Tuesday, February 3, 2009


When I think about illuminating something, I think about making it brighter, bringing attention to it, and giving it a sense of character. Having already drawn a few things in my sketchbook for class using merely a black pen, I went back and added watercolors to help illuminate and emphasize the drawing.

One image that I did was of a wearable artifact from class made by Haley Preston. Another sketch that I used watercolors for was a vignette from our drawing design class.

Something else that has been illuminated in history are the Pyramids of Giza. Although it is not there anymore, the pyramids were originally cased in "finely fitted limestone" that "was later removed to build portions of Cairo" (Roth, 196).

Pyramids of Giza

The sun gleams down on the white limestone covering the pyramids in the middle of the desert and reflects off of the pyramids. Thus, the sunlight illuminates its importance as the shine of the mountains stands out from the rest of the baron desert.

Materials come in many different textures, shapes, and forms. Ancient Egyptians used animal hides as material to create tee-pees for their shelter. Similarly, Cro-Magnon humans, residing mostly in the Ukraine, lived in huts that "had masses of mammoth bones piled around the perimeter and apparently were covered with hides" as well (Roth, 164).

In middle stone age villages in Serbia, "houses had trapezoidal plans...and hard limestone plaster floors, with central stone-lined hearths" (Roth 166). In these times, the use of natural materials was very important and greatly impacted their living conditions and survival tactics.

(Picture taken from Roth, 166)

An idiom is described as a group of words in which the meaning is not taken literally from the words but is rather understood as a phrase. One example of an idiom is "a picture says a thousand words."

Along with my Interior Architecture courses, one of the other classes I am taking is Mythology, where we recently went over Pandora's Box. Not to be taken literally, Pandora's Box is not a physical box. It is an idiom that describes a process that generates complex problems as the result of unwise interference.

Vitruvius stated that "architecture...must provide utility, firmness, and beauty or, as Sir Henry Wotten later paraphrased it in the seventeenth century, commodity, firmness, and delight" (Roth 11). When I think of commodity, firmness, and delight, I think of the utility or function of a piece of architecture, the sturdiness of it, and the way it aesthetically pleases the eye.


Stonehenge is a good example of how commodity, firmness, and delight were used thousands of years ago. "As recent investigations suggest, this complex served as an astronomical observatory....[and] other alignments within the complex suggest that Stonehenge might have been used to mark phases and eclipses of the moon and other astronomical phenomena" (Roth 173).


As we talked about in class, Stonehenge had many different forms of utility, all of which are possibilities for what it was actually intended to be used for. Besides astronomical usages, Stonehenge was also used as a ceremonial grounds for the dead. The inner formation/structure of the large rocks indicate specific places for people to stand and a very defined center in which the main activities were held. Not only does this structure have utility and firmness, but the way in which all the rocks were put together is beautiful. The unity of all three of these ideas shows in the unity that Stonehenge portrays.

Although I talked about our "Pat's Chair" project last week, I feel that it fits in well with idea of commodity, firmness, and delight for this week as well.

The chair that I constructed for this project contains storage space yet is simple and compact. I also used some detail on the sides with the small step-like pattern that I continued in other places throughout the entirety of the chair.

Commodity, firmness, and delight are three words that all form the "power of three" and the idea of total unity when it comes to architecture. Although these three concepts are the majority of what good architecture is, I feel that materiality, illumination, and idiom are also three words that link together. However, I feel that all of these six words together form a greater idea of what good architecture should be. I have found it very useful to have all of these concepts in mind as I create my own models and drawings. I want whatever I create to be firm, functional, pleasing to the eye, and have context and meaning.

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