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.

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