Thursday, May 7, 2009

Junctions :: Explorations of the Self

Cathedrals of the Gothic Period [Amiens Cathedral]

Cave Formations, the art of nature

My Cornish Rex named Meddle, with her uniquely curly fur and persona.

Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles in France.

Yellowstone National Park's Blue pools.

Japanese Woodblock Prints

Casa Batllo

The Pillars of Creation, stars and galaxies.

My mother's necklace.

Cloth and how it can be arranged into various folds and cast amazing shadows.

Google Images (Click on Pictures to go to source.)

Exploring Chiaroscuro

Notre Dame du Haut
Crystal Cathedral
Acrylic Paint
Seattle Public Library
The Sun
A Street Light
The Coolest Lamp IKEA Has

Post by Neal Mickey and Nicole Robert
Pictures Taken from Flickr

Aqua Vitae for Last Unit "Exploration"



Turgeano House: fluidity

Seattle Public Library

Disney Concert Hall

Atlantis Apartments: Arquitectonica

Birds Nest



As we have been living our lives in the earth, time goes and history flows, too. With this, the flow of water cannot be stopped by itself and all architectural history flows like water. From Stonehenge to Fallingwater, it is same as flow of history which includes that nobody will recognize before it happens. In other words, people will be able to recognize an architecture when an architecture is built as looking back to history.

By Kristina Ragan & Young Moon

Design Autobiography

image courtesy Andra MB on flickr

image courtesy Aws_Alan on flickr

image courtesy Rashunda on flickr

image courtesy T Andersson on flickr

image courtesy OZinOH on Flickr

image courtesy

image courtesy Spyros_Tav__"Smile : it's contagious" on Flickr

image courtesy Saskya on Flickr

image courtesy Flyian on Flickr

image courtesy Michael Finley on Flickr

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Explorations Unit Abstraction: The Theatre of Everyday Life

Everyday life with the Art Deco movement encouraged a materialistic trend that exists to this day. Architecture and science (aerodynamic studies of the time) defined daily life as well as movies which defined people's fantasies. The design of consumer products is then defined by this newfound demand. What's popular is seen in products rather than in structures. Cars and products made of converging geometric shapes with rounded corners reflect the speed of industry and innovation. Much like computers dictate what and how we lead our lives today cars were a driving force for what is designed and where it will go. The popularity of industry went to the point of popularizing the workplace or the workplace being the center of this industrial design. From Behren's AEG turbine facility we see how industrial buildings are made by architects and from this more formal and traditional buildings are made in this architectural style. The Bauhaus represents this movement to very pronounced block forms and rhythmic facets.
The notion of structures being made out of iron and steel relates back to the ancient Grecians who built structures out of stone to immortalize themselves. However this ideal is not immortalizing as machines must always be maintained and they are always cast aside for newer designs. The current consumer attitude can be traced to this past of emerging industrialism. A nice LCD TV bought today will be outdated in terms of innovation and design in six months. How will the design styles past the reflections unit be defined when they are so short lived due to the turnover rate of machines and technology? Forgotten machines and their turnover rate relates to the "mcmansions" we mass-produce today. Because consumers change their place of residence so frequently there is little demand for well-made structures. The mcmansions  are built for the "here and now" rather than for the future and progression of innovation. Consumers are also more willing to pay high money for a nice car or ipod rather than for a nice house or even a nice roof that will save them money in the long run. The theatre of everyday life is about exploring new functions of the everyday life rather than maintaining the functions of everyday life.  


Friday, April 17, 2009

Patina of Place: Reflections - Ethan Aiken

Artifact: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Furniture
Nature: Like some of Frank Lloyd Wright’s designs, some of his furniture also contained elements of nature.
People: The furniture was very sparse in his homes and designed more for the aesthetic and not for the use of people. This caused a few problems when people tried to live in them.
Material: Most of his furniture was made from natural materials.
Symbol: These pieces of furniture show the change that is occurring in the residential furniture. Furniture now is being designed to the room, instead of being made to serve any purpose.

Space: Crystal Palace
Nature: The greenhouse space is constructed primarily to house plants and other warm weather life. It has an impact on plant life (a good one) in a time of rapid industrial growth.
People: The people of this time period really enjoy these places because they become a grand place to hold parties and show off wealth. This impact is left in the minds of the lower classes.
Material: These buildings are made with the newfound materials, glass and iron. They are the primary reason that these types of structures exist. Without these technologies, buildings made primarily of glass would not be possible to construct.
Symbol: This building symbolizes man’s dominance over nature and their ability to capture living plants all year round. This leaves a new mark of superiority over nature.

Building: Marshall Field Warehouse
Nature: This building goes a lot against nature. It does not borrow any styles or themes, nor does it aid in the progression of nature.
People: This building was very important to people because it was a storage place for trade goods fro the Marshall Field department store.
Material: This building was built primary from stone, borrowing on the palazzo style from Italy.
Symbol: This building symbolizes the change to a society that focuses so heavily on trade and commerce. This idea is not new, but the level to which it is pursued is a great leap for society.

Place: Chicago
Nature: Though the city itself goes against nature in its industrialization, the architecture borrows a lot of styles and detailing from nature. Some ideas, such as leaves and trees, make a big impact on the detailing and bordering of buildings.
People: The people of Chicago embraced the changing times and were open to the new styles. The impact that they left set the bar for design style of America.
Material: Chicago employed a wide range of materials, spanning from new materials steel and glass to older materials such as concrete and stone.
Symbol: Chicago symbolized the pinnacle of architecture and designers. It was the ultimate place for advancement in the United States and (arguably) the world at this time.

Reflections Unit Abstraction: The Theatre of Everyday Life

The theatre of Everyday life in the new iron age brought people into contact with new forms of media and transportation that correlated with the creation of larger structures made of materials that blurred the lines of what is structural and what is decoration. 
New agora-like spaces are created by the french townhomes as they are built into each other adjacently. Because they exist in a public space they are grander and are made with a grander facade; an example of how the lines between upper and middle class are blurred. This blurring is also accomplished through the media in that books and magazines on culture and court life hearken to the past court etiquette manuals of Renaissance times. A new emphasis on court life is also brought on by the iron age, in that many first structures are created for the purpose of upper class social gathering. Glass as a new building material also brings on a focus on nature and nature as an avenue for court life. With the Crystal Palace of London 1851 large existing trees were built around rather than cut down so that nature is now seen within and around architecture. Perhaps architects were trying to say that architecture can dominate and live in harmony with the landscape. 

With Ledoux' Saltworks complex he seemed to have a vision to create a whole town out of the complex. This way of building a city from a "corporate" establishment can be related to the Greek cities that first formed first from military camps. Ledoux designed the complex with sun in mind as the semicircle is cleared out so the sun can radiate about. Ledoux said "A good environment makes for a good human being" ( With this complex it seems that architecture dictates the everyday life. 
Jefferson's Monticello is another classic-inspired self sustaining complex that manufactures and profits from its environment. 
Both of these complexes were made mostly of stone, concrete and brick.

If anything this period shows us how classic architecture may be more self sustaining than the iron age metropolises that were blooming. Because archtects seemed to focus first on creating the ultimate party house as well as creating structures for the machines, sustainability was sacrificed for the exploration of the new technologies that would challenge the classic city/town. 

Roth, Leland (2007). Understanding Architecture. Westview Press.
Blakemore, R. G. (2006). History of Interior Design and Furniture. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Royal Saltworks of Arc-et-Senans. Retrieved April 18, 2009, from Web site:

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Reflections: Junctions

‘Reflections’ is most emulated in the idea of stylistic junctions and conflicts between ancient revivals and modern materials through France, England, and the newly reformed United States. I think this section is called reflections because the nations looked back to the past for revivals and ideas for future designs, the reintroduction of the Gothic style, the interest in foreign merchandise from trade routes, and the iron and class combinations all helped to spur changes and junctions between styles.

Artifacts of influence in this junction of design styles and ideas appear as trade goods of foreign cultures such as Asian influence clothing and china ware, and the plans from ancient designs. When the trade route from Asia to Europe opened a whole new influx of ideas and inspirations appeared and was appealing to the people of Europe as the designers of both nations attempted to design in a new way. Asian countries were changing up designs from their own china and goods to be more appealing to the traders of Europe while still giving away a little of their design flair. A term, used especially from the inspiration of Japanese trade and woodblock art was called Japonisme.

Space was an important idea to the English, especially when talking about landscaping in the early part of Reflections, based on the classical ideas of Palatio: Indigo Jones and John Vanbrugh re-worked the idea of landscape architecture with the Queen’s House and landscapes of Castle Howard. The English idea was to use the natural part of nature to create beauty in design rather then make nature more ornate then it really was. This less formal idea was a junction in that is transferred the idea of ornate gardens that were ostentatious to the beauty of nature itself.

Buildings such as the Crystal Palace and many other buildings of “Glass and Iron” were junctions in how everyone thought about design from the building materials all the way down to the building forms themselves. Everyone was so used to the idea of concrete, stone, and other past building materials that it was a major culture shock to use the new materials that interfered with the ways of thinking about Design.

The place each epiphany or junction in architecture and design took place in was an influencing factor on what the change was. In the European nations when the trades started from Asia, the people were influence by the Asian culture and the Asians were influenced by the European culture in order to create more appealing products to the people of Europe from the trade route.

The beginning of junctions between the revival periods that brought on the House of Parliament in England and the revolution of new material with buildings such as the Crystal Palace was a direct symbol of change and things to come in the future of design. It was a symbol that design would continue to move forward rather than be stuck in the ways of ancients and older ideals.