Friday, February 27, 2009

Opus Post 6: Macro to Micro

Porch, Court, Hearth-
The Greek and Roman city, and structure plan was always to have a grand entrance called the porch, a receiving area called the court and a private area known as the hearth. Each of these areas has a distinct relation to the Greek and Roman culture. The porch represents the ideal aesthetic beauty and leads to the court which in a house is the living room and receiving area for guests. In a city the court may be the forums, the theaters, baths and other public spaces. It is the most ornate room so as to show off the family wealth when guests are present. The court represents the classicism that developed. The hearth is the bedroom of a house hold and is private where only the keepers of the household go. In a city this area would be the residential area around the public spaces. 

Composition refers to the way in which a graphic is organized so that it is most effective. In doing our large inspiration pictures I sat in the MHRA and had to think about placement of myself- where I would sit and how much ceiling or floor I would show. When doing our drafting assignments I've found that there are subtle ways to be creative in establishing your own style of certain elements such as north arrows, graphic scales, trademarks and titles. Although some of the listed things such as my graphic scales aren't particularly original I try to have a consistency of where they are placed on each of my drafting assignments. I've created little carbon paper trace cutouts so that I can have the same north arrow as well as trademark in all of my drafting assignments. 

In doing my diagram for the MHRA I focus on the hierarchy of ornateness through the building. I found that as would be expected the court areas are the most ornate while the hearth areas such as the offices are arranged in cramped hallways seeming disconnected from the open, bright and abstract style of the rest of the building. I think it's interesting how the right side offices seem to be more approachable and linked to the ornateness of the rest of the building apart from the front offices.

Impression can refer to the lasting impact or remembrance one may have for a particular design.

Detail-I chose to do my detail on the water fountain in the MHRA. They are actually grouped into twos. I like the button in that it is shaped and "flowy" like water. They also float in the air in that they stick out of the wall rather than being separate water retrieval receptacles. 

Thinking about how to put all of our translation models into one portal/panel composition was not an easy task. Focusing first on the Baths of Caracalla helped us find a foundation for our design. Using the cardboard to our advantage helped us create an impression that our arch is actually eroded. There is also much detail in the stratified texture and its overall composition tells us that it is a porch to to its office.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Foundations Unit Abstraction: The Theatre of Everyday Life

  How is a civilization's daily life reflected through their architecture? From studying structures, furniture and other artifacts we can trace the origins of past civilization's interactions and ideals. 

The Egyptians incorporated nature into all of thier building, as the nile river was one of the main sources for their limestone material for building all structures. Pyramids were made of the local stone materials creating a contrastingly large structure which blended with the sand of the desert. Egyptians furniture turned to animals in linkage to nature. The legs of furniture would often have animal like feet turned forward to show the natural position of the animal. Hieroglyphics often featured animistic figures to represent letters, words and meanings. Because cats were so greatly revered, they were seen as protectors of the people. They were domesticated by the Egyptians in 200 B.C. and were utilized in hunting parties to catch fish among other small game. The sphinx- another cat form is the symbolic protector of the land made by Pharaoh Kafre (4th dynasty).    
Although they eventually created chairs with slanted backs we see that early furniture as well as heiroglyphics of ancient Egypt dictate that straight posture was a large part of their ideal human form. Furniture such as chairs often had very straight backs, head rests placed on beds were like cradles for the head which would maintain straight posture even in sleep. The emphasis on straight posture may be related to cats as they were highly revered for their aristocratic manner conveyed through their prancy straight gait. 
Nature is also part of the very symbolic culture of the ancient Egyptians in that the sun, cats, the nile river among other things had vast importance to religion and the theatre of everyday life. Large ammassments of slaves were gathered in order to take on the pharoah's many building projects. They created pyramids to build up to and point to the sun. They were a physical manefestation of their pathway to afterlife. The nile river was another physical manifestation of the division of life and afterlife. The east side of the nile is life while death or the afterlife resides on the west side. In Someone's tomb all of their belongings such as furniture, slaves as well as pets are buried with them so that they may use them in the afterlife. 

Natural designs were reflected in Greek columns: The volutes of the ionic columns were related to ram or goat horns, Corinthian columns were based on acanthus leaves. Their furniture was also animistic in that the feet were modeled after animal paws. They differed from Egyptian design in that the paws were turned outward rather than in the direction the animal faces. Wealthy people showed hierarchy through the feet of chairs in that the feet were often on top of carved "reeds" to symbolize that the ruler's feet never touch the ground. 
Architecture was based on the symbolism of the the Greek gods as each city was modeled after and based on a the story of a god. Outside of the Erectheion in Athens, Athena was said to have beaten Poseidon in a fight in which Athena won therefore naming Athens after herself. The temple of Athena sits on the acropolis amongst the Erectheion and the Parthenon.  
The People of Greece sought to achieve "arete" meaning "quality and excellence attained from fine testing and refinement" (Roth 215-246) so that they would be immortalized through their accomplishments. This is evident in various facets from their orthogonal planning to their fine lined columns and temple cornices. A focus of democracy began through this: demos meaning the people and cracy meaning governed by the people. Although this truly meant only land owning free white men could vote there was still a great focus on civic interaction through the creation and use of agoras, theaters, and coliseums. 
Stone was the primary material of the Greeks. Forts were created in the defense against the surrounding "barbarians." Stone is also permanent relating to the immortality of arete.

Structures such as theaters were built into hillsides so as to create a natural backdrop to the stage. Natural designs were also in their furniture continuing the tradition of animal forms. 
The Roman person was based on militarism and duty to the state. They refined past people's designs as well as the greeks through their engineering in aqueducts, roads, and arches. The Romans adapted their religion to be like the Greek religion of the Olympian Gods. Like the Greek the Romans had a large emphasis on civic life and like the Greek agora they had forums- spaces outlined by the basilica and other buildings. The emperors of Rome dictated much of the Roman culture through free entertainment and the architecture of theaters, baths, and stadiums. Bathhouses built on top of natural springs or fed from aqueducts cycled into the Roman's daily life. The typical roman would work from sunrise till noon, visit the bathhouse for the rest of the day then return home for a relaxing dinner. 
The Romans continued the use of stone as well as concrete and created new forms of columns such as composite columns- combinations of ionic, corinthian as well as influences from other designs.  

Springer, Ilene (2001,4,1). The Cat In Ancient Egypt. Retrieved February 28, 2009, from Web site:
Roth, Leland (2007). Understanding Architecture. Westview Press.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Opus Post 5: Voices


From the precedent study on the Baths of Diocletian I did last year in Patrick's class, I learned about how the Roman baths are precedents to the modern/present day health and fitness club. The large size of the baths is also related to the large fitness clubs of present day. A political precedent to the baths can be found in the Egyptian pyramids in that each successive pharaoh would create a larger pyramid just as each successive emperor of Rome (in this case Diocletian) would create a larger bath house (McManus). 


Paula Carr’s presence and her presentation inspired and changed the way I think about design in many ways. From the first structure she showed we saw how something like a beachside snack shack can be turned into something truly site specific- blending in with driftwood, rocks and terrain of the area. I can imagine approaching the structure (“East Beach CafĂ©”) from behind not knowing what to expect and finding that it is much more than a trashy snack shack. In a way its purpose is to have no presence on the beach as it’s low profile and natural architecture allows the natural beauty of the beach to be the focus rather than interrupting it like the typical bright pink snack shacks. Her presentation made me think of how my model shouldn’t just direct someone’s path but direct his or her mood and focus as well. The underground Oklahoma City tunnel project was a good example of designing around a very controlled environment, providing a simple solution to navigation within. I want to take something from that example and adapt it to our current project of creating a portal. There is a great presence of control and definite dos and don’ts regarding our hall space. I feel that if we place anything in the hallway a claustrophobic presence may take over. It almost seems as if rather than creating a physical door size “portal” we should create something that implies direction of space or implies a space so that the portals presence is physically minimal. The designers of that tunnel clearly had this direction in mind in that their project would need to be physically minimal.


In spending so much time in the Moore Humanities building I found that although it is a large building with many large spaces it really has many small environments within creating special and intimate moments for those who inhabit them. Sitting in the main lobby I found that the bench area underneath the stairs is where people love to gather to people watch, read, and even sleep. This little shelter under the stairs provides people who sit there with a view from which they can watch passing people and not feel threatened by outside attention. 

In designing my 3D model walkway/circulation zone I played around a lot with the scale figures I created. Perhaps out of silliness, I created scale samurai sword fighters, which I placed on top of my cantilevering walkway. After looking at them in relation to the other figures I decided I would present the model with the two samurais on top having their own moment while the other figures could be below. The samurais actually provided much strength to my model in that they could have their own private sparring/training/battle or what ever story the viewer may create. I feel like I created a basis through which people can create a story or moment for themselves vicariously through the scale figures. There is also a duality in that there are also people below to not only show a man's relation to the structure's height but to create basis for another moment separate from that of the samurai's. I learned that a lot more than what we think of the project is dependent on the scale figures; scale figures with agency can enhance and provide more visual stimulation and meaning for the project than generic standing figures.  


There is a duality in the Moore Humanities building as discussed above that although it is comprised of many large spaces it has many concentrated areas where people like to gather or study and meditate alone. It is often in these moments that because you are on free time and you don't have to do homework that you are most productive. The lobby of the MHRA seems to pull people into its intimate spaces and encourage this productiveness. It is perhaps that during these moments you feel as if you are on free time and you are not stressed about getting the work done but rather focused on what it is you are doing. 

There is a duality in the respective purposes for why emperors created larger baths as well as in how Pharaohs created successively larger pyramids. Although both civilizations’ emperors would do this to glorify their own power there were other reasons. The pharaohs created their pyramids to glorify themselves before the Gods so that they would be well received. The emperor Diocletian created his large and grand bathhouses to not only glorify himself but to appease the people while the four emperors slowly imploded Rome in a power struggle (McManus, 1). 

In my final 3D model I show a duality in that thin linear pieces "stretch" to imply a larger space. The top piece’s structure curves downward to direct the eye inward and around so that a circulation zone is implied below the structure not just on top.

Design is influenced by the environment it is made for and to be successful it should create moments as well as a presence that complements the environment. It should also complement the environment in its scale relation to natural surroundings just as our own metric system was developed through precedents of natural systems of ten.

McManus, Barbara (2003, July). Roman Baths and Bathing. Retrieved February 21, 2009, from Web site:
Wukitsch, Dean (2004, October). Baths of Diocletian. Retrieved February 21, 2009, from Web site:
Roth, Leland (2007). Understanding Architecture. Westview Press.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Opus Post 4: Parts:Whole

Archetype, Prototype, Hybrid- 
Looking across the room during our 3D model critique on Friday I found that my model's function did not work and it was very underdeveloped. This is because it was a prototype of what it may one day grow from. The idea of  a structure which manipulates light is my archetype, creating the light mechanism and the structure is the prototype, bringing all of those things together to create a cohesive structure is the hybrid.  The Romans also sought to manipulate light in domes such as the pantheon in which a cut out hole in the dome became the primary source of light (Roth 178-277).   

In analyzing my fairy-tale for inspiration I found that there is neither a huge emphasis on dark or light characters, that the characters are often gray. I thought about how I could convey that grayness or mood through my 3D structure. I decided on actual light and its manipulation as my source for grayness. having a mirror bounce light from one platform to another vertical platform creates an image of something which has a softness to the lines as well as an untouchable quality. Conveying the mood through the mirroring of mysterious eye cutouts allows the viewer to see how white and black/good and bad are often blurred together in characters and in architecture. Seeing eyes in a shadow is somewhat ethereal, which can also relate to fairy tales in general in that they are from another world but still almost tangible.

An atmosphere and mood is made through its entourage of objects within. The objects within the space give character as well as a mood created through their interaction with color and lighting. The various shapes and sizes of bottles, shelves, lights etc. provides a liveliness and interaction that would be missing if the composition were only comprised of people and a counter.

The Greek acropolis was a mountain which brought those worthy in society to enter the acropolis to be closer to the gods (Roth 178-277). 

The citadels within Greece and Rome were ordered with three basic parts in mind the porch hearth and court. This Trio of order also extends to subdivisions of the city such as the acropolis and then to houses. The MHRA building on our UNCG campus is ordered much the same way in that there is a grand entrance (porch) leading to a gathering area (court), and then within the more sectioned off parts of the building are the central offices (hearth). 

The Order of three can be found in many facets of architecture. In the way of design there is Archetype, Prototype, and Hybrid. With each step along this tripartite there is a greater hierarchy of development in that styles are refined and the people who inhabit these refined structures are at the top of their society. 

Roth, Leland (2007). Understanding Architecture. Westview Press.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Perspectives and Inspirations

My Drawing (top)
Inspired by:
Artist: James Hobbs
My Drawing (top) inspired by:
Greg Betza

My Drawing inspired by:
Stephen Gardner

My Drawing (top) inspired by:
Adebanji Alade

My Drawing (top) inspired by:
Joao Catarino

When I first started this exercise it was very hard for me to break out of my style. I decided to draw in my style in light pencil and then later with the pen make it more like the inspiration artist. This worked well for the above picture as well as the top picture but not all. Once I became more comfortable with studying the artists I started directly copying their style on site (as best as I could). I liked this experience because it forced me to look through another artists eyes and I think I will continue to develop some of the styles in contrast to mine to create an even better mine!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Build A Stone Wall With Pat

Musical Artist: Til' Tuesday "No More Crying"

Drinking and Drawing

This was from a coffee shop in Winston Salem my father and I went to on the way to visit my uncle. We sat at the small bar area. My father thought I looked kind of stupid sketching people and he kept making little faces. For once I guess it was a case of the parent being embarrassed by the kid rather than the other way around.
This was from Brixx Pizza where Christy Wallace, Rebecca Ladd and myself went for dinner sunday night. I watched these two high school kids. I could tell they were on a date together and were pretty nervous. The guy kept shuffling around moving the silverware and his arms a lot. The girl would slouch up and down then get straight up and run her hands through her hair. It was a lot of fun to watch

My family went to the K&W cafe a few nights ago. We sat in a booth and I looked out to the main floor. All the food there is basically already chewed (for all the old people) and doesn't taste very good. I can see why the place could be called Kanes and Walkers.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Opus Post 3: Diminishing Boundaries

In my developement of Pat's chair I decided to create a scale paper "Pat" 5'-8" tall to sit and model my chair. The paper Pat has helped me in understanding how someone would sit in my chair as well as understanding what the ideal heights and widths are. In my development of the cedar shake walls of my wood frame wall I played around a lot with how big the shakes would be. I decided to vary back and forth between 5.5"-6" in width (which is close to the real sizes) as I wanted to stagger the overlap of shingles as well as their respective widths as well. This irregularity is also seen in current asphalt roofing in that the "shake looking" architectural shingles are generally preferred over standard 3-tab shingles.
Finding a place for our artifacts within our woodframe wall/corner has a lot to do with finding unity between the artifact, the wall and the floor. I decided to place my scale hat underneath a part of the interior shingle siding. In this way the two are unified in their function in that my hat's purpose is conciliatory while the wood shakes are also conciliatory of what is underneath them. The floor is darker as it goes in to emphasize the depth of the corner as well as to direct the eye even more toward the blue hat.
In many of the creation stories that I read, two gods, a group of gods or gods making other gods often ended up creating the world. Instead of picturing gods in the sky I tried to think of other types of "teams" who create and maintain. A system of organs interconnected working to keep the living wall up are much like the different gods who represented different functions. However veins cut and bleed just as the different gods become unruly with each-other, losing sight of their visions for harmonious creation.

The corners of walls we created in having such a small requirement, really made me think about what can happen in the corner of a room. In a way as my shingling developed I thought of it as a gateway, or that the shingles themselves are little gateways. Like the hat they cover something beneath them. Shingles are not like most traditional interior siding in that the whole face of each plane of material is not showing. Something unknown could be underneath each shingle... The section is important in this way in that such a small piece of the room is available so it forces the designer to become very intimate with the corner.
Seeing the final sectional views I made for Pat's chair gave me a different perspective on what the chair would look like without shelves or what it would be like without the chair. 

In researching stone walls I've learned how boundaries are either implied or brazenly made for all to see. The Inca Native Americans of the Andes mountains created walls and other massive monuments to embellish their gilded government. In this way the government officials could force their residents into a "psychological submission" (Ogburn). In our wall projects I chose to allow the shingles to continue past the edge of the two walls to show that the wall continues, as well as to give a subtle edge/boundary to it. This is also much like a vignette in that although the wall ends it is more natural with the material rather than forced to the structure.
Because I've been hit with the "L" word (literal) a few times I decided to take a different approach than I normally would to my 6 Creation/Grimm Tale/Wood Frame Wall vignettes and go totally abstract. In this way I stretched the boundaries of what a wall is. With one of my vignettes I created a beta fish/fighter jet fusion which is firing on a large man's face. Because I read many of the creation stories, I found that a common theme was that often times the world was in perfect harmony until humans came into the fold. Chaos would often ensue after humans came into contact with all living creatures. The human's face is like a boundary to free life and the beta fish will never be the same again. 
During the Minoan and Mycenean periods in Greece 479 BC-338 BC, agoras or civic/market places were formed by the triangular boundaries of long buildings called stoas (Roth 215-246). This "central" area of every city would be the commoner's domain while other areas marked by tall hills such as the Acropolis were reserved for the government and religious officials (Roth 215-246). 

Boundaries of the image are soft and incomplete. A vignette is an example of a composition in which boundaries are implied. On the edge of the paper the artist may choose some type of vertical and linear object to begin the edge. Color can then subtly bleed past those lines. 

In my abstractions I wanted to think about the stories or my thoughts on the stories in relation to modern times as well as modern technology. This would also be another buffer against being called out for being too literal as toilets, and jet planes didn't exist before the implied prehistoric time periods of the stories. Also in focusing on abstractions the interpretation is totally up to the observer and boundaries are diminished (like vignettes) as to what the picture is all about.

Ogburn, D. (2008).Dynamic Display, Propaganda, and the Reinforcement of Provincial Power in the Inca Empire.Archeological Papers of the American Anthropological Association1,
Roth, Leland (2007). Understanding Architecture. Westview Press.