Thursday, April 16, 2009

Chiaroscuro in the Reflections Unit

Cenotaph for Isaac Newton 1784
This structure was designed for Sir Isaac Newton. Its form was derived from the “round tumulus mausoleums of the Romans” (Roth, 450). It was built to have a cylindrical base supporting a pure hemispherical dome. This structure was going to be built by Etienne-Louis 
Boullee to explain Newton’s planetary mechanic theories.

The upper-shell was penetrated by pinpricks of daylight. The interior of the dome was black, and therefore the light showing through was a recreation of a “vault of the heavens”. This effect created by this building mirrors a camera-obscura effect because the tiny holes are projecting an image of the sky along the interior walls of this vault

Houses of Parliament London 1870
These Houses of Parliament are a primary example of the Gothic revival during the period of eclecticism. They were built after a fire destroyed the palace of Westminster. This design was the result of a competition, built by Sir Charles Barry and Augustus Pugin. The classical symmetrical plan was based on functional needs, but the exterior resembles a gothic cathedral.

In these houses, there are ten internal light courtyards. These courtyards utilize natural light. The light that comes through these courtyards allows for penetration through the windows of the halls and offices, etc. Courtyards provide fresh air and daylight for the building.

Crystal Palace London 1851

The Crystal Palace was built for the world exposition of 1851 by Joseph Paxton, who had previously designed greenhouses. This structure used the new technologies of iron and glass to overcome great expansions. The cast iron pieces were painted blue to merge with the sky above, and Paxton used glass to create translucency

Paxton created a transparent building that removed all visual limits, making the building seem nonexistent. This concept breaks the barrier of the building. His use of illusion mirrors the concept of illusion used in the previous unit, enforced by perspectives, to extend space. This effect that Paxton created served a new purpose as something that was very inviting and comforting within his space.

Robie House Chicago 1909
The Robie House was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright as the finest of all of his prairie houses, intended as a residence. Wright uses the technique of creating rooms within rooms, by subdividing his space not by interior walls, but by using extended horizontal lines throughout his rooms. He designed the rooms so that there was not one particular orientation, and every wall functions the same.

Not only in the Robie house, but in all of Wright’s buildings, he exploits natural light and hides artificial light. All artificial lighting in his spaces are hidden, so one never knows where it comes from. Wright also uses manipulation of windows, all sizes, to allow for natural light and allow inspiration to come from nature rather than technology.

Casa Mila Barcelona 1910
This building is based off of human forms and inspiration. It includes a singular line of fluidity among all its pieces. This building is an apartment building, and Gaudi designed every aspect of each space. All about organic shapes and naturalism, the building creates irregular walls that resemble plant systems and the exterior looks like a cliff by the seas of Barcelona. The balconies resemble tangled sea kelp. So overall, the building is inspired by the fluidity of the ocean.

This complex has four light courts, allowing light to penetrate into the building. It is said to “play in the sunlight” through its use of tiles that reflect sunlight in different ways. The organic form plays with light by creating a variety of organic shadows depending on the time of day and the direction of sunlight.

By Neal Mickey and Nicole Robert

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