Sunday, March 1, 2009

Foundations Unit Summary

After completing the foundations unit, I feel that there are three main themes that accurately explain all of the material covered in this first unit. Commodity : Firmness : Delight, Archetype : Prototype : Hybrid, and Porch : Court : Hearth are three ideas that illustrate what architecture should be, what it is and can become, and the process of how it came to be. 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). Commodity serves as the reason to create the building, firmness is the way in which it should be built to ensure a successful structure, and delight refers to the aesthetics that make the building appeal to the client as well as the public.

Another theme of this unit is Archetype : Prototype : Hybrid. The Romans are a good example of how archetypes, prototypes, and hybrids are used in the advancement of architecture and design. “The interrelatedness of the influencing factors illustrates the dependence of Roman arts on the cultures of the other races. At the same time advances in technology (materials and construction techniques) allowed the Romans to attain innovations in spatial features which exceeded those cultures represented in their conquest,” (Blakemore 47). For their ideas to evolve, the Romans searched for information from outside sources as a means to improve their existing ideas about architecture and design. These influencing factors inspired the new designs, or prototypes, as well as the hybrids.

The last theme of this unit is Porch : Court : Hearth. Although it is a more specific design idea, it is one that can be found almost anywhere whether it is in a building or an entire city. The sequence begins with the porch, which serves as the gateway or entrance into a building, area, or city. The court represents the large open area following the porch where people can congregate. Lastly, the hearth is the main attraction of the building or area where leaders, priests, and other important figures reside and is usually off limits to the general public.

Although I feel that these three ideas illustrate the entirety of the material the foundations unit covered, the concept of parts coming together to form a whole, or the oedicule, is another major theme of the unit that encompasses what Commodity : Firmness : Delight, Archetype : Prototype : Hybrid, and Porch : Court : Hearth portray.


The idea of the power of three and the oedicule both show how parts of a whole can come together to form a new idea. The power of three is an important ideal for any type of design and allows three separate inspirations to connect and help a design evolve.

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