Friday, April 17, 2009

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:

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