europe. The Shrine was not completed until 1959 due to lack of funding political striff and both the Depression and WWII. Construction resumed in 1954 and was completed in 1959. Twenty years late Pope John Paul II was the first Pope to visit the then National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
The architecture of the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception is neither imitative or duplicative of any other church in the world. It's architectuer is Romanesque-Byzantine in style and its construction is entirely of stone, brick and mortar without steel structual beams, framework or columns. Romesque design in architecture is defined by the massive size, thick walls, arches piers, groin vaults, towers and ornamented ambulatories the form is symmetrical in comparsion to Gothic structures. The dome is the dominate feature in Byzantine architecture and is one of the great advances in church architecture. (ww.w.
Byzantine architecture was superceded by Romanesque style. A circular or elliptical dome was placed over a square or rectangular room by means of pendentives. The triangular construction
strengthened and supported the base that holds the dome. Architect for this design was Charles D. Maginnis(1867-1955).
www. Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception .

Drawing of a Basillica Plan and Arcade of a Byzantine Catherdral.

Friday, February 20, 2009


This is a photo of our project in EPandB last semester in December 08.
this is a before and after photo of the Oasis area my group was working on
last fall. A work in progress.

Building Selection and Justification

I have been thinking about either the World Trade Building in New York now non-existent or the Washington Monument.

I grew up in Washington D. C. and walk right past the Washington Monument many a day. I never tried to walk up all the stairs then to get to the top of this huge building. A few years ago they were doing renovating on the building I believe I was home then when the building had all these scaffolds all around it. Now it has a elevator to take visitors to the top of the mountain it must be some sight to see over all the city at that point and probably area's of Virginia and Maryland too. The Washington Monument is considered to be the tallest piece of free-standing masonry in the world. Patterned after ancient Egyptian obelisks many times larger though, it dominates the mall and much of downtown Washington DC.
This building attracts people from all over the world nearly 800,000 visitors yearly. It's location is between 15th and 17th streets NW. Washington D. C.
It is part of the National Capital Parks Central Region, responsible for preserving the most significant natural and cultural resources in the United States. (

The Washington Monument was created as a memorial or tribute to George Washington as the first president of the United States. Washington did not want a Monument erected in his honor. After his death in 1799 the congress could not feasible come up with funding for this monument. It wasn't until 1833 when an organization founded the Washington National Monument Society
decided to fund the building of a monument in honor of the first President.
In 1836 American architects submitted designs for the structure and in 1845 Robert Mills' Neoclassical design was selected. It featured 500-foot Obelisk, a 10-foot Greek temple with colonnades, and statuary of Washington driving a chariot of Arabian horses. Due to the high cost envolved this design was rejected (thanks goodness), all but the Obelisk. In 1848 the cornerstone was laid on July 4th. It included a time capsule containing statistics on Washington DC, newspapers, coins, and currency, a Bible, and information on the Washington family. In 1854, the monument had reached a height of 153 feet, work was haulted due to lack of funding and some controversy over a stone given by the Pope of the Catholic church, Pope Pius IX. In 1876 congress appropriated funds for the completion of this project and the work was finished by the US Army Corps of Engineers in December of 1884. Standing as the world tallest building, the Washington Monument was dedicated in 1885 at a ceremony on the Mall.

(Photos came from

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Opus Project, Parts: whole

The source of my sketches comes from the Julius Foust building. We've developed groups to study the layout blueprint of a building. I want to add more of what I see when drawing these sketches but they are quik sketches and the boundaries of the area in which I have to work are constraint.
Archetype: Prototype: Hybrid:
After the fall of the Mycenaean civilization 12th century BCE.
One type of building was dominate the temple. For the Greeks the temple was the abode of the gods. The archetype of the temple was a singe room or hut a crude form of temple emerged. This was a wooden structure with upright columns completely ound and central chamber. It is believed that the temple with it's colonnade was an attemp to create a sacred grove. The columns replace the first ones made of wood. The Doric , Ionic and Later the Corinthian orders became promient. The Archetype was the Doric a post and lintel system also known as trabeated. Triglyphs are instinctive of the Doric order. The beams project beyond the walls and are cut off and ornamented.
The orders a structual system for organizing cmponent parts played a crucial role in Greeks search for perfection of ratio and proportion. The Column, shaft, capial, and entablature were measured and decoreated acording to one the three accepted modes. Doric: Archetype, Ionic: Prototype, and Corinthian the hybrid.
Doric columns are without a base, usually fluted and topped by a simple squat capital. Can vary from four to six times the diameter at the base ofthe saft the Doric entablature consist of a plane architrave, a frieze alternating trigyphs and metopes, and a plain crowning cornice.
The Ionic which was used on the temple of Athena Polias at Priene 340BC was feminine , slender, and beautiful. It's style was based on a women's body. The Ionic entablature evolved in various stages, but in its most characteristic form consisted of an architrave divided into three broad bands known as fasciae a continuous frieze either plan or sculpted and often elaborated cornice bearing dentils or tooth like blocks. Ionic columns are always set on a base the parts between the shaft and the crepidoma. The capital bears to spirals volutes and
supports the entablature. The columns were fluted usually twenty-four and deeper than Doric channels. The volute is a spiral scroll that adorn the Ionic capital this was tough to come from the nautilus shell form.
P. 100 The Grammar of Architect. Emily Cole.
The most ornate and slender the orders was the Corinthian. The base of the Corinthian and Ioni columns are similar. The Corinthian capital had two rows of carved acanthus leaves at the base. Above the base were large acanthus leaves from which the volutes stem at the corners of the abacus; the smaller volutes
curved toward the center just under the abacus.. The sides of the abacus could be concave resulting in points at the corners supported by volutes. The etablature was developed in three planes each might have been separated by a carved molding. The frieze as normally decorated with a band of sculptural relief. The Greeks orders were adapted by the Romans and used mostly as decorative elements change the Doric order to more slender Tuscan Doric with smooth base and smooth unfluted shaft. 2.9 p 31 Roth. Other major additions was a composite order formed by placing the volutes of the Ionic cpito aop the  curled acathus leaves of the Corinthian. Romans also made a decorative adaptation of merging a column with a wall a Pilaster.
Prototype for Greek furniture was wood. Oak, maple, cedar, boxwood, olive, citron and beech was used in making furniture. Hierarchy in Greek society shown in the homes of the more affluent families by the furniture type the mural on the walls, and the mosaic flooring. Some of the furniture that archologist have found was made of copper, bronze, iron and marble. The Colosseum was the best example of bread and circus. Entertainment to take the public's mind off their problems.

OPUS PROJECT,Parts & Whole

This past week in History and Theory class we began to study Greek culture and architectural forms. Much of the source of Greek sculpture and architecture derived from the Egyptians with the post and lintel construction.
"Plato wrote in Epinomis, "Whatever the Greeks acquired from foreigners is finally turned by them into something nobler." p.216 Roth. Greece being made up primarily of islands and a peninsula attached to the mainland by an ithmus at Corinth. This land was stretched out from Crete to Egypt. Due to the lack of land their major source of commerce was the seaway, the Aegean Sea. The Greeks became major sea men, (sailors) and still are in present time. The Greeks had a agricultural system based on small farms because of the geographically the land was mountainous rough and rocky made up of limestone and marble. The Greeks had to trade with neighboring countries which later they conquered and colonized.
The Greeks were the first group of people to develop city/states and a democrat governmental system. One was a citizen of the state they were born in. Even though one might be considered a citizen of Greece there still was a social hierarchy class system. Their government was ruled by land owning men. The Greeks had a quest for knowledge and much of their source for the knowledge of geometry and astronomy came from Egypt and Meseopotamia.
Thales of Miletos after learning about mathematics from the Egyptians, came up with the concept of atoms, the smallest indivisible components of all matter. p. 220 Roth. The Greeks had an innate love of logic(logos ) meaning reason, idea, conception, or word" a natural order the opposite would be chaos. p.220 Roth .

The Greek pursued balance and symmetry, (summetria); everything having like measure was the ideal. The philosopher Heraclitus stated "Measure and logos are firm in a changing world". He described the cosmos as a balance between heaven and earth, night and day, health and disease. p. 220 Roth. Another philosopher Pythagoras of Samos believed that all natural philosophy was based on numbers. He discovered the basis of musical harmony. He and other developed mathematical proofs for the triangular and square numbers first used by the Egyptians and Mesopotamians, another source of their knowledge. The Greeks believed that a "an is the measure of all things". Socrates believed that truth could only be found by questioning, refinement and testing." The Greeks believed that the gods did not reveal all knowledge but as time went on my searching and seeking all truths would be revealed. The Greeks endeavor to achieve excellence in human endeavors music, poetry, crafts, government, sculpture and architecture was known as "Arete" which could be obtained through completion. A person of arete did all thing well and keep in balance. This meant a well ordered person endeavored to exercise strength, restraint, value over quantity and noble struggle over pure competition. They regularly sponsored contest , at Argolis, Crinth, Delphi, and Olympia in search of arete.
. p 221 Roth. The Greeks identified themselves as hellenes, and their land as Hellas.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Divide and conquer

Sketching with pencil, inspiration from Thomas C.Wang

Inspiration for sketching.

Serial EnVisioning

Thumb prints of the Foust Building for our building lay0ut practice.
Doing these thumb prints is a true learning exercise for me. I want to put more detail into the pictures than can fit therefore I have to practice forshorting the scene I actually see.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

OPUS PROJECT: Scale,Section,Unity, Vignettes,Boundaries

The great Pyramid of Cheops Giza necropolis has three main elements. The pyramid of Cheops, Chephren and Mycerinus lie on a near diagonal axis the perfectly aligned with the North Star and perpendicular axis of the sun.
The first pyramid was the largest built for Cheops aka. Khufu. The second pharoah was Khufu' son Chephren aka. Khafre, and the third was Menkare aka. called Mycerinus. The sheer size and precision which these structures were made has caused these pyramids to be known as one of the seven wonders of the world. The Largest pyramid is 775ft by 479ft. The Pyramid of Khafte was 707ft square and 470 ft high. The side slope is 50 degrees 10 ft. The smallest pyramid measures 356ft sq. (3) Roth 196,197. Nothing in Egypt was as grand as the Pyramids of Gizu. At the end of the Fourth Dynasty pyramid building all but ended. Most of the pyramids had been broken into and robed. One a minor pharaoh who died at a young age remained in tack. His tomb was covered with debris from rocks above another pharaohs tomb King RamesII , King Tutankhaman. At the end of the fourth Dynasty there was a great upheaval in the government even the god RA was replaced with the god Ammon.
Thebes became the new city in upper Egypt. Tombs were being built as the base of the western cliff at Deir el Babri. The temple of Amon at Karnak was built.
Next to this is the tomb of Queen Hatshepsut, pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty 1503-1482 B.C. E. Hatshepsut had her chief architect Senmut build terrace mortuary chapel complex next to the tomb of her father Mentuhotep. This to serve as more than a temple of worship but as centers of learning and government. The temples were also sites of theatrical religious festivals especially and the end of harvest time. The temple of Amon after the Tenth Dynasty eventually became a major sacred site in Egypt.(3) P201-203 Roth.
Impoteh was the first recorded architecture in western Egypt he set the basis for other architects to follow. Roth p.119. Semut under Queen Hatshepsut designed her morturay temple. It is stated that loose notes have been found on ostraka, flate flakes of linstone chipped off larger building blocks,of Egyptian architect designs vignettes and more formal drawings were done in various colored inks on papyrus sheets. One of the surviving sheets shows front and side elevations sections of a shrine chest is kept in Turin Italy. P119 Roth.
I wonder if the Egyptians had not left vignettes, drawings on the walls of the temples and inside the tombs would we have known today what had occured thousands of years ago. I find this all mind boggling that one group of people in the earliest recorded history could devise such structures on a grand scale.The beauty of the sculptures of the kings and god-kings is amazing in perfection. That from the Egyptians all other cultures follow examples and expound on these structures, these buildings, cultures, knowledge, systems borrowing one from another and expanding, from the first Egyptian minds.
In our Drafting class we are learning about, drawing to scale and creating to scale as in Pat's chair. We also had to draw a section of the structure we created. We also study angles 30-60-90 degree angles in expressing plan drawings. In Design studio class we had to create a scale model of our artifact and place it in a section of the model wooden wall we created. In Design Art
class we drew vignettes of places where people gather called "Drinking while Drawing" we practiced making the people to scale in our drawings in these vignettes. The unity of all this helps me to understand how everything relates and comes together. Working in groups helps also in the exchange of ideas as we come together in unity to create artifacts and structures which roots came from those who lived before us.
Understanding Architecture, Its Elements, History, and Meaning, Leland M. Roth.pp 196-197...pp201-203
The Grammar Of Architecture, Ancient Egypt, Emily Cole p20

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Opus Project:Week 3 Scale, Unity, Section.....

Scale: The earliest form of Egyptian monumental architecture began in the form of mastabas. Egyptian religious belief was that physical life was only temporary, while the spiritual life was eternal. They wanted their monuments to endure to eternity. The temple and the tomb was considered the gateway to eternity. The Matabas were formed of red mud brick believed to be influence by
Mesoptamian architecture. These tombs were for the King -gods on earth. The Mastaba was the first building structure it had flaring walls and single cell interiors used for burial and later as living units structures. The Mataba was an vignette of what was to come.
In the 3rd Dynasty 2780-2680BCE Pyramids were built strictly for the Egyptian Kings and the larger in scale the pyramid was the more important the King. The Great Pyramid of Cheops at Giza was constructed during the rule of three generation of Pharaohs Cheops, Chephren and Mycerenus. (1)This pyramid had all the quality of the architecture on a grand scale and is the purest form of geometrical architecture that still inspires modern buildings today.
Impotep was one of the most important Egyptian architects. In the third Dynasty, King Djoser-2630-2611 BCE commisioned Impotep to build his tomb from the mastaba design he created the first step pyramid the Sakkara. This Sakkara was stronger, lasted and was resistant to thieves. Impotep had many talents and was given many titles but the most important was the title of "High Priest of Heliopolis "(1a) In our Design class and design drawing class we are studying drawing objects to scale. As in our vignettes we draw the figures to scale with the other objects in the drawing I sometimes have trouble with this since I am just really learning to draw. In design class we had to make a object called Pat's chair and draw it to scale on vellum paper. In photographs of the Gizu the people standing around the grounds are minuscule in scale to the
(1a).The History of Architecture, Iconic Buildings Thoughout the Ages, Gaynor Aaltonen.
1) (The Grammer of Architecture p.16, Emily Cole)

Vignette Design Drawing: Drinking and Drawing

I drew this vignette at a coffee shop a couple waiting to be served.


These were drawn at Borders in the coffee area. People were moving around getting drinks and reading magazines and books. A man sitting at a bar while another man was looking at books outside the cafe area.

Design Drawing: Drinking and Drawing

These two vignettes were done in Barnes and Nobles in the cafe. People were getting coffee and
reading books. the other was at the bar where a man was reading sitting on a stool. I'm trying to get a handle on this not exactly the effect that I wanted. I tried to draw what I was seeing for me this is not easy. I chose the colors the people were actually wearing.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Wall Project: Brick Wall

This brick archway is a bridge attaching the Ferguson Education Building in three parts. A very aesthetic scene as one walks under the archway. The photo above this is a curved wall construction on Tate St. in front of the Brown building the brick wall curves and ends flat at the end of the street. These are a few of the many brick wall designs on UNCG campus.

Wall Project: Brick Walls

Examples of brick walls this partition dividing the service parking area of the Gatewood Arts building south side. A example of a stand alone wall. The photos above is the front wall of the Weatherspoon Arts building the brick pattern varies in different designs giving the face of the building an artistic design.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

WALL PROJECT: Hidden In Plan Sight

These are two photos of my wall project. Can you find my artifact for Grimm's Fairy Tale, King Thrushbeard? Bet you can't find it. Constructing a wood frame wall with 2 by 4's sheeting and floor on a scale of 1" equals 1' 6inches by 9inches and 3/16th by 3/8th studes with a 6"by 6" plate and a bottom plate. I chose a wall paper pattern of books in the wall construction because the king in the story was a well educated man and every intelligent therefore he would have had books in his library.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

OPUS PROJECT: Bridge between People and Things

Idiom: The language of the Art or profession, vernacular, jargon, things that are in common. Man's first evidence of life was burial grounds common to all
civilizations. Dick Heddige expressed forms of rituals of subordinate groups inherently reaction which renders object meaningful. 1. Understanding Architecture History and Theory. p.159 "Architecture is a shelter but also a symbol and a form of communication."Sir Herbert Read.

Our study of the subject matter, drafting, the vernacular is related to all are classes- design linguistics. Vernacular buildings lack of "theory" pretensions work with the site (what's available), respect for others environment.
Idiomatic: additive, subtractive semiotic relationship. Semiotic the study of signs and sign using behavior. 1.Swiss linguist Ferdinand De Saussure, "the life of signs with society. 2.Charles Sanders Peirce did seminal work in the field.
He defined a sign as "something which stands to somebody for something" he categorized signs into three types: the icon, a symbol and an index. In our architecture courses we use signs to signify direction, grade, position style, a jargon of the trade in order to read a blue print one has to be able to read the signs of architectural design. In our study of Ancient architecture we read about the signs, icons, symbols the Egyptian, Greeks and Romans i.e. left for us to interpret an discover.

1.) http://www.britannica.comEBchecked/topic/534099/semiotics>

Commodity Firmness and Delight

Stonehenge on the chalk downs of Salisbury Plain from Salisbury England.

This complex was built in three major stages over a period of 1200 years. It is believed that it was built by many generations. This site was built out of stone in three stages using a post and lentil construction. What the commodity of this site, people are not sure. Perhaps some religious significance. Through out the world there are other sites such as these. The stone faces on Easter Island in Hawaii. Carnac burial site in Ireland rows of large cylinder stones.most of these sites had some type of religious significance.
Credit for photos:

Pat's Desk/chair model

Project 1
Desk Chair:

This a picture of my desk/chair for design graphics class measure 6' by 4' on scale of chipboard
materials. The stool is apart of the desk on the left side. There are two shelves stack on top of each other. Table size is 2' by 3' wide and shelves are 1' by 2' high.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Five Citations From History and Theory Week 2

  • Illuminate:> To brighten with light,to use light to apply emphasis on a subject in art. Brighten intellectually or spiritually, enlightened, elucidate, emphasize.
    Louis I Kahn states that there was no true architecture without natural light. (Roth p86.) The perceptions of textures is dependent upon the quality of light falling on a building. Studies have found that light creates psychological and physiological effects on living things. Great artist used the effect of light to focus on paintings such as The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa. Baroque architects used light to focus attention on certain areas in their churches.
    The Temple of Amon at Karnak was not only a place of worship but also a center of enlightenment of learning. The Egyptians worshiped the sun they called their god RA. The Temple of Amon has it's axis pointing toward the winter solstice sunrise.

  • In art class we studied light in the form of water coloring vignettes a little color and then the back ground of the white paper lets the light shine though. Light is the most effective element in creating a sense of mystery and awe and the manipulating of light is the principal agent in the creation of shrines and religious buildings.(p.88 Understanding Architecture Leland M.Roth)
    Another form of illumination was fire the discovery of fire in early civilization. The discover of the creation of man in Africa and then migrating toward Eurasia because of severe climate change the discovery of fire for warmth who controlled the fire was in control. In the cave as L'Escale, France the oldest known hearth was found some 750,000 years ago. ( Roth 161)
    Not that fire relates to our study but it is wonderful to be warm inside when it is so cold outside.
    Credit for photos: Nina Aldin Thune Wikimedia Commons

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Artifact from Grimm's Fairy Tale King Thrushbeard

I chose to make a reverible vest for the theme of the Grimm's fairy tale King Thrushbeard. The theme for me could have more than one meaning but I chose "things are not always what they seem" or," don't judge a book by it's cover".
The vest was made of metallic fabric drab gray on one side and then bright vibrate green on the other. I chose to represent the Beggar-King in the story.
To relate this story to architecture one cannot assume the basis for a structure on appearances only. Our reading states that we look at awe at some of the architecture and perceive that it must be light because it's made of glass like the Lever House or the Hapero Hall Pharmacy at Wayne State University, Detroit
where the building rest on its smallest point. Both of these building are structurally sound. Pg. 26..27 Understanding Architecture Its Elements, History, and Meaning by Leland M. Roth.