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.


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