Friday, February 27, 2009

Group Analysis: Cathedrals

A cathedral comparison done by Kathy Blair, Kristin Sylvia, and I with Cologne Cathedral in Germany verses Salisbury Cathedral [England], Duomo Cathedral [Italy], and Amiens Cathedral [France] for Design history and theory.

Here is what I wrote to contribute to the group:
In learning about Cologne cathedral and other associated cathedrals, physical properties of these ‘dark age’ structures can give way to details such as the time they were constructed and the reasoning of the designer’s and user’s construction. Cologne cathedral in Germany was a traditionally built structure with the common crossing of vaults and arches, that create massive light elements, done in mostly right angles in composition while the Italian cathedral of Duomo in Florence tends to focus more on a central basis of creating light within the composition with the help of a centralized dome that is unique and closest to is precedent, the Pantheon’s oculus dome built by the Romans many years before. When discussing the elements of the Salisbury cathedral in England and the Cologne, there are sharp contrasts in composition of the space’s layout. While the crossings are similar in the detail of both interior naves and crossing groin vaults, Salisbury Cathedral is more linear in it’s construction composition with protruding elements balanced on its sides while Cologne Cathedral has a more curved affect because of the radiating chapels that appear on the back façade. When looking to find a more similar comparison for the Cologne in Germany, the Amiens cathedral in Amiens, France is almost identical in composition and crossing with its structural elements of vaults, radiating chapels, and towers. Flying buttresses hold up both sides as the vaulted ceilings are built to be taller and taller to reach up towards heavens, leading one to believe they were built around the same time period. The only contrasting detail to these two cathedrals is the fact that Cologne is slightly larger in crossings and overall plan while Amiens is narrower in crossing with a single distinguishing longer radiating chapel aligned with the central axis of the church.

Through our analysis of the Cathedrals from all around europe in the Gothic era of architecture, I learned that each church is unique in construction and design. In the Italian cathedrals the design on the outside was more geometric in shape rather then the amorphous yet ornate designs or a cathedral in France. Light plays a huge part in the awe factor to the cathedral and the composition of a church. Each also carried a symbol to the people worshiping there as to what exactly they were praying or preaching for, the cathedrals were a symbol of hope and the quest to build heavenward in the world of religious design.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

3x3 Details MHRA

Reference picture that explains the feature in the building I was drawing details for.

I made two attempts at creating colored details in the detailed pictures of my building MHRA: one with watercolor in one color [blue] in different saturations to create light and dark and one in marker [Warm Grey].

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


The affect a building has on a person, place, or thing is known as presence. If a structure is built to be massive compared to a person on a smaller scale then the building seems intimidating in presence. A best example of this first time this was realized is with the Giza pyramids in Egypt, the Pharaohs wanted everyone to know the might of their accomplishments and therefore build colossal structures for their own afterlife that would still hold that same captivating and awe inspiring presence against the test of time. “In terms of furniture display, while the Greeks were concerned with refining types where form and proportion were of major import, the Romans focused on ostentatious display, often through extravagant ornamentation.” [Blakemore 46] Romans used the affects of presence in a more ornate and extravagant way through the elaborate decoration on their buildings, furniture, and the column orders used like the ionic and Corinthian column orders were utilized as more a decorative element to help tell a building’s story then a support element, an example of this being the Maison Carrée in Nîmes, France.

Presence can also be referred to when talking about the assignment of Suzanne's class where we had to emulate an artist's style of drawing. Using my own drawing of the MHRA building interior the presence of the artist's style was shown rather then that of my own.

A precedent is similar to a prototype of something, it is the precursor or beginning idea that influences the structure and design of a more current or modern structures or items. Greek and Roman cultures are the source of this influence of precedent in most all of the structures that are around today because they are the basis of structure and design that we use today. For example the MHRA building still houses design elements like the column in it's own design to achieve a certain affect, though the column cannot quite be distinguished between a Doric or Ionic it is still a precedent from ancient times. "After Constantine, however, this emphasis of Roman life on the here and now was gradually replaced with a different concern for the hereafter through the influence of a new religion that reshaped the way Romans began to think about the world and themselves." [Roth 275] Though the precedent of Roman and Greece was slowly more influenced by religion after the time of early Christian and the Byzantine the themes and style of Roman architecture still existed within the new churches constructed: arches, vaults, and columns still existed as an important part of architecture in the changing world. The drawings done in another artist's style can also be identified as a precedent in that the inspiration drawings influenced our own drawing style in order to achieve a desired effect.

Moments in a piece of architecture or artwork are visual ideas present in a design that make the structure successful or make the structure stand out or just give the moment meaning like the break room in the MHRA building that provides a moment of relaxation for people. "Outside, preceding the narthex, a large atrium forecourt ringed with colonnades was added where the unbaptized withdrew during the Mass of the faithful. At Saint Peter's entrance to the atrium was through an imposing propylon or gate." [Roth 282] The mere description of this basilica overflows with visual images of moments that give the places in the church symbolism. Moments like the imposing gate and the colonnaded atrium make the structure visually successful in the feelings the basilica was to convey. Outside of the world of architecture, creating our black and white original models in studio, it was assigned to create thumbnails of the model that illustrated the moments present in the structure. For example, the many curling white tendrils of paper and the triangular cut outs are considered moments because they help to illustrate the concepts from class like contrast of colors and shapes and duality of dark and light that are present in the story.

Duality is when something behaves in two different ways or has two parts or meanings to it. We see this occurrence appear a lot in architectural spaces in current times with a living room in someone's house and that of history with the amphitheater in Athens. By the term of duality, application can be to something physical like a convention center with two or more different uses for a space to something symbolic like a place for bathing and a place to socialize in Rome with the Baths of the Diocletian."The ceiling plane in the hall was the most prominent focal point of this space and when it was, in addition, the most decorative of the open trusses, the amount of attention it commanded was intensified." [Blakemore 73] Even something as basic as a truss in a piece of architecture in the middle ages could be defined by the vocabulary of duality, it provided a focal point and strength to the structure while also becoming a decorative piece to be admired by visitors. When talking about the passageway project, my creation had duality as well because it could be described by two words, hierarchy and contrast because of the contrasting shapes and colors along with the swirls in the background and triangles popping out in the foreground.

A common unit of measurement for an object or piece of architecture when helping to describe the scale of something is considered a metric. The scale of something like a metric is very important in that it helps produce a picture to someone as to just how massive or minuscule something is. In talking about the Baths of the Diocletian metric can be used as a way of thinking about a certain building system and how they show dualities. The Baths are huge in scale compared to a scaled person and in order to better understand this a unit of a metric or metric system would be needed to understand proportion and the reason for it. “As functional and social needs shifted over the course of the Middle Ages, So did the placement and measurements of the structures.” [Blakemore 71] Metrics are not always set in stone, they can always change depending upon new needs of a structure as described by Blakemore about the middle ages, the same types of measurements and structures cannot always just exist as they once did if the needs and commonality changes over time, sometimes things must change in order to sustain. Another example relating to metric and even presence as well is the Church of San Vital in Rovena, Italy, its unbelievably high ceilings caused by the valted structures and large windows make one to feel like they have stepped into a powerful and heavenly place of worship because of the metric scale causing this implication.

All these words are 'voices' for the structure we have covered, metric being the voice of translation when describing meaning and use. Precedent the voice of the past to knowledge of why things are built the way they are and what has presence in buildings that exist now along with how they make a person experiencing the space feel. Moments in a structure can help to create dualities in meaning and function depending on how a space is viewed and what is successful.

Pat's Axonimetric Drawings

Plan Oblique View

Isometric View

Elevation Oblique View

Photo merge in Photoshop was being uncooperative today so I only have the furniture piece itself and alittle bit of the grid. I will try and fix this alittle later so that the entire picture may be displayed.

Thumbnails with Style!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

::Precedent Project::

Casa Batlló

For the precedent analysis project I chose to do the unusual and intricate building called Casa Batlló, a structure designed by Antoni Gaudí and constructed from 1905 to 1907 in Barcelona, Spain. I took interest in this piece of architecture mostly for its air of fantasy, extraordinary curving facade incorporated with engaged and decorative columns, and inspiring brilliantly colored mosaic walls throughout the building made simply to be categorized as an apartment building. This building contains the elements of architecture: commodity because it houses people like it is built to and firmness because it is still standing through time and shows no signs of wear. But the last element that this building directly epitomizes is the element of delight, for it is pleasing to the eyes from each and ever angle.

I think I can compare and contrast many aspects of this building from things I have learned in Design History and Theory, things like as mentioned above, elements of architecture: commodity, firmness, and delight; and also ideals of elements and designs from Greek and Roman times like vaulted elements, hearth of the building, courtyards, and pictorial mosaics. in my eyes Gaudí's Casa Batlló is one of the inspiring marvels of the 20th century.

The Story of Architecture by Jonathan Glancey

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Parts : Whole

A source is the origin of information, when trying to find things out about a piece of architecture or other important information from some sort of authentic documentation. The Romans, the preceding civilization to the Greeks, used the Greek architecture as a source of reference for their own buildings. Instead of using their architecture for commodity and firmness like the Greeks did, the Romans used it as more of a delight factor to their building forms, for example, the Theater of Marcellus in Rome. "The outer curved wall was opened up by the super-imposed arcades of travertine faced with engaged orders -- unfluted Doric at the lower level and Ionic on the second level..."[Roth 265] Each level of arches is adorned with two of the three orders of columns: Doric and Ionic, these columns are engaged and used for stability reasons. An opposite example of this would be the Colosseum in Rome where the columns are sliced columns or pilaster columns that are used for decoration of the building. Though imitation is the highest form of flattery, I think that maybe the Romans were actually more intimidated by the Greek style and worked hard to master it as their own to show they could be just as good as the previous culture’s achievements. "Classical Greek and Roman architecture has had and astounding influence on both structurally and decoratively in subsequent periods, especially beginning with Renaissance Italy." [Blakemore 28] Just as Greece influenced Rome, later periods there after and even now are still being influenced by past architecture and design.

When drawing from life with scale figures and interiors, a source of reference is always useful tool to make your drawings as realistic as possible and as detailed as possible. For example, when working on scale figures with thumbnails, the MHRA building on campus, the people currently in classes and the building itself are a source of reference to draw from rather then to memorize the space and try to draw it again later. Photographs can also be good reference but they do not compare with real life drawing when it comes to detail.

Archetype can symbol or meaning of something represented by something else entirely different usually. Archetypes can be represented not only by objects, but colors and shapes as well. When designing the fairytale artifact from Studio a couple weeks back, I took archetypal story colors into consideration to make my object stronger and more meaningful. The two colors I used were blue for loyalty and wisdom in the story and red for courage and sacrifice that was important to the story. In Design History and Theory the Colosseum in Rome, or amphitheater as it is also called, is an archetype in the whole fact that it was constructed as a way to entertain the masses of Rome to divert them from the true troubles that the city may be facing at the time weather it be economic or political. A “bread & circuses” technique that keeps the people happy even in times of hardship with performances and fights between man and beast. This was not only an occurrence in Rome, it was adopted from the Greeks who also built structures like the amphitheater, the theaters the Greeks constructed where more incorporated into the land rather then built against the grain of the land itself. "...the Pantheon is, as David Watkin has put it,'the symbol and the consequence of an immutable union between the god, nature, man, and the state.'" [Roth 259] Other buildings other than the Colosseum were considered symbols to the Greeks and Romans, the Pantheon was a symbol of the accomplishment of man, the gods that guided them, and the triumph over nature in the eyes of the Romans. An ideal brought to life by Greek culture is the archetype of the column orders. It is thought that the Doric order column represents female because it is a larger column and is thought to represent matronly strength while the highly decorated Ionic order column is thought to represent male. The last major column identification is the category of the Corinthian column, which is a combination of the Doric and Ionic columns with even more ornate decoration along the capital. The Corinthian column is also an example of something known as a hybrid, which is a combination of two or more currently existing objects or elements to create something new with similar elements and visuals as the elements that created it. In studio, a combination of the black and white thumbnails and the theme of 'pathways' helped to create a cohesive project in the form of a hybrid of ideas.

The prototype is known as the precursor for an object or building existing now or that had once existed. Greek, Egyptian, and Roman architecture and style is a highly used precedent even in today’s architecture and design. Their buildings are the basic building blocks of our own because these cultures were the ones that invented elements of architecture like commodity, firmness, and delight. In Greece, the Temple of Hera i & ii along with the temple of Athena in Paestum constituted as the precedent to the all important standing acropolis in Athens. These structures were built first and helped the Greeks to achieve an ideal structure to be used to glorify their gods and goddesses.

A following of people or objects that follows an important element or person is known as an entourage. The many people in the MHRA building I observed when creating thumbnails in Suzanne's drawing class formed an entourage with the interior space accompained making for an interesting arrangement of things to draw. On the infamous Greek acropolis of Athens, the buildings upon it could be considered and entourage to the all-important Parthenon that is a temple attributed to the goddess over the Greek city Athena. The Parthenon being the most important element and building in Greek belief and society and the other buildings like the Erectheon, the theater, and the Athena-Nike temple, while still important, a mere entourage centered around the center of the acropolis. These buildings were built after the Parthenon and accentuate its meaning and the story behind it, for example Athena-Nike and how it is the supposed watch temple of the messenger to Athena.

The term hierarchy is a series of groupings of people or things within a system that can be on physical elements or values. On the acropolis of Athens in Greece a hierarchy is established based on importance of buildings arranged on this important uprising landmass. The Parthenon being in the central area of the plaza because of its importances with the belief in the city's protector and founder, Athena, all the other buildings on the plaza face this important building. Hierarchy is also see established in class between the three big cultural societies: Egypt, Greece, and Rome. "Treatment of floors ranged from the simply utilitarian to decorative. Compacted earth floors were used by families of all economic levels, but the wealthier homeowners of the classical period often used plaster, painting, or mosaics."[Blakemore 34] The higher class you were, the more ornate your home was. Mosaics on walls and floors and furniture of marble and imported wood informed others of high status while stone walls and dirt floors just portrayed the commodity and firmness needed to keep the structure together rather then the delight of the rich. "Egyptian society was highly stratified. At the top of the hierarchal scale was the pharaoh, or king, whose powers were divine and who represented god on earth. Along with the king, princes and those who could trace their origins to royal family wielded political power at this level. [Blakemore 3]Hierarchy was also measured from royalty to the peasants in Egypt, same with later in Greece and Rome with their emperors and the common folk. If you were born into the higher class of a royal family you automatically got the high status that came with it.

is a description of a grouping of a vertical element of architecture known as a column, there are three main types of orders when it comes to columns: Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian columns. This order of columns was first an idea in the time of ancient Egypt, starting with the basic Doric style used in temples and tombs, and then was modified and perfected by the Greeks and Romans as strength and decoration for many of their buildings and temples to the gods. The first in the order, and more basic and firm in design, is the Doric column. This column though basic in design emphasizes more of the theme of strength and stability and the commodity to hold up lintels or anything else it was designed to hold. A later modification to the basic column and next in the order is the Ionic column, a more ornate and tall column that could still hold its weight and create a sense of delight when gazed upon. Its thin vertical property and the ornate scrolls that adorn the capital can easily identify this column.

All in all, the five words are inter-related, when talking about column order it can relate to hierarchy in relation to how ornate a column is decorated on a building, order can also be used in a more literal sense where going from highest to lowest when it comes to the class scale that can be described by hierarchy. Entourage describes the interaction of space and people and how they are affected by the hierarchy and order depending on class. Sources are the basic theme because every culture borrows or is influenced by another's ideals or precedents like the use of the ordered columns as a more decorative sense rather then a structural one. Though sources are used they are interpreted in different ways through archetypes and can create hybrids of these ideals by combining one or more.

History of Interior Design and Furniture By Roth
Understanding Architecture
By Blakemore
Drawings and Photographs
By myself

Thumbnail Inspiriation

Chad Moor, Bloodgood Architects, Inc. from the Designing and Drawing with Confidence.

A participant at ML Graphic Workshop from the Designing and Drawing with Confidence.

John Yancey, ML Graphic from the Designing and Drawing with Confidence.

Jose Louro from Urban Sketchers website.

James Hobbs from Urban Sketchers Website

Monday, February 16, 2009

12 MHRA Detailed Thumbnails

Our group had the MHRA building, the 3"x3" thumbnails above are of the second floor of the building and the 3"x3" thumbnails below are of the first floor, third floor, and outside of the building.

Pat's Workspace/Table/Chair Elevations & Sections

The next part in the drafting of Pat's Workspace/Table/Chair models. Done in 1":1' scale drawings with dimensions of the form and a scale model to show the scale of the piece of furniture.

Sections of cuts in the drawing to show more information are also done in 1":1' scale, darker sections are identified as the places where the section cut begins.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

2D Black and White

It started out as 25 thumbnails abstracted of my previous black and white 3D representation of my sculpture from my fairytale, The White Snake. Done in permanent marker, pen and ink, and a splash of watercolor. I chose red and blue because they were the archetypal colors I used previously in my fairytale for my artifact. Blue meaning wisdom and loyalty and red meaning courage and sacrifice.

And then ended with choosing 5 thumbnails to be drawn at a 5"x5" scale. Done in permanent marker and pen and ink.

3D Black and White

The first iteration and test model of my 3D black and white creation.
The directions were to construct a black and white 3D sculpture/representation of either our fairytale or of a creation story used in our wall vignettes using a 8"x8" black plane, a 8"x8" white plane, and an uncut linear element of our choosing. I chose to use my fairytale because I knew the details better and because I felt there was more to work with.

I chose to craft a pyramid out of black illustration board, white bond paper, and a left over skewer painted to match the black paper. I chose to represent to perils and triumphs of my fairytale along with the lights and darks. The dark jagged and sharp shapes the black paper takes represent the perils of the story and darkness that tries to cage in the light and quell the good things in the fairytale while the white curly tendrils represent the light and the good things that happen through the story. The white tendrils weave in and out of the jagged triangular cut outs to show that though there is darkness, there is still light and good things going on and one side of the pyramid is exploding outward allowing the 'light' to b unrestrained to represent the fact that good triumphs in the end of the fairytale. The linear element excentuates the exploding light by directing your eye with the contrasting light white color rather then just providing structure to the product like the first iteration did.

Also I chose to have the light exploding out the side rather then the top of the form because I thought it created a stronger effect and emotion. Also it made it look less like a volcano exploding and more like a 3D piece that told a story.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Opus #3

Scale is a measurement of an object or drawing that interprets and makes sense of something to the person reading it. Scale can be used to help understand and determine how big or small an object or person may be in space compared to other objects or structures. When designing a wall to understand the construction of the wood frame a 1":1' scale was used to build a model of the real wall face in order to get a better understanding of the construction without actually building a real wall. Full scale size plays a big part in Design History and Theory in making something noticeable or for something to stand out like with the Pyramids of Giza and the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut. To give a general idea of just how big a scale these pyramids are Roth states, “The pyramids are virtual mountains, at the time the largest buildings in the world, hauled block by block from the Nile. The base of Khufu’s pyramid covers just over 13 acres (5.3 hectares); it is big enough to contain the plans of the cathedrals of Florence and Milan, the basilica of St. Peter in Rome, as well as St. Paul’s and Westminster Abby in London, and still have room left over.” (Roth 197) The scale of the Pyramids can literally swallow many of the other pieces of architecture created long after, so the scale compared to a human even is almost unimaginable. The reason for this extreme scale is that the Pharaohs wanted people to know the superiority of the pyramids even after they were long gone, building a pyramid was a huge accomplishment and took a vast amount of labor. So essentially the bigger the structure, the more memorable accomplish it would become. "The enormous scale of the monuments was due to the nature of the material and the methods of excavating the stone blocks, transporting them, and lifting the blocks into position." (Blakemore 2) Blakemore suggests that the reason for the extreme scale may also be the materials available to the Egyptians when constructing these massive structures. I think this might have been an attributing factor, but I also theorize from what Roth said and what was in class that it may also have been used to establish a form of hierarchy to the people in Egypt and to other people in the world to portray Egypt's thriving society.

Aside from the extreme scales of people and architecture in Egypt, interiors and the people that interact with them can be more of a realistic scale. In the watercolor vignette above the scale of people and their surroundings in and with architecture give a sense of scale and understanding to a space in everyday life with figures.

The collaboration of items or parts in design that makes sense to a person and design wise can only be best described as unity. Unity can be portrayed with shapes, color, & format of design. Unity of colors in a simple sketch vignette can create unity throughout a piece of artwork that can help to lead your eye around the page and keep interest of the observer like with the reoccurring orange color in the vignette above that moves from the walls to the seating in the restaurant portrayed. Unity can be interpreted as a united group of people as well, like with the Greeks in History and Theory of Design. " The agricultural economy of the Greeks was based on small farms individually owned and operated, and both this economy and the rugged landscape prevented consolidation of the many separate Greek city-states into a single centralized nation. None the less, the Greeks shared a common religion and a rich subtle language that set them apart..." (Roth 217) Before the people of Greece, there were various greek speaking city-states that could not come together into one nation. But with the combined ideas of the similar Greek city-states similar ideas would go for the perfect ideal in which Greeks attempted to achieve through their architecture with the Megarons and later the temples to gods like the Parthenon.

A cut view that helps a person to understand information better from a view that is not normally seen unless the object is cut in half is called a section. In drafting during the drawings on Pat’s Chair/Table/Workspace section drawings were done so that information could better be interpreted as to what the piece of furniture looked like. If there was a hidden support not normally seen from the elevation views or the plan views of the drawing the reader of the drawing would be able to better understand the construction of the piece of furniture. For example, in my section of Pat's furniture piece there are horizontal and vertical supports in sections of my desk/table that can be seen better from a section view. Without the section this would not have been communicated. Sections are present in the book History of Interior Design and Furniture in the form of architectural sections to help the reader get a better understanding of the space that had existed at one time in ancient Egypt and ancient Greece, not just the outside layer but the inner parts of architecture and how rooms and such where structured.

Boundaries are defining lines that can dictate the beginning and end of something in architecture or in a piece of artwork even. In a watercolor vignette, boundaries aside from that on the paper are unclear. The idea is to let the color fade off into the white of the page and give the illusion of a boundary. Boundaries were apart of Greek ideal and architecture as well. "Running around the building [Knossos Palace] was a sophisticated plumbing and drainage system. In places, the palace walls were four and five stories high in a series of setbacks around light courts and stairwells." (Roth 217) Boundaries can also be physical as referenced from the Knossos Palace, walls can be boundaries to keep things in, keep people out, and even mark territory as the Greeks did. "The Megaron consisted of an entry porch formed by projecting walls framing two columns, a vestibule, and the throne room, nearly square, with its roof carried by four columns (virtually the same arrangement was found at Mycenaean and Pylos)." (Roth 218) Another example of boundaries being used are shown in the planning and building of the Megaron, the precedent to the temples. The walls created on the structure are boundaries to those who are not priests to the building out of the sacred structure since Megarons and later temples where considered to be used for religious purposes.

Vignettes are drawings that have no definite boundaries, when using vignettes with watercolor the idea is to let the color fade out to give the illusion of other objects or boundaries in the composition. Vignettes are not only in watercolor, they can be done in mediums of pen and ink, graphite pencil and colored pencil. Vignettes are considered stories without words, ideals and views of different cultures can be similar to the description of a vignette because there is no definitive ideal, everything and every culture is different and the lines of right and wrong are faded and unclear. Greek ideals and Egyptian ideals are different already because of the different views on what is important such as between what you do in life and what you do in the afterlife.

In short, scale is an important aspect of consideration in architecture and design as well as when drafting so that information can be better interpreted to the person reading the drawing or understanding the structure. As well as scale, sections can also help to give more information to a person to help better the understanding of the structure, of a piece of furniture, or even how a society's way of life was like from those interpretations. Boundaries give limit to structures and property while the unity of colors, scale, and shapes makes a piece of architecture successful with the information given. Vignettes mold into the concept of boundaries, scale, sections, and unity into drawings and architecture via mediums like watercolors or cultures like Egypt and Greece.


History of Interior Design and Furniture
By Roth
Understanding Architecture
By Blakemore