Thursday, November 12, 2009

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Monday, May 11, 2009

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Explorations: Top 10

Berlin, Germany

Sony Center in Berlin
Having had a chance to visit the Sony Center a few years ago, it is honestly an amazing place. All of these buildings are arranged in a way to create a plaza in between them that is roofed by this steel and cloth structure.

Philip Johnson's Kreeger Museum
The former residents of the Kreeger Museum are distant relatives of mine and, upon finding out that Philip Johnson was the architect, I became more interested in not only this building but his other work as well.

National Museum of the Marine Corps in Quantico, VA

Every time I drive home from school I pass this building. Set back in a small forest, I am able to see the top of the building sticking out above the trees and it never fails to catch my eye.

Old Jerusalem

Modern Apartment building lobby in Israel

Holocaust Memorial in Berlin, Germany

Tuesday, May 5, 2009



A community is a particular place or area considered together with its inhabitants. Botta, for example, suggested, “there was a need for images, for emotion in architecture, a need for architecture to speak once again to people” (ROTH 587). His idea of good architecture was structures that integrated the idea of community into their design. Contrastingly, Meier decided not to incorporate the idea of community into his designs as he “shifted radically to a quite different theoretical base…in his first independent buildings he developed a purely formal rectilinear architecture, totally devoid, he insisted, of any connection to outside systems of reference” (ROTH 571).

This space is one that welcomes community or social events. This 'celebration' space is a good example of how a sense of community can be brought inside a building.


A steward is an appointed official who supervises arrangements and keeps order at an institution, club, or event. Robert Stern was able to take the difficult landscape the University of Virginia in Charlottesville and create elevated dining rooms. Stern “used brick arches and white Roman Tuscan Doric columns in an innovative way sympathetic to Jefferson’s nearby original campus buildings” (ROTH 594). The reason behind the usage of Roman Tuscan Doric columns was to distill a sense of order and arrangement to the building and to the surrounding campus; much like the job of a steward.

This floor plan shows the technicalities and order to a specific space. It is the drawing referred to to keep everything in order, much like a steward.


Authenticity is something that is of undisputed origin – something that is genuine. An authentic object or design is usually one that is the first of its kind and serves somewhat as a prototype for future ideas. Allan Greenberg utilized an authentic classical style when creating the diplomatic reception rooms at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. but also “introduced subtle, modern touches” of his own (ROTH 591). The classical style of design is definitely an authentic one that reoccurs and emerges throughout the history of design. Greenberg, however, was able to take a timeless design concept and add some aspects of current design to create a new design idea.

This 'meditation' space utilizes a raised floor with sand around the edges to create a tranquil place for anyone to sit and enjoy the scenery and the interior space.


An innovation is a new method, idea, or product that helps to further the growth of design. During the era of fundamental or essentialist classicism, architects moved towards more abstracted forms, “seeking to reduce buildings to the purest geometrical constructs, in an effort to achieve ‘natural’ essential truths” (ROTH 587). This concept of simplicity in form and structure was a new and innovative design that influenced further explorations of simplistic architecture.

Pulling from my last project, "Light Habitat," I used an innovative design to slope panels outward and upward to help diffuse the strong morning sunlight south side of the building.


All of the words for this week's prompt come together and portray what design should encompass. Authenticity - or the revival of older and classic styles, stewardship - incorporating the idea of structure and rigidity in design concepts, innovation - putting a new twist on an old design, and community - being able to create a sense of togetherness and completeness in a space.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


To transpose something is to cause two or more things to change places with each other. To juxtapose is to place something close together for contrasting effect


‘Literal’ refers to taking something in their usual or most basic sense. ‘Abstract’ refers to existing in thought or as an idea but not having physical or concrete existence. As modernism continued to grow, philosopher Hannah Arendt stated, “Utility established as meaning generates meaninglessness” (ROTH 539). This quote suggests that a building made for a specific utility or purpose loses its true meaning and is therefore meaningless. A building constructed with no set purpose or utility, however, ends up with more meaning than intended upon.


A monologue is a speech by one single person while a dialogue is a conversation between two people. With the advancement of industrial production in the United States, Mies van der Rohe was able to complete his vision of the glass tower and “instead of creating one single, extremely tall shaft, he created two identical towers, each with the classically proportioned bay structure of three by five” (ROTH 537-538). Rather than construct one building that would carry a mere monologue about its own structure, Mies expanded his concept with the resources available to him to create two structures that created a sense of dialogue within the city.


Meditation is the act of calming and focusing ones mind as a method of relaxation. Contrastingly, a celebration is a social event that includes rejoicing. In the midst of modernism, Aalto attempts to define architecture as he states “ Its purpose is still to bring the material world into harmony with human life” (ROTH 547). Human life symbolizes nature or the natural world and illustrates a sense of serenity or meditation while the new idea of materialism is celebrated and still being explored. Bringing these two elements of meditation and celebration together is what creates good architecture.

Not only is the idea of meditation and celebration seen in architecture, but it is also seen in the designs of the interiors as well. Eva Jiricna’s design for Joe’s Café in London “incorporated industrial materials like aluminum, matt-black cladding and tensioned-steel cables to produce a mood of control and understatement which has now been widely emulated” (MASSEY 201). Materiality, in conjunction with the new industrial movement, helps this space capture a sense of meditation and serenity.


Light is a natural form of illumination while a shadow is the dark area created when an object comes in between the rays of light from the sun and the surface or ground. To play with the effect of light, Le Corbusier designed the interior of the Notre-Dame-du-Haute chapel in which, “the thick concrete walls are pierced by small coloured windows to create the dramatic effect of shafts of coloured light falling on the congregation” (MASSEY 152).


This week's opus is all about pairs and how opposites are somewhat similar within context. Two elements can work together in one space to create something completely different, such as light and shadow, monologue and dialogue, and meditation and celebration.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009



To compose something is to form or create something by ordering or arranging the parts to make a whole. During the Modern Movement, one of Adolf Loos’s plans of volumes, or Raumplan, involved “the complex ordering of internal space” (MASSEY 64). By arranging the interior of spaces according to strict order, a sense of completion and entirety is created that helps illustrate the unity of the space. Another example of good composition is Le Corbusier’s ‘Five Points of Architecture’ which includes “pilotis (free-standing structural piers of reinforced concrete),… a free plan,…[unrestricting] supporting walls,… a roof terrace,…[large] windows,…a continuous element of the exterior wall,…and a façade [consisting] of one smooth surface” (MASSEY 79-80).


To speculate is to form a theory about a subject without firm evidence. For example, it is speculated by many that the “exhibition established the Bauhaus’s reputation as the leading force in the creation of a new functional aesthetic” (MASSEY 74). Even though there is no solid proof or evidence to support this statement, the aftermath of how the exhibition and the Bauhaus began to impact history tells us that this is a true statement.


To energize is to give off the sense of vitality and enthusiasm. Walter Gropius, for example, was “convinced of the importance of individual creativity and artistic integrity while supporting a Modernist aesthetic” (MASSEY 66).


To stretch something is to change its shape or to make it longer or wider without tearing or breaking.


A shape is the external form or appearance of something. Another definition for ‘shape’ is something that helps to define an era or concept. “Mass production,” for example, “was now established as the means of manufacturing consumer goods, and Modern Movement theorists were inspired by the concepts of rationalization and standardization” (MASSEY 63). Mass production helped to shape the new industrial society.