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.

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