Thursday, December 9, 2010

Point: Explorations

As we concluded the class earlier this week we were asked to evaluate the class, and what we had learned. We were asked to draw comparisons between the various exercises we were given such as the counterpoint and point exercise. It was quickly summed up that those two in particular were used as methods of getting us to evaluate the material we had been presented, and to express our own understanding, and take on it. I appreciate this opportunity. It allows us to engage with the topic, and to grow as designers as well as humans in general, causing us to open our minds, explore the possibilities, and make our own mark on society, while carrying this knowledge of past precedents with us.

I think it's an interesting notion that with as far as we have come with architecture in our current age of modernism we still at this stage continue to produce cookie-cutter style homes for the masses. It is saddening to me to think that with the design minds we've had and still have that this is the case. I hope that the designers that come out of the program at UNCG will take strides to change this; to leave their mark. I know that the instructors lead us with the hopes that, that will happen, with a “no nostalgia” frame of mind and design.

I do however appreciate the structures as we advance; the ingenuity, playfulness, and creative bent. I suppose if it were on every street corner, however, we might lose appreciation for it.

The image I chose with the shapes and colors to me relates to the different styles that we now see next to each other. They do not relate to the one next to them, instead they stand out. This reminds me of the lecture when Patrick was talking about how we see modern structures placed in between structures of the past and they have no congruency, no consideration of the structure next to it, instead it looks as though it has just been stuck there.

The image also delighted my heart simply because it was produced at the Glasgow School of Art and is a reinterpretation of color theory of Wassily Kandinsky. Seeing as we learned about both the school, and also Kandinsky as a designer and artist, I found it fitting.

In turning back to the notes from the beginning of the semester I want to bring things back Vitruvius’ idea of commodity, firmness, and delight.  “In architecture, as in all operative arts, the ends must direct the operation. The end is to build well. Well building hath three conditions: commodity, firmness, and delight.”- Sit Henry Wotton Let me remind the reader that commodity is the function fitting the purpose, firmness is stability, and delight is the experience/culture/location of the structure or design. It is important that we remember these values, and carry them into our designs as we move forward. We cannot forget the past as we proceed into the future. The foundations that we began with still influence our culture and society today. The ground rules were set for a reason. Certainly to be modified, and one’s own interruption to taken from it, but at its core these rules must remain.

I’m reminded of something Patrick said in class "Looking at the world requires you to be in it." He is absolutely correct.  We as designers, and humans (the ones inhabiting the spaces being designed) must be present in our world in order to impact and alter it. Without seeing what is in front of us, and understanding the cultural context we cannot fully embrace our world, and ourselves as a society.

Counterpoint: Machine

Reading Comprehension: Seven

Actual "Sussex" piece.

Electromagnetic Fall

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Reading Comprehension: Six

[1] A common theme of the early twentieth century found in Roth, Harwood, and Massey set the tone for an understanding of styles in architecture and design influenced by fine art. Selecting either Arts + Crafts or Art Nouveau, TRACE the influences of the selected style in more than two nations. In your answer, you should include evidence from the readings and at least two annotated images as support for your analysis of influences.

“Despite its individual manifestations, Art Nouveau design displays some common characteristics. Line, whether curving and sensuous or straight and geometric, is an important principle that designers explore and exploit... Designers reduce traditional and naturalistic forms and motifs to their essence, transforming them and ascribing to them their design intentions in appearance and meaning. Expressions strongly emphasize decoration, particularly surface decoration, which may be linear rather than plastic” (Harwood, p.485).

“To an even greater degree than others before them, Art Nouveau designers see no separation between the fine arts of painting and sculpture and architecture and the decorative arts, such as glass, ceramics, and furniture. They strive for unity in design to create complete expressions, or what they call total works of art” (Harwood, p.485).

While short lived it still managed to dominate the arts in Europe and the United States during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.  Art Nouveau emerged first in France, and moved to Belgium where Victor Horta, Henry van de Velde, and Gustave Serrurier-Bovy were the leading designers. It can also be traced to Scotland (in some parts), Germany with Bauhaus, Austria, Spain with Arte Modern or Modernismo as it was referred to as, and Italy during this time, and later moved to England and the United States. It makes its way through these countries through the widespread exhibitions.  The United Kingdom to some degree, however rejected it, and was only accepted in some parts such as Glaslow with the practitioners Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Herbert McNair, and sister Margaret and Frances MacDonald. The U.S. was also somewhat apprehensive except in places such as Chicago with the Chicago school.  Tiffany glass was born out of this movement with Louis Comfort Tiffany and Tiffany Studios.

(p.34 Massey) Victor Horta, Tassel House

(p.58 Massey) Charles Rennie Mackintosh Library; Glaslow School of Art

“Art Nouveau lays important groundwork for subsequent modern movements in its attempts to throw off the past, its stress in total works of art, and its emphasis upon new technology and contemporary materials” (Harwood, p. 484).

[2] Originating at the Bauhaus and in the work of LeCorbusier, the so-called Modern movement deeply influenced design and architecture of the twentieth century. The great debate raised by this new approach to design involved the presence of the machine in the design process and final products. SPECULATE about the implications of “machines for living” and the famous dictum “less is more” on design today. Use at least one ARTIFACT, SPACE, or BUILDING in your answer, providing a salient image (cited) and annotation to help bolster your argument.

“Turning away from symbolic allusions and national building traditions, the purely pragmatic and utilitarian approach to design was to let functional requirements and structural solutions determine the result” (Roth, p.520).

LeCorbusier argued that “twentieth-century machines possessed the same elegance of form and function” as the Parthenon (Roth, p.530).  He also “extolled the mechanical perfection of the modern airplane, steamship, and automobile as supreme expressions of the beauty of from determined by absolute response to modern function” (Roth, 530).

With the example of the Citrohan house named after the Citroen, a popular French car he “hoped that such houses, using standardized factory architecture components, would be as easy and cheap to build as low-priced automobiles and, similarly, available to everyone” (Roth, p. 530). This did not quite happen, in that it was much more expensive and unattainable by the masses. The point is that it was the hope, the desire for the new design wave to be affordable, somewhat mass-produced, and available to all to be enjoyed. It was not practical. The same can be said for today. We are currently trying to become sustainable and have been for decades. The problem is that it is not yet mainstream affordable. We have certainly made advances and made certain things available to masses, especially with the given tax breaks when using “green” or “eco-friendly” products or renovations to your home or business. We are still living out this ideal of making new innovations available and inspiring.

(Roth p.530) LeCorbusier, Citrohan House

“The ultimate aim of all visual arts is the complete building…Together let us desire, conceive, and create the new structure of the future, which will embrace architecture and sculpture and painting in one unity and which will one day rise toward heaven from the hands of a million workers like the crystal symbol of a new faith” (Roth, p.523).

[3] From the assigned pages in Roth, Harwood, and Massey, SELECT an image that you believe explodes the notion that Modern interiors and objects were black and white. Fully RENDER your own design exploration of that image through color, material, and light and appropriately annotate and cite the image to prove this point. [5 POINTS POSSIBLE]

(Harwood p.604) Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Tugendhat House

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Reflections Summary

Raul Garcia tied many of the elements from the unit together, and in most cases spoke eloquently on the subject but faltered with minor grammatical errors in areas. By drawing many correlations he made the subject matter relatable, and drew better connections.

Jasmine Collins spoke very clearly and distinctly about individual forms of architecture, and related them each to the other. She had excellent transitions, vivid descriptions, and supported her points with rich quotes.

Jenni Ham chose a beautiful image to tie her piece together. She has great usage of cultural context. I have not seen this in other’s writings, she brings a new level of understanding to the material/subject matter. I appreciate the difference in her writing as compared to other's.

Through the exploration of each post I gained better understanding of the unit, or was reminded of information that I had forgotten. This exercise of critiquing our peers work was helpful in bringing about different points of view and discussions for us each to gain another perspective and understanding.

Alternatives Summary

 Kacie Leisure draws interesting, well composed links between subject matter and examples of architecture.  The image she chose works well for unit taking from previous technology/design and revolutionizing it, changing it to suit cultural needs.

Kathernine McCain has excellent points and observations. She makes connections across the entire semester bringing things together and more tangible.

Weston Willard point is eloquently written. He provided excellent examples and correlations. I didn’t fully feel the same way about the image chosen, however. But over all he broke down different the elements successfully.

Each had a different focus and understanding of the material, but each helped me to piece together elements of the unit, and take on a different perspective. It's interesting to explore the different writing styles, and realize how different the information is processed individually. 

Monday, November 8, 2010

Counterpoint: Clock

This counterpoint took place during the reflections unit. I chose the Hall of Mirrors in Versailles. I demonstrated reflection through the use of a mirror also showing materiality of the actual structure. The mirror reflected the symbolism of the sun god and the fact the King Louis thought of himself as the current sun god. He brought elements into Versailles to reflect this with the gilding, the mirrors reflect the windows also reflecting the sun. I implemented that into my 3d model as well. 

Nature- Sun reflecting from windows, and the clouds in the image being reflected.
People- Scale figures walking through space.
Material- Glass/Mirror, flooring
Symbol- Sun God