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 CafĂ© 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.

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