Tuesday, April 28, 2009


To transpose something is to cause two or more things to change places with each other. To juxtapose is to place something close together for contrasting effect


‘Literal’ refers to taking something in their usual or most basic sense. ‘Abstract’ refers to existing in thought or as an idea but not having physical or concrete existence. As modernism continued to grow, philosopher Hannah Arendt stated, “Utility established as meaning generates meaninglessness” (ROTH 539). This quote suggests that a building made for a specific utility or purpose loses its true meaning and is therefore meaningless. A building constructed with no set purpose or utility, however, ends up with more meaning than intended upon.


A monologue is a speech by one single person while a dialogue is a conversation between two people. With the advancement of industrial production in the United States, Mies van der Rohe was able to complete his vision of the glass tower and “instead of creating one single, extremely tall shaft, he created two identical towers, each with the classically proportioned bay structure of three by five” (ROTH 537-538). Rather than construct one building that would carry a mere monologue about its own structure, Mies expanded his concept with the resources available to him to create two structures that created a sense of dialogue within the city.


Meditation is the act of calming and focusing ones mind as a method of relaxation. Contrastingly, a celebration is a social event that includes rejoicing. In the midst of modernism, Aalto attempts to define architecture as he states “ Its purpose is still to bring the material world into harmony with human life” (ROTH 547). Human life symbolizes nature or the natural world and illustrates a sense of serenity or meditation while the new idea of materialism is celebrated and still being explored. Bringing these two elements of meditation and celebration together is what creates good architecture.

Not only is the idea of meditation and celebration seen in architecture, but it is also seen in the designs of the interiors as well. Eva Jiricna’s design for Joe’s Café in London “incorporated industrial materials like aluminum, matt-black cladding and tensioned-steel cables to produce a mood of control and understatement which has now been widely emulated” (MASSEY 201). Materiality, in conjunction with the new industrial movement, helps this space capture a sense of meditation and serenity.


Light is a natural form of illumination while a shadow is the dark area created when an object comes in between the rays of light from the sun and the surface or ground. To play with the effect of light, Le Corbusier designed the interior of the Notre-Dame-du-Haute chapel in which, “the thick concrete walls are pierced by small coloured windows to create the dramatic effect of shafts of coloured light falling on the congregation” (MASSEY 152).


This week's opus is all about pairs and how opposites are somewhat similar within context. Two elements can work together in one space to create something completely different, such as light and shadow, monologue and dialogue, and meditation and celebration.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009



To compose something is to form or create something by ordering or arranging the parts to make a whole. During the Modern Movement, one of Adolf Loos’s plans of volumes, or Raumplan, involved “the complex ordering of internal space” (MASSEY 64). By arranging the interior of spaces according to strict order, a sense of completion and entirety is created that helps illustrate the unity of the space. Another example of good composition is Le Corbusier’s ‘Five Points of Architecture’ which includes “pilotis (free-standing structural piers of reinforced concrete),… a free plan,…[unrestricting] supporting walls,… a roof terrace,…[large] windows,…a continuous element of the exterior wall,…and a façade [consisting] of one smooth surface” (MASSEY 79-80).


To speculate is to form a theory about a subject without firm evidence. For example, it is speculated by many that the “exhibition established the Bauhaus’s reputation as the leading force in the creation of a new functional aesthetic” (MASSEY 74). Even though there is no solid proof or evidence to support this statement, the aftermath of how the exhibition and the Bauhaus began to impact history tells us that this is a true statement.


To energize is to give off the sense of vitality and enthusiasm. Walter Gropius, for example, was “convinced of the importance of individual creativity and artistic integrity while supporting a Modernist aesthetic” (MASSEY 66).


To stretch something is to change its shape or to make it longer or wider without tearing or breaking.


A shape is the external form or appearance of something. Another definition for ‘shape’ is something that helps to define an era or concept. “Mass production,” for example, “was now established as the means of manufacturing consumer goods, and Modern Movement theorists were inspired by the concepts of rationalization and standardization” (MASSEY 63). Mass production helped to shape the new industrial society.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Peer-to-Peer: PA

I found that Riley Smith was focusing on the Georgia Dome for her PA project. I am doing my analysis on the Reichstag building in Germany and the first thing I noticed was the prominence of a unifying dome in both of our buildings. Although the Georgia dome is used for more recreational purposes and the Reichstag building is used more as a political symbol, both domes illustrate a sense of unification. Also, both domes utilize glass as a main material thus emphasizing the idea of connecting the building to the heavens.

Friday, April 17, 2009

REFLECTIONS unit summary

A reflection is thought of as a thing that is a consequence of or arises from something else. Revolution and revival were the most prominent ideas of the time, which caused a drastic change in thinking and behaving and the coming again into reactivity. New design concepts were created by mimicking past designs with the designers trying to add their own sense of character. The design concept for the White House in Washington, D.C. for example, was copied from a country house in Ireland. Reflecting back on those past ideas and methods served as a base for the new ideas and concepts of the time period; the designs of the past led to new innovations for the future. As designers and architects used past ideas as one their biggest sources for design concepts, other factors played a big role as well.

The industrial revolution brought about a variety of new changes to the world of architecture and design including technological advances and the shedding of the past. It brought about the use of machinery, factories, new materiality, and mass production. As the revolution became more prominent, designers and architects began to integrate these new materials and the use of machinery into their design concepts.

This is a drawing of the glass and iron dome on top of the Reichstag building in Berlin, Germany. Built in 1995, the dome is constructed solely from glass and iron with a spiral of mirrors in the middle.

Glass and wrought iron were two new materials being used to create new design methods and incorporate new elements into architecture. The introduction of machinery allowed for mass production of materials as well as a huge cut in production costs.

Also during the revolutionary period, Claude Ledoux introduced the idea of architecture parlante, or the way in which a building expresses its own functionality. This concept, stemming from the French enlightenment, took some of the methods and ideas from baroque and rococo as a basis for forming a new era of design. As design during the revolutionary era was simple and followed all of the rules, post-revolutionary design served as a revival of pre-revolutionary design incorporating ideas that broke the rules. And, with the new introduction of machinery, post-revolutionary design was able to take that revival style to a new level. In all, the title, "REFLECTIONS," ties the entire unit together with the idea that reflection of the past leads to innovations of the future.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009



A root is the basic cause, source, or origin of something.
On the verge of reshaping modern architecture, Le Corbusier stats, “It is a question of building which is at the root of social unrest today: architecture or revolution” (ROTH 530). As architecture was turning towards more modern designs, the industrial revolution did a great deal in shaping the world of architecture and design by creating machinery that allowed for mass production.


To be congruent is to be in agreement or in harmony with something. The twin towers in New York were constructed in the same manner and looked the same, which made them appear to be congruent to each other.

During the rise of modernism in architecture, two new design ideas formed that were vastly different from each other. Although the ideas of functional and structural determinism and dynamic personal invention are completely opposed philosophies, the two held a common “driving passion to sweep away the Old Europe and to build a new utopian world, a new social and moral order” (ROTH 520). These ‘opposing philosophies’ are congruent in their long-term goal of creating a perfect world.


Compression refers to the reduction of volume of an object and release refers to being set free from confinement. The Richmond Place house in Dublin “exploits its section to create a series of interconnected but separate spaces of varying height and dimension, creating a sequence of compression and release as one circulates through the plan.”

The idea of using different depths, height, and material allows for the designer's true character to show through the building. In some spaces when walking through the house, one might feel claustrophobic or compressed into the space until walking through a doorway to the next room that is wide open and gives off a sense of release.


Materiality consists of the use of different types of materials for different projects. For example, during the rise of international modernism, both the Barcelona pavilion and the Tugendhat House were composed of the best materials; “golden and green onyx, travertine, marble, macassar wood veneers, smoked glass, chrome-plated steel, and raw silk” (ROTH 527). Different materials allow for better craft, different design concepts, and different textures.

The dome on top of the Reichstag building in Berlin, Germany was rebuilt in 1995 and utilizes steel and glass in order to convey the idea of Germany's reunification after the war.


A concept is an abstract idea or general notion. From Behrens, Mies learned that “the concept of the artist as the agent of the taste of the age, and of architecture being an expression of technical power” (ROTH 526).

At the beginning of the 20th century, philosophers and art historians “developed the concept that history evolves as the result of an inner spiritual necessity, and that each period in history is shaped by its unique zeitgeist, the spirit of the age” (ROTH 519). The Reichstag building in Berlin stood as various different symbols pre-war, during wars, and post-war. The spirit of the city was a direct link to what the Reichstag building symbolized for the public at any given time.


This week's opus allowed me to analyze a piece of architecture literally, by looking at its materiality, but also helped me analyze buildings in a more in depth manner. How the building goes about making its viewer or inhabitant feel (the idea of compression and release), what roots the design concept evolved from and how it is congruent to other buildings or its surrounding area.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009



A craft is an activity involving skill in making things by hand. Throughout different eras of architecture and while new materials were being introduced, structures had to be crafted differently in order for them to be successful. In the houses of parliament in London during the Gothic Revival, for example, “large plenum chambers were created over the meeting halls…to provide for better ventilation – one of the great faults of the original buildings” (ROTH 477).

As industry started to become more prominent in the field of architecture, new ideas and ways of construction were used. Built to house the industrial exhibits at the World’s Fair in 1889, the Palais des Machines had trusses that “were hinged at their bases and at the crown, so that they might bend and flex at those points and not tear themselves apart” (ROTH 490). Using new kinds of material, such as steel and wrought iron, new concepts were created to allow the structure to stand on its own yet still look delightful.

The dome at the top of the Reichstag building in Berlin, Germany, utilizes only glass and iron with a spiral of mirrors in the center. The craft of this cupola is impeccable considering its materiality.


From researching both Monticello and Falling Water on the internet, it is very clear that there are specified spaces for the public and ones that are kept private. Even in the setting and surrounding landscape of the building, it is somewhat obvious that Falling Water is a more private home, set back in the woods, while Monticello is more of a public place that offers a great deal of history. Also, the use of darkened hallways at Falling Water inferred a private space and keeps the public from entering it. Shying away from the idea of private spaces, “Neoclassicism became firmly linked with public service and educational aspirations” (ROTH 475).

Frank Lloyd Wright's Falling Water is a good example of a private space, mainly due to the fact that it is set back in the woods and utilizes a lot of horizontal construction.


A technique is a way of carrying out a particular task. Certain forms of art, including architecture, are meant to be carried out with a specific type of technique. During neoclassicism, “American sculptor Horatio Greenough…pointed out that his countrymen were going about architecture backward, trying to bend the Greek temple into contemporary needs” (ROTH 475).

Not only does technique come in handy when following a set of rules for creating something, but it is also in tact during any kind of presentation. In his book Contrasts, Pugin “presented side-by-side drawings of fifteenth-century buildings with their nineteenth-century counterparts” (ROTH 480). Pugin’s technique of showing the contrast between a building in the fifteenth-century and the same building in the nineteenth-century is a good way to illustrate the key changes and important aspects within the building and design itself.

In drawing class, we drew a perspective or a room and used different techniques to render different sections of the final drawing.

Rendered in pen

Rendered in Prisma Color markers

Rendered in colored pencil and Prisma Color markers


Language is the method of human communication, either spoken or written, consisting of the use of words in a structured and conventional way. In a literal sense, a space can allow for people to communicate to each other. During creative eclecticism, for example, Charles Garnier “used a traditional horseshoe auditorium with layered galleries around the auditorium so opera-goers could better see each other” (ROTH 483).

The language between the landscape and the architecture at Monticello is one of the things that makes it such an interesting and beautiful place to visit.


Because I was unable to go on the Monticello/Falling Water trip this past weekend, I began to look at images on the web to learn about the two places and was able to take a virtual tour of Jefferson’s Monticello. Although visiting the building in person would have been ideal, the virtual tour helped me to understand the building and begin to draw it.

A picture of Jefferson's Monticello that I drew from a picture I saw on the same website that I took the virtual tour.


From looking at Monticello and Falling Water, this week I was able to see how architecture can be so different yet fulfill some of the same concepts. Both Monticello and Falling Water deal with the aspect of public versus private space and have impeccable craft, technique, and language. Even though I was not able to go on the trip and see the buildings first hand, I was able to gain a lot of information about each of the structures through the internet and through classmate's personal photos. Both Monticello and Falling Water find a balance between silence and light that is very different, yet very successful.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Rough Draft: Reichstag Building

Originally built in 1894, the Reichstag building in Germany was designed by Paul Wallot, winner of the 1882 architectural contest, in the Italian High Renaissance style. Covering an area of about 13, 290 square meters, the building was used to house the Reichstag, the first German parliament. In 1933 the building was severely damaged by a fire during the start of World War II. Under the Nazi regime from 1933-1945, the building remained in ruins and it wasn’t until 1999 that the British architect Norman Foster rebuilt the Reichstag building. His remodeling and modernization of the building included the new dome which has become a strong attraction of the building in which visitors are able to explore.

Up until the fire of 1933, the main purpose of Reichstag building was to serve as a place for the first parliament of the German empire to meet. The building was seen as a political commodity until 1933 when it was set on fire and nearly destroyed. Although it is still unsure who started the fire, “some say it was [Marines van der] Lubbe because of a communist plot, while others say the Nazis did it to create an incident in order to come to power.” Regardless of who started the fire, the National Socialists Party (NSDAP) took over the Reichstag from 1933-1945 and by July, 1933, the “Reichstag contained only members of the Nazi party.” Hitler, hating the historic parliament building, “used the Reichstag to hold propaganda speeches, knowing that it was a degradation for the former parliament.” As much as he disliked the symbolic nature of the building, he was rather fond of the architecture and thus did not destroy it.

At the beginning of World War II, the building served as a German air force base with a bunker constructed next to it. In the years following the commencement of WWII, all of the windows were removed from the building and it was “transformed into a fortress.” As the war progressed, the building was constantly under siege and became the main target for the Red Army. For the soviets, the Reichstag building “symbolized Hitler and Nazi Germany and by conquering the Reichstag it would symbolize the soviet victory over Nazi Germany.”

After WWII, the façade and interior of the building was completely destroyed and it had become a symbol for the defeated Germany. The cupola, proving to be a danger for the Reichstag, was blown up in 1954. In 1956, it was decided that the Reichstag building was to be rebuilt with the intent to “stand as a symbol that Germany was serious about reunification.” While plans to rebuild the Reichstag were underway, it was still uncertain as to what the purpose of the building was going to be. In another architectural contest in 1960-1961, Paul Baumgartner won the responsibility for the reconstruction of the building.

During the Cold War and the division of Germany, the building was no longer located in the heart of the city and thus became a symbol for the divided Germany rather than a symbol for the German people. Since 1964, parts of the Reichstag were completed so that some meetings and conferences were possible, however the German government decided to conduct their meetings in the Berlin Congress Hall and the Town Hall in fear that they would not be safe in the Reichstag building. Eventually, it was decided that the building should hold the exhibition “Questions on German History” which lasted more than twenty years.

The Reichstag dome sits on top of the Reichstag building and allows for a 360 view of Berlin. The original dome, designed by Wallot, was used to enlarge the space of the parliamentary building. After the destruction of the building, the dome was rebuilt in 1995 and completed in 1999 by Foster. The new design of the dome symbolizes the unity that Germany is focusing on for the future. The design is also environmentally friendly as the spiral of mirrors in the center of the dome allows natural sunlight to be used instead of artificial light.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009



Movement is defined as the changing of an object’s physical location or position. Rather than rotating an object, movement involves physically changing its location and possibly its orientation as well. Movement in design takes the concept of a two-dimensional idea and creating a sense of motion within it. The Arts and Crafts style of the nineteenth century “is characterized by the asymmetrical whiplash line that gives a sense of dynamic movement wherever it is applied” (MASSEY 32).

“The influence of the British Arts and Crafts Movement led Continental architects and theorists to approach the planning and decorating of interiors with a respect that had traditionally been reserved for the exterior” (MASSEY 32). The literal movement of Arts and Crafts advanced the development of exterior ideas being integrated into the interior.


A reflection can mean many things. It can refer to how people reflect themselves towards the rest of society, a person’s perception of a person, place, or thing, or, in a more literal sense, a mirror image of a space or object. In the nineteenth century, “the appearance of the interiors of [the Victorian middle class’] modest three-story homes and the way in which the inhabitants conducted themselves within were dictated by elaborate codes of behavior” (MASSEY 7). People of the Victorian middle class, settling in new suburban cities, found it important to be able to expose their wealth, social status, and behavior skills. Exposing themselves like this allowed others to see who exactly they were; they were illustrating themselves through their homes.


Illumination is a means of adding light to a piece of work or simply enhancing a specific element of a project. In the nineteenth century French revival style, rooms on the first and second floors “were lighted by inset windows; some were top-lit instead” (BLAKEMORE 378).

“a skylight illuminated a centrally places staircase of white Carrara marble which forms the centerpiece of the whole design” (MASSEY 37).


A source is a person place or thing from which something comes or can be obtained. Sources are often used as inspirations for new ideas and concepts. “While designers imitated past styles” during the second empire in France, “they also made a conscious attempt to develop a new fashion” (BLAKEMORE 380). Taking some aspects of past designs and styles, new ideas are formed using these outside influences as a main source of the new idea.

“The Victorian Gothic revival was mainly inspired by Pugin and his interiors for the new Houses of Parliament building designed by Sir Charles Barry (1795-1860)” (MASSEY 9).

“For the grander type of interior the prevalent style was the Beaux-Arts, so called because its source was in the teaching of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris” (MASSEY 31).


A rotation is the act of turning about an axis to form new perspectives or views. The idea of rotating an object is useful in that it allows the viewer to change the way they observe the piece of work, thus permitting them to form different forms of interpretation. A model might have a completely different meaning when turned upside down or on its side.

My last studio project does a good job of expressing the idea of rotation. By turning the object around its center axis, light is able to hit it from different angles, thus creating different shadows on and around the project itself.