Wednesday, March 25, 2009



A revision is considered to be the altering of something in light of new ideas. Revisions can occur for many different reasons, such as to fix a problem, to incorporate a new concept, or to add more to the original idea. When Bernini was working with the Vatican palace, he ran into some problems with the existing buildings that forced him to revise his original idea. “His solution was to divide the piazza into two parts, the portion immediately next to the façade being a trapezoid and the more distant portion an oval enclosed by curved Tuscan Doric colonnades focused on two fountains” (ROTH 408).

The first drawing detail I did for the MHRA building in drawing class was a quick representation of the hallway on the first floor.

After some feedback, I revised the drawing , got more feedback, and revised it one last time to compose a final drawing.

In modern day design, revisions are made all the time, as they were during Bernini’s time as well. Some of the drawings I did for drawing class started out as a thumbnail. After quickly drawing the basic parts of the scene, I went back to revise it by enlarging and adding more detail. After a final critique from classmates and professors, I revised it one more time and took into account all of the feedback I received.


Transition is the process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another. The transition from one stage to the next shows how a person or object evolves through time, taking their surrounding society into consideration while in the process. As the Gothic era of architecture came to an end, it “became more and more elaborate, with proliferating ribs that eventually became free of the vault surface altogether” (ROTH 398). In a more literal sense, Giacomo della Pota was “inspired by Alberti, and used large, curved volutes to make the transition from the high nave to the lower side chapels” on the façade of the Gesu (ROTH 401). A literal, and visual, transition on the building itself brings the entire façade together and lets all of the varying designs flow as one.
With language evolving and information traveling faster, architecture and design began to move away from aesthetics being considered the most prominent commodity in a design. Instead, structure became more important and aesthetics succeeded it. “By the time Vierzehnheiligen was being completed in the early 1770s… a radical change was already well established in France, an abrupt turn toward a fully rational architecture” (ROTH 435). Rationally, the structure of a building should be the first thing to consider; with non-structural design closely following.


A datum is a standard position or level that measurements are taken from. Serving as the starting point for any drawing or form of design, a datum determines the dimensionality of the rest of a project. In assembling a presentation board for the design drawing class, finding a datum was the first step to figuring out how to layout all of our work on the board.

Focusing more on the center of the board, consisting of our two diagrams and the title, the measurements outward are all uniform. All of the drawings around the edge of the board have the same size border and spacing between them. Although not everything design is based off a datum, the ones that are show a greater sense of unity and help tie the entire project together.

Another example of datum is how measurements add up and work together to form an object. In our drafting class, we worked on using these measurements to form different views of houses.


Character is the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual or the distinctive nature of something. Character can usually be seen through the work and actions of an individual. For example, “Bernini’s prodigious creations in architecture, sculpture, painting, and theater design, coupled with his air of confident buoyancy and social ease, brought him international acclaim” (ROTH 409). Bernini’s confident personality was illustrated throughout his work, which the public commended him on. Bernini let his character show through his work, thus making his work stand out from others.

Cassiano dal Pozzo commented on good architectural designers “who took the true proportions of those perfectly regular orders from Roman buildings. Departing from these always leads to errors” (ROTH 397). The distinctive quality of Pozzo’s time period was to observe and abide by the rules, thus breaking them was out of the question and constituted for an unsuccessful design. Designers today have rules to follow and regulations to abide by, yet there are still those who design outside of the box and break the rules.


An audience is a group of assembled spectators or listeners at a public event or meeting, or simply people giving their attention to something. In the early Georgian period in England, “Versatility in planning to accommodate social events was the motivating force” for the change in space planning (BLAKEMORE 250). Hagely Hall, for example, “was flexibly arranged to accommodate guests of different numbers” (BLAKEMORE 251). The change in social gatherings affected the society so much so that architecture and design evolved from the purpose of structure and shelter to pleasing an audience and showing off wealth.
An aspect of audience is present in every form of media today, whether it be in movies, books, or design. An audience is the most important form of critique for any final product. With forms of transportation beginning to expand, information traveled quicker from empire to empire. So, a critique of an architect or designer’s work from Paris was soon known throughout all of France and sometimes further than that. The progress of language allowed for information, of a piece of work or any other medium, to travel beyond one empire.


This week’s Opus title, GRAMMAR: SYNTAX brings together the ideas of revision, datum, character, transition, and audience, which all deal with the idea of language. In a prototype of any design, feedback is given, and revisions are made in order to better the quality of the product by taking the criticism into account. Without the language of feedback, revisions would not be as meaningful and necessary to a project. A datum, serving as the starting point of a project in which everything else derives from, represents the language within the piece of work itself. A datum unifies a project because of its relation to everything else in the design, thus there is a strong language between the datum and the remainder of the project. The character of an architect or designer can often be seen throughout their design, which lets their product stand out from others. The language between the designer and the design is a strong one that allows its audience to understand their thoughts through their design. Both a literal transition or color or form, and a transition from idea to idea show how the surrounding society influences the world of architecture and design. With information and language traveling through the expansion of transportation, an audience is able to voice their opinions or carry conversations with others about a piece of work, thus circling back around to giving the designer feedback for revisions.

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