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
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. 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). (
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. :A Sustainable Life" www.

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.