Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
The conclusory focus in Patrick's class has been on how the history of architecture leads to the current architecture of today comprised of "crap in the suburbs." In regards to community we see how the "mcmansion" neighborhoods have an implication to a close-nit community. However the design of these houses contradicts the language of a community. Neighborly contact is restrained when the true primary entrance to a house is through a closed off garage. The cramped-in urban planning of the houses creates an uncomfortable proximity that compromises privacy.
How can we be good stewards to the planet. It seems that with our current mass production building practices we are constantly building for the "here and now" not for the future. I've been inside and on top of many of the Mcmansion houses discussed in class, as my father is a residential roofing contractor. Every house in these neighborhoods has the same crappy brown shingles, crappy ventilation (or no ventillation) and often times vynl or masonite sided chimneys that begin to leak a few years after the house is built. From the outside the houses have a large, wide exterior but in reality the houses are very shallow with very small living rooms and kitchens. The yard and grass treatment is often just grass seed placed on top of the red dirt brought up during the construction. (On to Innovation) We see that innovation has been halted for cheapness in building, unless the innovation is in finding and manufacturing cheaper materials. The constant manufacture of cheaper materials and demand for cheap materials does not sustain or create demand for innovation. R&D for innovation is costly, but later on the cost is much less than what we are paying today for the "crap in the suburbs." An example of this halt to innovation can be found in the recent gas crisis in which gas was over $4 a gallon. This type of scare led the demand for electric cars and more sustainable technology to blossom. Now that gas has gone back down to the reasonable norm Americans are used to, the demand for these technologies has declined. We need the $4 gas scare to continue in order for the USA and the rest of the world to put its resources into more sustainable technologies.
Our final studio project is on designing a "sacred space" for the grad students. We have been encouraged to create furniture/elements that are built into our spaces and relate to our concepts rather than selecting furniture to place into our spaces. In my space there is no furniture, but fragmented forms that relate to my concept. The space is very open with planar forms that converge and separate like tectonic plates creating light in the places they split and break.