Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Action Verbs

Speculate: When designing, the designer speculates measurements and how the final product is to look. They start out with a design or inspiration, then work from that to come up with the structure in the end. Guadet wrote that the first requirement in designs is to understand the function of the building and to accommodate it fully (Roth 501). He also said “you will seek character, which contributes to beauty by creating variety” (Roth 501). Both of these mean that a designer needs to speculate how the structure will be used and then add character or beauty to accentuate the function.
Compose: When designing a structure or composing a piece of art, the designer or artist needs to arrange all parts to make up the final result. Composure is important in an artwork or structure because all aspects are linked together and flow throughout the space. Guadet wrote “Composition must be good first, but it must be beautiful as well. You must therefore compose a building with a view towards its usefulness and its beauty” (Roth 501).

Energize: A space needs to have a certain energy so that the viewers can reflect on their own emotions how to evaluate the space. A designer designs with a certain lighting or celebration that sets the mood and gives the space the energy that they are trying to portray. In the late Baroque and Rococo architecture, the colors arise not so much from the natural weathering of materials but from applied paint that must periodically be renewed (Roth 81). Nonetheless, such environments have reinstituted a measure of vivacity and energy, which was suppressed by the austerity of International Modernism in the mid-twentieth century (Roth 81).
Shape: Every structure always has a shape, whether it be a box with four walls and corners or the Disney Concert Hall with many different curves and sections. The designer or architect decides on the shape and then moves through many different construction techniques to form it to that shape. Shape can also be influence by the use of the space. An alternative is to design a building so that any possible future activity can be accommodated (Roth 6).

Stretch: When designing a structure, the designer needs to compensate for stretching over the years. Much like an item of clothing stretches over time, a building can also stretch. Years of wear and tear can have major effects on structure. They begin to erode and crack as the earth moves. So a designer or architect needs to design keeping in mind the eventual harm to the structure over time.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Reflections Unit

Design is based on reflections of other structures and on the surrounding society. Some designers decide not to reflect on their surroundings, which in turn can make a different structure entirely. Politics, society, and styles of the time that a structure is designed have a major influence on how they are built.
Thomas Jefferson reflected on French architecture when designing his home, Monticello, in Charlottesville, Virginia. At first he began with the architecture from colonial American designs, but once he visited France, he completely changed his design. He wanted a home that reflected nature, but was also very sophisticated. He used his main entrance as a personal museum with statues, animal heads, and Indian memorabilia. He was influenced by a new architecture in France, which used domes, so he added one simply for viewer enjoyment. The dome is not used except to add light to the room, which Jefferson called the “sky-room” (The House). He was also greatly influenced by the use of skylights. He installed a skylight in his own bedroom as well as thirteen others. Jefferson was greatly influenced by French architecture, which is why Monticello was designed, built, designed again, and finally built again.
Frank Lloyd Wright went in a different direction from American architecture when designing Falling Water. He was the first to build an entire house out of concrete and steel. He also wanted his design to reflect nature, but also be sophisticated. He used terraces outside of every room to encourage the owners, the Kaufmanns, to spend as much time outdoors as possible. The Kaufmanns originally wanted their house to be built facing the waterfall, but Wright decided that he wanted the house to be built above the waterfall. His design was unlike any other in America at the time due to the materials and also the use of a great room. Great rooms were uncommon during that time, but Wright wanted to influence relaxation as well as family time. It was also great for entertaining, which was something that the Kaufmanns really enjoyed. Wright’s modern design has influenced architecture today with the use of natural appeal and use of materials.
Designers like Frank Lloyd Wright and Thomas Jefferson wanted to escape the usual design of American during their times, and step out of societies idea of architecture. They both were from completely different periods in history and completely different societies, but they both were able to break rules and change architecture for the future. Their reflections on their surroundings influenced them to react differently in their architecture.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Road Trip

Roots: Thomas Jefferson took root in Virginia, but designed his house using French ideas. He stepped away from American Colonial designs and took ideas from France for the entire house design. He originally designed, built, then after his trip to France, he redesigned and rebuilt. He wanted his home to be different, which is why he used a dome structure, skylights, and dumbwaiters for serving as well as for the clock in the main entrance. Another related development, with roots in the imagination of the British Archigramists and Japanese Metabolists in the early 1960s, was the mega structures of the second half of the twentieth century, huge buildings encompassing many connected, functionally related activities, often made possible by the use of a repetitive, large-scale structural system (Roth 577).Congruence: Frank Lloyd Wright built Falling Water in congruence with nature by using natural materials, such as: concrete and steel. He also built Falling Water with the idea of spending time outdoors for the Kaufmanns. The Kaufmanns originally wanted the house to be built facing the waterfall, but Wright wanted to build the house over the waterfall. His idea of building the house over the water put the house in congruence with nature by making it part of the mountain and overlooking the water.
Concept: Jefferson and Wright began with two different concepts and built two houses that were completely different for their times. Jefferson wanted his home to reflect nature, but also wanted to establish French ideas in his design. Wright also designed with a modern concept, but also wanted to encourage the Kaufmanns to spend as much time outdoors as possible with verandas outside of each room. Architecture is the art in which we walk, the art that envelops us (Roth 47). Frank Lloyd Wright believed space was the essence of architecture and discovered that the same idea had been expressed centuries earlier by Lao-tzu, and paraphrased in 1906 by Okakura Kakuzo in The Book of Tea (Roth 47). The reality of architecture lay not in the solid elements that seem to make it, but in the space defined by those elements: “the reality of a room, for instance, was to be found in the vacant space enclosed by the roof and walls, not in the roof and walls themselves” (Roth 47).

Jefferson and Wright both used natural materials to build their structures. Jefferson had the resources to make the bricks from Virginia mud and nails on the property, the wood was from the surrounding area as well as the stone materials being quarried on Jefferson’s land. Wright also used natural materials, such as: concrete and steel to build the entire house. This was different from any house structure of the time and shed new light on the use of concrete to build. Since the mid-twentieth century, a number of manufactured materials have permitted exotic construction techniques (Roth 41).

Compression : Release: Jefferson used compression and release with his clocks and serving ideas. He used dumbwaiters from the basement for the clock in the main entrance as well as the clock above the front door. He also came up with new concepts of serving with dumbwaiters behind the fireplace in the dining area to bring wine bottles from the cellar in the basement. Jefferson wanted to keep his servants out of sight of guests, so he used revolving doors and many different dumbwaiters for different purposes. Wright also used compression and release in a different way by using a porous material like concrete, which is now beginning to release into the stream a little each year. The weight of the structure is causing it to fall a little every year, which Wright may not have thought of when designing the structure.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Opus 10

Craft: The craft in building Monticello and Falling Water was seen through the clean lines and difference from other buildings of the times. Thomas Jefferson borrowed ideas for his home design from the French, then designed and redesigned his home to fit the time but also allow for new technology, such as built-ins. Jefferson’s craft was also shown through the self-sufficiency of his plantation. He had the technology available to make Virginia mud bricks, nails, beer, wine, and gardening. Frank L. Wright also used clean lines in the way that he placed the windows along the rooms and by the use specially designed light fixtures and furniture. Wright used natural elements to build this home, such as concrete and steel. This was the first time that concrete had been used to build a house in that time.

Falling Water and Monticello both utilized space. Wright thought that nine foot ceilings were a waste of space, so he shortened the ceilings to the average height, then lowered half of the ceiling to draw the eye to the windows. Jefferson also used new techniques in building, such as connecting nature with indoors. He used his own version of linoleum flooring painted green in the entrance hall, but also painted unnoticeable acorns into the fireplace.
Virtual: Wright and Jefferson created the feeling of being outside by the use of multiple windows in each room of both structures. They both wanted to encourage outdoor activities by using windows and verandas reaching out into nature. The use of windows and glass doors invited the guest to enjoy the nature waiting to be explored.

Private: Jefferson was embarrassed by the use of slaves and servants. He created corridors under the house that kept the kitchen, cellars, and workshops out of sight. He also used dumbwaiters and revolving doors to send food and wine to the dining room for the butler to deliver, rather than having servants wandering in and out of the dining area. Jefferson also took one third of the house for his own private use, which included his office, bedroom, and library. With multiple guests coming and going out of the Jefferson home, he wanted to establish clear places for private family. Wright also established areas for guests and family by using dark hallways that discouraged guests from entering private areas. He also built a separate house just for guests. Falling Water was also more private than Monticello in the way that it was embedded into the woods, rather than sitting on top of a hill.

Jefferson and Wright used the language of the time in their designs that borrowed from other designs. They both used line weights in framing and sharp edges with horizontal and vertical lines. Resources of the time, such as: brick, wood, and clay, were also the language of the time due to how the materials were used in other surrounding structures.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Proximity Hotel

The Proximity hotel was designed with the basis of sustainability, but also wanted to be functional and beautiful. The owner, Dennis Quaintance, wanted an elegant, but environmentally safe hotel, which in turn became the Proximity hotel located in Greensboro, NC. The Proximity Hotel was designed on the basis of sustainability, visual interest, and an impact on surroundings.
The name for the Proximity came from the Proximity Cotton Mill developed by the Cone brothers in 1896 (History). The hotel was designed around the idea of an old factory or mill, such as the Proximity Cotton Mill located down the road from the hotel (Design). Bradshaw Orell, the designer of the hotel, took the idea of an old factory and designed every detail of the building, down to the custom furniture. The unusual design process was grounded on the notion that the process is more important than the outcome (Design). The building’s design and construction followed guidelines of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System, the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings (Sustainable). LEED promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in six key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, indoor environmental quality, and innovation in design (Sustainability).
The Proximity hotel is one of the newest hotels in Greensboro. It was built alongside a polluted stream that was cleaned up and now adds visual interest to the hotel itself. When driving by the Proximity or pulling into the parking lot at night, the viewer is in awe at the magnitude, but also the beauty of the structure. The designers used large windows in each of the rooms to allow for an abundance of natural light to flow in, but also for electric light to flow out to illuminate the structure at night. The hotel’s design and outward appearance adds a new flare to hotels of Greensboro that you may not see elsewhere in the city.
The Proximity hotel is a leader in green and sustainable building for Greensboro, but also for the world. The sustainable practices used can influence how hotels and other structures are built in the future. The use of solar panels to heat water, natural light, recycled air from outside used in air conditioning, and a green, vegetated rooftop above the restaurant are some of the many ways that the hotel has encouraged sustainability (Sustainability). Hotels being built in the future will begin to look into sustainable practices and will begin to build with those in mind.
The Proximity Hotel was designed on the basis of sustainability, visual interest, and an impact on surroundings. This hotel is a leader in sustainability for Greensboro, but also for the world. The ideas that this hotel came up with to allow for a sustainable hotel will be used in the future as the world is going green and thinking more about how construction affects our environment.


Wednesday, April 1, 2009


Rotation: Rotation can be the essential to a design. Being able to take a project and spin it around to compose a new idea that may have never been considered before. Many of the Greek and Roman designers sought to showcase the façade of their building designs, but the Renaissance and Gothic architects brought a whole new concept of circling around a space and absorbing all aspects. Cathedrals were built inside and out to be enjoyed, but also for the viewer to be able to revolve and evolve in the space while absorbing the massive beauty.

Movement: A piece of architecture that seems as if it is flowing and all parts are working together to seem as though they are moving together allows for the viewer to be transfixed by the piece. The Trevi fountain by Bernini was carved to look as if it flows and moves like water. The statue in the center with the horses and men on either side exemplify the cascading waterfall that the fountain is making along with the placement of rocks that allow for the water to flow freely. The Baldacchino also take the ides of movement and carves it into stone. When looking at the Baldacchino, your eye is moving up and down with spiral, it is as if it is spiraling from the floor. These revolutions are so interconnected that they can be thought of as operating in a circle, each feeding into the next (Roth 439).
Reflection: When you look in a mirror, you see a reflection of yourself. This reflection can either make you happy with yourself or reveal flaws that need to be changed. During the Revolution in Colonial North America, designers took ideas from previous architecture and came with their own rendition of how the design should be. Versatility in planning to accommodate social events was the motivating force for this change (Blakemore 250). The assembly as noted previously, involved activities that took place simultaneously in different rooms, thus requiring a circuit of rooms (Blakemore 250). In the Parson Capen House, the designer used the idea of a “hall and parlor plan,” which distinguished the places for family and the places for guests. Much like the Roman houses, which distinguished the hall for servants to do work and the rest of the house for family or guest enjoyment. Thomas Jefferson also reflected on past ideas, like the Pantheon when designing his home, the Monticello. The façade looks much like the Pantheon, while the house is still separated into servant’s and living quarters. The White House also borrowed upon the Roman idea of columns and dome structures.
The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.Source: Every idea or concept has a source of inspiration and influence. No great architect or designer began building from nothing, they all had ideas flowing either from seeing another design or from taking pieces and parts of their favorite designs, then pasting them together to form one solid idea. Designers of the Revolution in America took ideas from the Renaissance and Gothic architecture, then applied it to their designs.Illumination: Light and depth are used in many designs to illuminate a structure to enhance the visual aspects or to give dimensionality. Light enhances the mood that is set in the space or structure. The landscape of a structure can illuminate the space by adding dimension or extension of the space. A complete union of the landscape with the residence is sought (Blakemore 250). The landscape became even more important than it had been in the Baroque period, during which the landscape was conceived as a continuation of the mansion’s classical rule (Blakemore 250). The simple landscape of the Villa Giulia illuminates the building façade without taking away from the architectural aspects of the structure.

Summary: A structure needs a source of inspiration, then the design evolves so that there is movement in the structure and interior requires rotation in order for the viewer to capture and reflect on the essence of the design. Illumination can also be added by use of landscape or design techniques.