Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Voices: [Opus 5]


Presence refers to the state or fact of existing, occurring, or being present in a place or thing. “Civil and religious building forms therefore became both heavy and massive defensive refuges from the uncertainties of everyday life and impressive gateways to a promised better afterlife” (ROTH 301). The presence of war and enemies influenced new design techniques and ideas.

This picture, from France Belleville's blog, wagonized, portrays the scene through pencil and shading techniques.


A precedent is an earlier event or action that is regarded as an example or guide to be considered in subsequent similar circumstances. For example, “wood paneling was introduced in the medieval period for screens,” and was later modified and “more prominently employed in the sixteenth century” (BLAKEMORE, 76).

Common monasteries that were erected in the Middle Ages served as good precedents for design ideas in the near future. “The origin of the parlor,” for instance, “is uncertain, but it is known that early in the Middle Ages these spaces were part of the monastic dwelling” (BLAKEMORE 72).


A particular stage in something’s development or in a course of events. “Built at the top of a steeply sloped, rocky knob in the lower slopes of the French Pyrenees above Prades, it is reached only after an arduous forty-five minute climb on foot. A small monastery, its irregular plan is adjusted to the site” (ROTH 310). The secluded nature of the monastery creates a moment once you have reached the top. After a treacherous climb, the sight in itself creates a moment of solitude.

One of our drawing warm-ups in class the other day was to draw blind contour. Not being able to look at what you think is right on the page forces you to draw only what you see and not what you think you see, creating a visual moment that is different from any other drawings.
“A French chair of the fifteenth century is characterized by verticality, a tracerylike design for the cresting of the back, and the linenfold carved on the panels, both on the back and under the seat” (BLAKEMORE, 82). The duality of designs creates a moment for the chair.


Duality is the idea of two parts, elements, or aspects, coming together to form one idea or thing. In the early middle ages, medieval monasteries “became places of refuge from uncertainty in the outer world and the recipients of gifts of land and buildings from local lords seeking absolution from sin or the assurance of heaven” (ROTH 308)“This entire easterly combination of parts – choir, ambulatory, and radiating chapel – came to be called the chavet in France” (ROTH 318).

The interior of the choir ambulatory in Saint – Denis combines “rib vaults and pointed arches with careful resolution of structural forces…architects were able to achieve unprecedented lightness of structure and to open the walls to large panes of stained glass” (ROTH 331).


The word ‘metric’ refers to a system or standard of measurement. In this week’s set of words, I feel that metric has more to do with the system than with a specific form of measurement. There have been many successful systems throughout history including the Roman Empire, where “the allegiance to a distant central government and a single emperor [is] a system that has prevailed” (ROTH 305). In France, during the eleventh and twelfth centuries, “churches in monasteries set up a network of way stations like a giant fan that directed the faithful toward the Pyrenees” (ROTH 316-317). This system of way stations is one that worked for the French. More literally, scale played a big part in architecture. “The massiveness of Romanesque architecture is well illustrated in the monastic Church of Saint Michael” (ROTH 314).

In our studio projects, a metric scale helps us to envision the moment that our project creates. My focus word for this project was balance and the scale model incorporated into my model shows the relationship between the object and a human being. Without some sort of metric scale, I would not have been able to portray my model and person accurately.


This week's set of words made me think about how people interpret different works. For instance, how a precedent is transformed and incorporated into a project, how their presence is known and seen throughout the piece, the technicalities and system the piece follows, and how those two come together and create a moment for the viewer.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Precedent Analysis

The Reichstag building in Germany was originally constructed between 1884-1894 by Paul Wallot and served as the seat for the federal Government in Berlin. On February 27, 1933, part of the Reichstag building was destroyed by a fire, most likely started by communists. After the war, the building was rebuilt in a simplified form from 1961–1971 by Paul Baumgarten. After the reunification, the building was reconstructed again by Sir Norman Forster who added an accessible dome.

Foster was awarded the Pritzker Prize in 1999 for his work on the building.
The glass dome, serving as the main attraction of the building, is accessible to the public and is definitely a sight to see in person. Having been to the building myself, I can say that firsthand the dome is very unique and astounding to experience.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Parts : Whole [Opus 4]


An archetype is a typical example of a certain person or thing. In our current studio project, I began thinking about what kind of model I wanted to create by putting some of my ideas down on paper. Those original ideas, or the archetype of my final product, included black and white woven together and yarn as my linear object. After being told to think about the relationship between light versus darkness, the first thing I thought of was a sunrise versus a sunset; a sunrise leading towards light and a sunset leading towards darkness.

A prototype is the first model of something from which other forms are developed. This is the first model I made for this project, incorporating the woven black and white planes and blue yarn as my linear object.

A hybrid is something that is made by combining two different elements. These three models are the product of both my archetype and my original prototype. Combining elements from both of those, these three models are the culmination of the two ideas.

Another example of a hybrid is in the Roman order of columns, where "The Composite order combined elements of both the Ionic and Corinthian orders" (Blakemore, 52). Combining elements from both the Ionic and Corinthian orders, the Composite order is created as an order of its own. When I think of archetype:prototype:hybrid, I picture a design process, with the initial ideas being the archetype, the first model being the prototype, and the hybrid being another model that evolves from the prototype and includes elements from both the prototype and the archetype.


From the French word 'entourer,' meaning 'to surround,' an entourage is a group of people attending or surrounding an important person. Talking about entourage in our drawing class one day, our assignment was to draw the teaching assistants at the front of the room.

An entourage, however, is not only a group of people, but can be defined as any grouping that surrounds something important. The Greek landscape, for example, "is rough, a corrugated mass of limestone and marble mountain ridges extending into the sea like fingers, sheltering innumerable bays and coves" (Roth, 216). Roth illustrates how there are many different forms of entourage in different settings. An entourage, meaning a group of people or things, surrounds an important object or person and without it that important person or object would be less defined within a city.


A source is any person, place, or thing from which something comes or can be obtained from. According to Blakemore, "The interrelatedness of the influencing factors illustrated the dependence of Roman arts on the cultures of other races" (Blakemore, 47). Although the Romans are credited with having started and created many things, most of their arts were based upon outside sources.

Also in Rome, " textiles provided a source of inspiration for panel design. These were presented to conjunction with painted architectural structures and were sometimes centered with figures" (Blakemore, 59). During any design process, ideas are formed by looking at outside sources as a reference.


A hierarchy is a system or organization in which people or groups are ranked one above the other according to status or authority.

In ancient Egypt, "interior architectural detail and treatment of surfaces on the interior were regulated, in part, by the hierarchal status of the resident" (Blakemore, 9).

In Pompeii, the "houses represented largely middle to upper-class residents. In the cities, there were both luxurious town houses for those higher on the social scale and tenements for lower-class citizens" (Blakemore, 47). Hierarchy is important to keep in mind when working on a project as it reminds you of the purpose for the product and who it is being made for.


An order is the way in which something is arranged according to a specific sequence, pattern, or method.
The Romans, for example, "used orders and other architectural features for their decorative qualities - i.e. pilasters, broken pediments, freestanding column located in front of load-bearing walls, etc" (Blakemore, 52).


I feel that "Parts:Whole" is a good title for this week's set of words. To me, all of the words illustrate a design process that is still used today. When starting a project, the first thing anyone would do is look for influences from outside sources to start getting their ideas going. Once the designer has thought up some ideas for the project, they would use those 2D ideas, or archetypes, to create a 3D model, or a prototype. After discussing and critiquing the prototype model, one or two other models would be made, hybrids, that incorporate ideas from both the archetype and the prototype. While creating the final product, there are many other aspects the designer has to consider. The surrounding spaces of the final product, or the entourage, should be considered as well as the groupings of everything in and around the product. The pattern or sequence, or the order, that is incorporated within the project should be considered as well as the hierarchy, or the portrayal of status. All of these words together create a well-formulated process or system that is still being used in modern design.

Thumbnails : MHRA

These are some thumbnail drawings of the first floor of the MHRA building on campus.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009



Scale can be used in many ways, such as comparing sizes of two figures or making a drawing seem more realistic. It allows the viewer to interpret the piece in the correct perspective. In Suzanne's drawing class, we have been practicing the idea of scale figures.

In this exercise, students came up to the front of the class and posed and we were told to draw them in sixty seconds. Given only a minute, and later a mere thirty seconds, our challenge was to draw proportional people that we later used as scale figures in other drawings.

The Parthenon in ancient Greece is another good example of how scale and proportion is important. When the old temple was burnt to the ground around 450 B.C.E., "a number of column drums of white marble, quarried from Mount Pentele, survived the fire and were reused for the columns of the new temple"(Roth, 236). Keeping in mind the amount of reused material, "the complete harmonization of proportioned parts in the finished building is especially remarkable, for the architects were using elements originally proportioned for a building of different design" (Roth, 236).


A vignette is used to illustrate a scene or an environment without using any definite boundaries or borders. It is a good way to document a scene or environment and allows the viewer to interpret the rest of the surroundings instead of being cut off by a border.

This is an example of a vignette I drew while I was walking around the mall. The edges are soft and seem to disappear which is what makes a vignette different from a regular drawing.

After reading a few stories about creation, I drew this vignette to parallel the sense of progression in the story.

My drawing is meant to illustrate the development of materials throughout time. Starting with stones or rocks as a main resource for building material, wood, and later brick, became more predominate in the architectural twentieth and twenty-first century.


A boundary is something that indicates a fixed limit. A good example of a boundary is a wall. Walls are used as boundaries in the way that they enclose a space. Boundaries can either be a literal wall or object that serves as an ultimate limit, or it can be an implied idea.

I recently built this wall for studio and I think it is a good example of a boundary. Its purpose is to create a place for my artifact, yet I think it does much more than that. In the correct setting, it could be used as a partition wall or a perimeter.

Somewhat literal and somewhat implied, "a roughly triangular, open space was set aside as the agora, whose boundaries were defined by surrounding houses and public buildings," (Roth, 222) northwest of the Akropolis.


When I think of unity, I think about the idea of everything coming together and connecting to one another. After reading a story about creation, I created a vignette using some of the ideas from the story.

The beginning of the story talks about the unity between fire and water and then continues to explain the progression of creation.

The Acropolis in Athens, Greece is a good example of unity. "Most poleis grew gradually, focused on and growing around the remains of a Bronze Age citadel built on an acropolis, a general term for 'high city,' or rocky outcropping" (Roth, 222). The Acropolis served as the center point of everything important and sacred in Athens. "Over centuries, the household shrines in the ancient Bronze Age Athenian Akropolis palace had become sacred sites dedicated to various Olympian gods" (Roth, 222). Holding such great cultural importance, the Acropolis was one way of unifying the entire city of Athens.


In ancient Egypt, documentary evidence of early forms of interior architecture were found through paintings and drawings on walls. "Based on the sections of houses depicted, it is known that houses were sometimes more than one story high" (Blakemore, 7). These section drawings help us understand early Egyptian culture. The "representations disclose such features as spatial relationships, functional uses of spaces, interior architectural details, and decorative elements" (Blakemore, 7).

As we continued to work on the "Pat's Chair" project, we were asked to create two section-cut views of our chair.

Another way to look at the word 'section' is to think about how a building or an environment is sectioned off into different pieces. In ancient Greece, the megaron was comprised of "three components: (1) a hall, (2) a storeroom at the back, and, later, (3) a porch" (Blakemore, 31). These three components, in some form, can be found in any structure, place, or environment.


All of the words for this week seem to come together and form a sort of system. When creating a space, boundaries are one of the first things that are considered. To begin any kind of design project, the limitations have to be known and taken into account. Once the boundaries are dealt with, scale is the next thing to consider. In any design project, the designer is asked to illustrate their ideas, in scale, which shows how everything in a space fits together and is proportioned. The unity of boundaries and scale come together to create an outline of how to begin the design project. One way in which the designer can portray their ideas is by drawing or painting a vignette. A vignette is a good way to show how the proportions all work together to complete the space and allows the viewer to get a feel for the room. For a more technical drawing, a section drawing can be used to illustrate the technicalities and measurements of how the space will logically come together.

Six Vignettes

Two vignettes from creation story (Creation by and From the Self)

One vignette from a different creation story (Yahweh)

Two vignettes from our fairytale (The Spindle, The Shuttle, and The Needle)

One vignette of my wall

Monday, February 9, 2009


These are some other sketches from class this past week

Drinking and Drawing

Our assignment was to find a public place and draw vignettes with people in them

I drew this one while I was waiting for my friend in the fitting room. I decided to go sit outside the store and draw a few of the stores across from me.

These were the two ladies sitting not too far away from me in the food court who were making really exaggerated hand movements the entire time I was watching them.