Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


St. Paul's Cathedral

During the renaissance, Europeans looked back to the classical Greek and Roman styles as the source for their buildings. After the baroque period, “Architects were turning increasingly to specific source models, in a wide variety of historical styles, resulting in revivals of Greek and Roman Classicalism.” (Roth 461) But that was only the beginning, and the cycle continued on to a gothic revival, which most of London was decorating in after the Great Fire of 1866. The Industrial Revolution had begun, and the new technology bred from this put cast iron and glass on the market, so most homes, not just churches, could incorporate the new gothicism.

The West had been borrowing Eastern designs for the past couple centuries through trade, especially with China. The Industrial Revolution allowed for faster transportation, therefore faster and more productive trade. However, China did not need anything the West had to offer, and usually traded goods for silver. The invention of the steamboat allowed the English to crush China in the Opium Wars, and began to barter more successfully with opium. In 1858 the Japanese had finally opened its trading gates to the west, illuminating Europeans on a new culture. They were especially impressed with the ukiyo-e woodblock prints, turning the artist's world upside down. Japonisme fascination continued, and is counted “among the inspirations of the first great design style of the twentieth century, Art Nouveau.” (Massey 29)

The age of imperialism was also the age of growth. Cities centered around coal mining and steel factories sprung up, and established cities thrived and more than doubled in size in a few decades. During this period "there were two conflicting strains of development: one of traditionalism, the other based on the felt need for reform and innovation" (Blakemore 393)
Some greeted this new Industrial Revolution and tried to push this new technology to its highest potential to mass produce synthetic products on the cheap. The more traditional side pleaded that these machines were impacting both people and architecture negatively, and started the arts and crafts movement. We often think of a "movement" as going forward, but this particular one called for us to rewind, that their was such a thing as going too far. But history teaches us movements always go in cycles, the most radical often followed by a very conservative. The world has its own way of making sure such reforms balance out.

Georgian Home

In America, wood was aplenty so the arts and crafts movement was much more applicable. Houses were often made out of all wood, and sparsely decorated in hall and parlor type houses. This was not necessarily all because of a disapproval of new factory-produced furniture, but because it was efficient. Before America had its freedom Britain would take wood for the colonies, ship it back overseas to England to finish it, and then ship it back to the Americas to sell, upping the cost significantly due to the cost of travel. However in the home country of the Industrial Revolution and the king of Imperialism, their was a rotation back to Gothic revival because “Gothic was an expression of a just and Christian society in contrast to nineteenth-century industrial society with its social ills” (Massey 9)

Royal Pavilion

In the Victorian era family and social strata was to the utmost importance. Your home was supposed to be a reflection of your family, thus termed 'portrait homes’, reflecting his beliefs that their design should not merely reflect the owner’s life-style but be his portrait.” (Massey 37) These houses were not sparsely decorated, but instead had artwork showcased off in every room. In today's world there are so many other things we look as to "reflect" ourselves because we've invented more stuff (i.e. cars, electronics, etc) Homes are more of an investment then a reflection.

We have entered the reflections unit of our theory + design class, and by looking backwards it is very apparent that throughout the major movements in history there are rotations in design. Innovative is often followed by classical, and vice versa. The Greeks and Romans are always a vital source, but as the years past the choices become more colorful and the rules become less clear, and sometimes completely passe. The Industrial Revolution and uncompromising Imperialism lead to the illumination of new technology and cultures, which both inspired designers and led them to question whether the classic rules of architecture are indeed the best ones.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Unit Summary: Alternatives

After the Roman Empire crumbled, the church was expected to pick up the chaos. The year 1000 was approaching and everyone thought the end of the world was near. Cathedrals tried to establish order through geometric details, and reminded its patrons about the oncoming judgment day through sculptural details of hell taking over the earth. Although the Roman empire was dying, it still was very influential in Christian architecture, the churches being described as "Romanesque".
But as the years crept by their was a lot of experimentation with structure, and even more so with surfaces. Their was an obsession with reaching heavenward through the height of a building, while creating as much light as possible through massive stained glassed windows. To support these buildings massive flying buttresses were attached for stability. These were the Gothic Style years, but each country had their own unique take on it. France, especially Normandy, had the most archetypal gothic style, and Germany played off this with subtle differences (often having one tower instead of two). England, being more isolated to the North, had its own distinct gothic style, its buildings often being more sprawling. Italy still clung to its Roman roots, and had a much more classical leaning, and also separated its church buildings. It is interesting that in a time referred to as the "dark ages," such innovative architecture that was light-filled, intrinsically detailed and taller than ever before.
Starting in the 1400s there were a lot of new discoveries. The printing press, America, the reformation all contributed to this idea of a "rebirth." The Renaissance was all about reviving the ancient world. The buildings were still here but none of the rules were written down, so during this era books and books were written detailing these Greek and Roman masterpieces. But imitating buildings can only entertain a designer for so long, and soon the best designers became the one that started to twist and even break these rules. Palladio was an incredibly influential designer who is famous for "using the sacred for the profane." His homes were very classical, but never before had the front of a temple been used on a private home. Interest in design began to move beyond the home and out into the yard. Houses were designed wide and one room wide to help control the landscape, and later elaborate, painfully planned gardens became customary to any mansion.
This push for expanding outside of the classical box led to the Baroque period. The Baroque period was all about creating drama through excess and light. From the smallest scale to an entire city, it was all about theatre. Through all the undulating stone carvings, movement was created, from the spanish steps to bernini's baldacchino. While the Renaissance was about rationality, the Baroque lavished on emotionality. These alternatives become the foundation of the revolutionary cycle of architecture. After a political or social reform, their will be a revival of the previous generations' style, "going out of the box" could mean back to basics or experimenting with something completely new.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Precedent Analysis Deliverables

10 Drawings

1. Floorplan with pencil on vellum at 1/8" scale
2. Isometric Plan of Interior Capsule with pencil on vellum at 1/4" scale
3. Perspective of Interior Capsule with pen and watercolor on bond at 1/4" scale
4. Section of north side with pencil on vellum at 1/8" scale
5. Section of west side with pencil on vellum at 1/8" scale
6. Elevation of south side with pencil on vellum at 1/8" scale
7. Elevation of east side with pencil on vellum at 1/8" scale
8. Exterior 2pt perspective with pen and watercolor on bond at 1/8" scale
9. Exterior 1pt perspective with pen on bond at 1/8" scale
10. Exterior 3pt perspective with pen on bond and at 1/8" scale


I. Introduction
a. design specifics of building
i. what makes it special?

II. Body
a. Metabolist movement
i. interchangable design ("organic growth")
ii. minimalist materials
iii. futuristic modular design

b. Design Flaws (the inevitable destruction)
i. rushed design process
ii. lack of upkeep and use of asbestos
iii. can the building be saved/should the building be saved?

c. Influence as prototype for sustainable development
i. capsules are manufactured offsite and can be replaced
ii. use of concrete and steel
iii. opportunities for helping in major third world cities

III. Conclusion
a. the future of modular buildings
i. buildings that can adapt to the environment vs. timeless buildings

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Precedent Analysis Building Selection + Justification v.2

Nakagin Capsule Tower

Designed by Kisho Kurokawa, the Nakagin was built in 1972 in Tokyo, Japan. It was part of the metabolist movement that "realizes the ideas of metabolism, exchangeability, recycleablity as the prototype of sustainable architecture."(arcspace) These one man capsules (meant for busy businessmen) were made to be detachable and replaceable, and installed using only four high tension bolts. However, since the building has not had proper upkeep there is intense water damage and the capsule tower may be demolished. I chose this building because i think it is an unconventional step in the right direction. The idea of pre-assembled rooms using recycled materials is something that has not caught on in the western hemisphere, but may contain merits due to mass overpopulation in third world metropoli. We are running out of materials and space on this planet and as designers it is important to preserve as much of it as possible. Its tragic downfall is also a good example of "the greenest building is one that is already built."

P Week

Santa Maria Novella

the process of transitioning from the gothic world to the renaissance style of the rebirth of the classics varied throughout Europe. While France clung to the gothic world, Spain and Italy embraced the classics much more readily. England, being isolated on its own island faraway from the mediterranean also held onto gothic architecture, but with their own twist of the "country house." During this transition these classic "rules" of architecture that the great buildings of the greeks and romans embodied were written down. These architects "invented a term to describe their decisive break with the Gothic past, saying their work marked a renaissance, or rebirth.” (Roth 397)

Villa Rotunda

A level of professionalism was established, with the renaissance style focusing on geometry, order, and gestalt principals. A designer had to essentially learn to "bring things to rest" by balancing feminine and masculine properties. I wonder if they felt if they were starting from scratch, that architecture still had leaps and bounds ahead of it. The most famous designers were the ones that understood the rules and chose to push the boundaries, with “most of the palazzi and villas, the architects confidently devised a blend of ancient Roman architectural themes with local tradition” (Roth 376). Palladio was one of those designers, becoming popular for using the sacred for the profane.

Doges Palace

His portfolio is full of buildings that are timeless, because although he revives the ancient world, the rulebreaking is in the details. In today's world I think it's more difficult to be a designer because it seems all the rules have been broken. It is important for an artist/designer's portfolio to show how they stand out. For it is their job to exhaust the limits of the possible, and because of "their restless quest of innovation, these high Renaissance architects were not content to stop their manipulation of form once the rules had been defined.' (Roth 381)

After focusing on the home for so long, people began to conquer beyond the exterior of their homes and into the yards, and "this new awareness and appreciation of the natural landscape was one of the important contributions of the Renaissance” (Roth 356). The Farnese family took their city Palazzo one step further by buying the open space in the front to make their house look even more unattainable. In the country villas, landscape architecture became a prominent part of the estate. This even effected the shape of the villa, making it one room wide and long, using the building's periphery to control the architecture.

During the renaissance the surface got the most attention. From frescos and murals plastered on every open wall, to the intrinsic marquetry on the furniture. Paintings and furniture decoration was able to sore after the discovery of the perspective. Perspective was able to give a fluidity and third dimension to surface decoration that was impossible before, especially “in Baroque architecture and art, the line between three-dimensional reality and mystical illusion was increasingly blurred.”(Roth 404) Surface decoration was also obtained holistically on a city-wide level. In Venice, who made its fortune through selling glass and lace, had their architecture embody both of these products. This, (as well as being built on a swamp marsh) gives the city a genius loci--you can't take one thing away and it still be Venice.

The Renaissance's obsession with order lead to a new level of
professionalism. With the basic rules of architecture written down and followed, designers were to consort their quickly amassing portfolio to look at standardized ancient marvels from around the world. Then they were able to take that foundation and use their own perspective to improve upon the past. This process left the boundaries of their homelands, going beyond the periphery of classic stylings to follow their vision of reviving the ancients while making it their own.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

macro to micro

The composition of the church became pretty standard, with little cultural nuisances afflicted the cathedrals from country to country. All in the basilica form, "the Gothic cathedral was quickly standardized in its plan and basic components. There were, of course, distinctive regional variations...the cross-shaped plan was derived from Romanesque pilgrimage churches, with nave, side aisles, transept arms and crossing, and the chevet with ambulatory and radiating chapels enclosing a round-ended choir.” (Roth 333) Going back to the classical days, geometry and proportions became imperative in this buildings, with many cathedrals being built using the golden section. As the centuries moved on however, grappling with different ways to deal with these buildings extreme height changed the composition of the church.

The Greeks had pioneered the porch, court, and hearth on every scale in architecture. Present in each home to the layout of a city, this tradition is passed on to modern day architecture as well. The porch being perhaps a literal front porch or gateway, while the court being an open courtyard or the main gathering area/living room. The hearth is the most intimate setting, such as a kitchen or where the altar is. The Renaissance celebrated such a classical composition, and even “landscape architecture had been revived early in the fifteenth century as another manifestation of Classical civilization” (Roth 386).

In architecture you often need diagrams to see all the math that goes into these buildings. Watching the animated video unfold step by step the making of the Amiens Cathedral really helped understand the anatomy of the building. Architects during this period were really into geometry, looking back to Vitruvius's works. Vitruvius had used the human body as a diagram, because he thought the “ideal systems of proportion, he observed, can be found in the perfect proportions of the human body.” (Roth 359)

These massive cathedrals rise high above everything else in the city, leaving a lasting impression. These churches “stood for the Heavenly City of Jerusalem...and was a monument that seems to dwarf the man who enters it, for space, light, structure, and the plastic effects of masonry are organized to produce a visionary in the parts…and no standard relationship between solid and void" (Roth 301) The large stained glass windows, unbelievable height, and impressive sculptures were unlike anything else the public had seen. During the Renaissance they were obsessed with order, and in churches such as Brunelleschi’s Church of San Spirito in Florence, “the visitor would see a fully three-dimensional representation of a building as a constructed perspective, each architectural element assigned a precise place in a rationally ordered scheme.” (Roth 365)

These masterpieces were thought out to the very last detail. Every designer is a perfectionist, and even the smallest parts have are important to the buildings presence as a whole. These subtleties differentiate the Renaissance from the Classics, as "in every one of Michelangelo’s architectural designs, what appear at first to be standard classical architectural elements are in fact subtly manipulated in defiance to the conventions of Classical design, for Michelangelo was molding them as elements in gigantic sculpture” (Roth 382)

The composition of a building is most helpful seen through diagrams, since there was so much focus on the geometry of a building. Each building has its own definition of a court, porch, and hearth. But the details in the buildings really make them special, renowned artists were put to work sculpting and painting giant frescos to really make these buildings one of a kind. The Renaissance has had a lasting impression on this world, today still regarded as one of the most artistically expressive and engineering times in our history.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Unit Summary: Foundations

All architecture is based on a foundation of commodity, firmness, and delight. If it does not include commodity, it is seen as sculpture. Architecture also uses aedicule, which a series of division of spaces to help break down the building logically. As a form of aedicule humans started using the post and lintel system, from stonehenge in Britain to the temples of Egypt. Although primitive in its basicness, it was able to support incredible weight. The downside was that you would need many columns for support. The hypostyle halls in Egypt are very impressive, but not as functional as since the space is not open. This prototype of a clerestory to let in light was also founded in these halls, and this idea was later borrowed in medieval churches for the same purpose. In Egypt we also see the difference between masculine and feminine architecture, which is even more prominent in Roman architecture, with the use of wu-wus and triumphiant arches, which are representative of male and female genitalia, respectively.
The Greeks were heavily inspired by the Egyptians, but their values were slightly different. In Egypt time seemed to stand still for thousands of years, life was pleasant for most of the empire and resources were used to make sure that in the afterlife you were able to bring all the pleasures from the physical world. Greek life was not as relaxed, and the emphasis was to make yourself last forever by leaving something great on this earth that would last many lifetimes to come. Enamored with logistics and proportion, Greek architecture strove for visual perfection. This was especially exemplified in the parthenon, which does not have a straight line on it so your eye is drawn upward, towards the gods. The Greeks still used the post and lintel system, and the columns were established into varying complex orders. The two main ones were the Doric and Ionic orders. The Greeks did not pay as much attention to interiors however, since most time was spent outside.
The Romans were more focused on exhibiting the strength and power of their empire, and their buildings received lavished ornamentation, but on the exterior that usually only included the front (most visible) side. Although they were able to conquer and rule the Greeks, they also were heavily influenced by them. They expanded on their building archetypes to create their own Roman hybrids. They enjoyed using the Greek orders, but also expanded upon them to create the composite and corinthian orders, a hybrid of the previous orders. These columns were usually mix and matched as surface decorations, because through the invention of concrete the post and lintel system was no longer the most efficient one. The use of arches was used excessively in Roman architecture, and always made with concrete (although it was usually veneered with brick or wood.) Roman cities were also very different from Greek cities. Greek cities were usually organically built, while Roman cities were often shoot-offs of military compounds, built on a strict grid system with two major roads crossing throughout the city. Romans also used "bread and circuses" to keep to divert the public's attention away from political upheaval. This lead to the making of many public buildings, including the Colosseum and the Pantheon. But it also lead to the evolution of a new type of building to support the giant public baths so popular in the Roman Empire. This was the basilica, which would later be the foundation for the western church.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


During medieval times, the Catholic Church ruled all, and was a constant presence in the lives of every European. To show their power, cathedrals had to be huge and extravagant, for "the Gothic church... stood for the Heavenly City of Jerusalem...and was a monument that seems to dwarf the man who enters it" (Roth 301) . Especially during gothic times, it was a race to see who could get the most height. The taller the building, the closer it was to heaven. The invention of the pendentive also helped create a more glorious presence inside the churches. By putting a dome on top of a groined vault, you could now structurally support windows for more light. Light, being the most important of all "delights," helps inspire awe and a deep sense of holiness to these massive cathedrals.

The precedent of every Western church is the basilica, because "the Christians required not only buildings that would accommodate large numbers of converts, but also enclosed spaces that would facilitate hearing the spoken word and chanted psalms." (Roth 279).. The basilica was designed by Romans originally as a law court, and later used in buildings that entertained large groups, such as public baths. Studying these cathedrals it is obvious "from the collapse of the Roman Empire to the end of the middle ages, two international styles of art had the greatest import for medieval western Europe: Romanesque and Gothic."(Blakemore 68) But Christianity was considered taboo when it first came on the scene, especially in the Romans' polygomous society. So Christians had to hide their worship services by gathering underground in the catacombs. Around the turn of the century churches were described as Romanesque because they had borrowed the use of arches, surface columns, and the idea of "telling stories" on the front of the building. Italian churches had an especially classical leaning being so close to Rome. But Rome was not the only place that cathedrals go their inspiration from. The use of the pendentive, the "greek cross," mosaics, and geometric patterns was borrowed from the architecture in the Roman Empire's new middle eastern capital, current day Istanbul. The Hagia Sophia is one of the finest and most thorough examples.

With the millennium approaching, the general consensus of the populous was the world was going to descend into hell. This belief is captured in small moments on the surface decoration of churches. Since illiteracy was rampant during these dark ages, most churches focused on the art of "visual literacy" instead of using words. These sculptures would show biblical stories, and often they were very grim, showing apocalyptic fantasies of demons and death. But the church itself was supposed to represent a physical moment of heaven on earth through “images of stylized reality, captured in the glittering mosaics, evoke a spiritual presence in an otherworldly atmosphere of resplended grandeur.” (Roth) Most churches had a series of affluent family-sponsored chapels (whose charity was inspired by indulgences) that each were ornately decorated as well.

Despite the name the "dark ages," medieval architecture was fond of incorporating a lot of light and experimenting with structure and surfaces. Deconstructing walls to make room for huge stained glass windows was both innovative and priority. Medieval cathedrals also show duality by incorporating the building styles of the east and west. Basing the archetype of the church off of the pagan roman basilica is also an interesting twist. And even the churches themselves are double sided because although the micro detail has a lot of movement, the buildings also represent solidity.

Baths of the Diocletian

The metric system was standard system the Greeks and Romans used to build all their great architecture. This system "was designed to serve the needs of the body in its pools and exercising gardens, to feed the mind in its libraries, and to reward the eye in its vast molded spaces." (Roth 275) The 32 acres of Baths of the Diocletian was dissected into 10 parts : baths, libraries, a gymnasium, etc...that brought people together as a whole.


although the precedent for the church was inspired by the Roman basilica, they borrow a lot from the East as well. The invention of the pendentive helps give the cathedral presence, since this new architectural design allows the installation of windows to allow massive light into the building. The cathedrals were built using the metric system, and using geometry to create perfect proportions within the basilica. Visual literacy was the way to go since most of the population could not read, and the cathedrals were decorated with elaborate mosaics and biblical stories. The Christian Church was supposed to represent a moment of heaven on earth, and the duality of heaven and earth was further played upon by trying to make the cathedrals touch as high in the sky as humanly possible. This was not only to reach the heavens, but to assert the power of the Church as the real ruling party in Europe.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Precedent Analysis Building Selection + Justification


Located in Prague, Czech Republic, the "Dancing House" was built between 1994 and 1996. Co-designed by Croatian-born Vlado Milunić and Frank Gehry. The building is "an example of a deconstructivist architecture, with an unusual shape – you can actually see a couple – woman and man dancing together, holding their hands, with a skirt that sways to the music." (Dancing House) I chose this building as my subject because although it looks incredibly modern, It would be interesting to see if it's really as abstract as it seems, or does it hold a sneaking amount of classical ties. This building also was the subject of a lot of controversy, built to replace a neo-renaissance style house bombed in World War II, it contrasts sharply with the surrounding architecture. This building has also been under scrutiny of not being sound, with accusations of water leakage. I personally really like how the building breaks away from the background and establishes its own datum lines, and believe we should continue to push the limits of architecture and our imaginations of how a building should look while making sure it will last and serve the public for generations.

"Dancing House." 2008. 19 Feb 2009 .

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


The Romans were one of the largest empires in the world who "focused on the city as its basic constituent element." (Roth 247) The source of the entire Roman empire was the founding of one city, Rome, and this is what they kept closest to their hearts, and valued "a sense of the importance of matters at hand, a propensity for austerity conservatism, and a deep respect for duty and tradition." (Roth 249) Ever expanding, the Romans were ever on the lookout for enemy attacks from outside barbarians, and "military encampments in turn became the basis of countless town plans throughout the empire." (Roth 253) Built around the major cross roadway, the cities developed on a grid pattern structure, unlike the Greeks whose cities tended to be more organic. In drawing we sketched our T.A.s to have a source as well as a series of scale figures to look to when drawing people in our vignettes. We are also being assigned perspective drawings of the building we took thumbnails on, and found different artist perspective sources to make our own unique drawings.

The Romans picked and choosed what they liked about the cultures that they conquered, but were determined to make it their own. Out of all the civilizations they encountered across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, "two in particular were instrumental in shaping the arts of the Romans--the Etruscans and the Greeks." (Blakemore 45) The Romans looked to these prototypes to develop their own archetypes such because "the focus on urban life and civic activities required the development of new building types in Roman architecture, buildings that enclosed space for the use of the public." (Roth 255) They built the Colosseum, which was a new amphitheater built without using the surrounding environment, and used the greek columns not for post and lintel construction but merely as surface decoration, the Romans preferred to institute the arch. But the Pantheon can best sum up the archetype of Roman Architecture. Its hybrid corinthian columns, the only decorative side facing the street, the use of concrete to create these vast, magnificent dome. Unlike the Greeks the Romans weren't striving for architectural perfection, "the emphasis increasingly was on experimentation and on pushing stone and concrete to their structural and plastic limits." (Roth 271) Concrete was the number one choice and it was used in almost all their buildings, although often veneered in other materials.

Colosseum Orders

There were five orders of columns throughout time: Tuscan, Dorian, Ionic, Corinthian, and Composite. The columns go from simple to more complicated. The Tuscan was an Etruscan prototype, while the Corinthian and Composite are a later hybrid of the previous orders. The Romans also mixed orders, something the Greeks would never do. The Colosseum has Doric on the first floor, Ionic on the second, and Corinthian on the third to show a "passage of time."

The Greeks and Romans were heavily influenced by the things that surround them. The atmosphere of Greek architecture "can be described as sculptural masses set in balanced contrast to the landscape, Roman an architecture of space, enclosed internal space and outdoor space, on a grand scale" (Roth 247) Each city had a forum, a large open space surrounded by important buildings. These buildings always had the side facing the street much more highly decorated then the other three. The Romans built these opulent buildings for the public to distract them from the politics that were going on, for they held services open to everyone such as baths, combat matches, and theatre. The entourage of the city was of "free bread and circuses." Away from the city, the atmosphere was much different. Instead of things being out in the open, most villas were based around a courtyard, which would hide chores and servants to give the appearance that things went on effortlessly in their home. Due to this level of privacy, "the orientation of the domus was inward; few windows were incorporated on the first floor." (Blakemore 49) In our drawing classes we are now encompassing the entourage of the building we are assigned in our thumbnails to capture a moment, which was expanded on from learning to draw people moving naturally in their surroundings..

Because more time was spent inside, "the Romans gave far more attention to the interior than did the Greeks, whose architectural focus was the exterior, viewed as sculpture...concrete was also responsible for the alteration of interior spaces." (Blakemore 51) The inside of your home showed how much money and power you had, your hierarchy was determined by the level of extravagance in your home. Lavished in detail and expensive materials, "while the Greeks were concerned with refining types where form and proportion were of major import, the Romans focused on ostentatious display, often through extravagant ornamentation." (Blakemore 46) In drafting line weight is really important, the hierarchy of darkness shows what is closest and what is further away. Our thumbnails are a low rung in our series of drawings, we start with these small vague sketches and move up to large, detailed perspectives of our buildings.


The Greeks and Etruscans had perfected their prototypes of temples, amphitheaters, etc, into model archetypes. When the Romans came in and conquered these civilizations, they used these sources to mold what they saw the best of both worlds into their own unique hybrids. These hybrids focused on ornamentation, often mixing the greek orders and the entourage of amazing buildings were used to distract the public and show Roman power and hierarchy.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Moore Building Thumbnails

In front of an office, bookshelf with awards, staircase, overlooking front two story dome by stairs, classroom, front of building

back entrance, side view, breakroom, view outside front second story window, lounge room, fax/copy room

These thumbnails were easier to draw then i thought they'd be (things do look better when they're smaller and in pen) but i did have a lot of trouble drawing scale figures that small. A lot of them just turned out looking like stick people because i was thumbnailing from a good distance away to capture a "moment." I also used a lot of perspective drawing with a couple of these, which i wasn't expecting to encounter as much.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Drink and Draw

I went to visit some friends in Boone this weekend and i drew at their house. It was a 21st birthday party, and while i was drawing was the next morning(afternoon) when everyone was chilling out. My friend even indulged in my watercolors while i was drawing them. Boone has some weird love affair with wood vineling, so a lot of browns! Two of them take place in the kitchen, and the other in the living room. I told them to ignore me while i was drawing them and everyone except Stephanie (the creepo in the sunglasses who just stared at me the whole time) went about their business. I have a habit of staring a lot at people so I don't feel very awkward drawing people.


These past couple weeks vignettes have been very popular in our classes. These short, descriptive scene are fleeting but give good insight into the artist's perspective. Architecture can be the same way. Buildings and furniture are a window into the artist/designer's perspective, marinated with information about their contemporary society. As mysterious as the past is "archaeological excavations have allowed researchers to develop a picture of a range of characteristics for interior architecture and decoration." (Blakemore 33)

We recently also made a section of Pat's Chair. Plans and Elevations can be deceiving so sections are popular in interior architecture to more intimately show a room or design. Researchers got to know Egyptian architecture "based on the sections of houses depicted...these representations disclose such features as spatial relationships, functional uses of spaces, interior architectural details, and decorative elements." (Blakemore 7) Our section of our 2x4 artifact room is shown as a section as well.

Shiho Nakaza

Scale represented a large portion of social hierarchy. For instance, Greek Temples were the most important, and also the biggest. Although entry was only allowed to the highest elite of Greek society, the insides were very ornate and in the case of the Parthenon, it was the symbol of the entire city. In drawing we researched different types of scale figures, since people are the ultimate judge of scale. While drawing people we are also learning foreshortening, which warps the scale of a person to make it more realistic, which dips into what the greeks grappled with, reality vs. ideal. Even though the Greeks were regarded as a democratic society, architecture is one of the many examples that shows differently.


The Greeks always expanded their boundaries, trying to set the ideal. The Parthenon was considered a perfect piece of architecture--or sculpture? Where is the boundary between architecture and sculpture? There is no real answer, but architecture tends to satisfy commodity, firmness and delight while sculpture only requires the latter two. Whichever it was, the Greeks strived hard for perfection because "the home of the goddess required the most excellent materials and the most exacting workmanship. It was done because the Greeks could do it." (Roth 240) Believing they were the center of the world and being one of the leading civilizations in the world, "much of this early philosophy was based on a priori assumptions rather than on observation of how things actually worked" (Roth 220) Some boundaries are more literal than others, our vignettes are pictures without defined boundaries, which in drafting boundaries are very strict.

Ancient Greece
Although the Greeks were city-states separated by rugged terrain, they had a sense of unity. In every society there are four concepts that "reveals the same influences reflected in other arts of the dynastic periods: religion, inspiration from familiar objects, technology (material and construction techniques), and social hierarchy." (Blakemore 13) Although all the cultures are express things differently, we can break down their influences the same. In every piece of Greek architecture there is a porch, court, and hearth. We have adopted deeply into western architecture as well, although the hearth may be a kitchen instead of inside of a temple in American Suburbia. One thing we can say about the Greeks from the Acropolis is that they "cared little for immortality on a spiritual plane, but rather, they sought to ensure their immortality in human memory, through their intellectual and artistic excellence." (Roth 243)


A vignette is a section without clear boundaries that is not necessarily always meaningful, but it is descriptive. While struggling with the real vs. ideal, the Greeks began to learn and push their boundaries to create what is in their eyes perfection for the gods. Through this they discovered their ideal archetype, which unified all buildings to have a hearth, court, and porch. This is used from the small scale of a single building, to a much larger group of buildings such as the Acropolis.