Sunday, March 1, 2009

MICRO : MARCO [opus 6]


The idea of Porch : Court : Hearth is that there are three main areas to any space, the gateway, the large (and usually open) common area, and the most important feature or attraction of the space. An area is “often opened from a great court, a feature continuing into later residential architecture… a porch, an optional anteroom, and a hall (the largest space) with the center of the hall being “a circular hearth set with a raised edge” (BLAKEMORE, 31).

Another example is in Haddon Hall, Derbyshire, where “the entrance to the hall was from the screens passage at the lower end of the hall…which led to courts on either side of this nucleus of the medieval house. The purpose of each of these was to divert drafts from the central hearth” (BLAKEMORE 71). Whether it is found in a specific building or by looking at an entire city, almost everything contains these three components both in the Middle Ages and in modern day.


An impression can be described as an idea, feeling, or opinion about something or someone, an imitation of a person or a thing, or a marked impressed on a surface. Printing is an example of an impression because the words are literally engraved into the paper. In the Italian Renaissance, “Engraved wood blocks and copper plates were new printing techniques that stimulated the dissemination of information from these treatises and spread new designs to other areas of Italy and Europe” (BLAKEMORE 92). Impressions were not only used to convey information, but they were also used as artwork or details in architecture.


A detail can be described as an individual feature or item. Interior architecture and decoration in the Middle Ages illustrates “enhancement with paint was through flat color application as well as decorative treatments, among which were simulations of masonry by using colored lines on plaster washed, ornamental detail applied to friezes, and figurative events on such areas as friezes or murals on walls” (BLAKEMORE 75).
Although details seem as though they are used for the sole purpose of aesthetics, they can also be used and manipulated in a way to make a space seem larger. In the Italian Renaissance, “both woodworking techniques and painting were used to extend space” (BLAKEMORE 97).

Detail can be found on anything; walls, furniture, etc. and incorporates ideas from outside sources as the amount and style of detail continue to evolve. “Ornamental detail for interiors and furniture largely revolved around the design vocabulary of the classical Roman period” (BLAKEMORE 112).


A composition is something that is composed of multiple elements. One of the most well known forms of composition, in both architecture as well as entire cities, is the megaron. The magaron is “comprised of three components: (1) a hall, (2) a storeroom at the back, and, later, (3) a porch” (BLAKEMORE 30-31). Composition also has a lot to do with functionality. The composition of something can change based on what it is being used for. “As functional and social needs shifted over the course of the Middle Ages, the space finally became an entrance hall in the late Tudor period in England, during the reign of Elizabeth I, 1558-1603” (BLAKEMORE 71). The overall composition of the area changed as the social needs and function of the space began to evolve. In any design, composition needs to be taken into account by means of how the client wants a space to be laid out, what feelings the client wants the space to portray, etc.

A diagram is a means of showing a space's use or intended use.
In the Renaissance period, for example, “the plan consisted of an octagonal star-shaped city with streets radiating from a central market square. Antonio Averlino… was the first Renaissance designer to use the ideal form of the circle as the basis for a city plan” (ROTH 360-361).

This is an example of a functional diagram of the first floor of the MHRA building on campus. Different than a normal floor plan, this functional diagram shows what parts of the building are being used for.


This week’s Opus title, Micro : Macro does a good job of describing large ideas like Porch : Court : Hearth as well as smaller ideas like detail. Porch : Court : Hearth is a specific type of composition which can be shown through a diagram. The details that are incorporated within the design, as well as the structure of the design itself, allows the viewer to form their own impression of the space and also illustrates the designer’s impression of what they feel the space is.

1 comment:

Gwen McKinney said...

while you chose effective passages from the readings, you must learn to edit. Too much quote, not enough you. show us that you can communicate these ideas and relate them to the world around you.