Saturday, February 28, 2009

[Mac]ro to [Mic]ro

definition: porch - the entrance of a structure court - the area surrounding a structure hearth - the important structure (heart of a piece)

In Design Theory & History, we used the concept of porch, court and hearth for most of the first unit. The Greeks formed the system as they created temples for their gods. In these situations, the porch would be the entrance or gate into the series of buildings, the court being the area or columns surrounding the important structure and the hearth is the main temple. An example of this system is the Greek Acropolis: Athena Nike (porch), Propylaia (court), Parthenon (hearth).

The Greeks have influenced other cultures more than anyone else and this form of architecture has lasted through centuries and will continue through time. This continuation is portrayed through an example that comes from my home state of Rhode Island. The Rhode Island State House incorporates each element: the front section with columns is the entrance or the porch, the clear land around the building and the hill that it is sitting on is the court, and the overall building is the hearth. This system is different than the Acropolis in that the state house the system as itself, whereas the Acropolis was a series of buildings together forming a somewhat of a community and system in itself.


definition - the act of combining parts or elements to form a whole (

Everything has composition because everything is complex and never labeled as just one. Even simple forms might be constructed by only one medium, the meaning of the form is also included. All of the projects that we make for studio are a composition of multiple elements. In every project, we have different components that eventually come together and create an overall product or composition. For the passageway: black + white projects, we constructed a model from two colors, a linear object, a word, a story and its meaning. This model, however, is should not stop there. During the passageway critique, Stoel brought up this concept through the rhythms presentations. He explained how, as designers, we need to look beyond those principles and dig deeper into the meaning of rhythm. To show this, he asked for each presenter to create the "rhythm" their projects convey, whether its stomping, humming, clapping, etc. This created a whole other concept in the overall composition of their projects.

A more everyday example of composition is simply the elements of a daily meal. For one of Design Drawings beginning exercises, we were to draw from memory what we had for dinner the prior night. For me, it was a salad, a glass of milk and later a bowl of cereal, which is a together is a unique piece of composition. Using the salad as my composition, I entered the cafeteria, picked up a bowl and fork and gathered lettuce, croutons, bacon bits, shredded cheese, dry noodles, and some balsamic vinaigrette dressing. All of these ingredients formed my salad, or composition of delight. In drawing form, I drew my dinner as a contour using pen and adding watercolor, that in itself a composition of drawing techniques.

"Art does not render the visible : rather it makes visible"
--Paul Klee (Lockard, 25)

definition - a drawing or plan that outlines and explains the parts, operation, etc., of something (

In Design Drawing, we learned about various types of diagrams that explain various elements of a building. A plan, section and elevation, for example, were developed in order to construct a building using symbols and conventions like a center line, dotted lines for overhangs, dimension systems, and material indications. These elements together help communicate to any viewer, commonly an architect or contractor, how a building is to be built. William Kirby Lockard explains these forms of diagrams in his "Drawing As a Means to Architecture". Although it is needed that a diagram is quantitative, it is also important to consider that they should be qualitative as well to show how various functions in a building are similar or different. Lockard believes that "these design drawings could also indicate public and private spaces, communal and individual space, hard and soft space, dark and light space, and staff and public circulation" (Lockard, 25). This would improve the viewers understanding of how the building is designed. Lockard and E.T. White, in "Space Adjacency Analysis", explain the four different types of general diagrams. The four types being : matrix, bubble, zoning, and analytical.

Matrix Diagram : a simiple two dimensional grid which is used to determine the relative importance of the proximity of building spaces to one another in the facility (White, 20)
Bubble Diagram : converts the decisions which were recorded in the matrix into a different and more useful graphic form with each building space represented by a circle or bubble (White, 20)
Zoning Diagram : additional layers of information are superimposed over the bubble diagram sorting the spaces into different groupings based upon various sorting criteria (White, 20)
Analytical Diagram : a plan drawing that incorporates labels such as titles of objects, symbols of trees, bushes, sidewalks, etc, and highlighting private or public spaces by light and dark or positive and negative space, just to name a few (Lockard, 28)

For Design Drawing, we were to create four diagrams within our building groups. I constructed an analytical diagram of the Ferguson building. I drew the Ferguson building and a majority of its immediate surroundings. In my diagram, I included labels for the names of the buildings and streets, symbols markings trees and bushes, and various lines and color representing sidewalks, crosswalks, parking lots and roads.


definition - a strong effect produced on the intellect, feelings, or conscience; the first and immediate effect of an experience (

In Design Theory & History, we were given the assignment with two fellow students to research and create a board for a specific building. I worked with Rebecca Ladd and Kathy Blair to present information on the Cologne Cathedral in Cologne, Germany. Cologne Cathedral is a great piece of Gothic architecture that began construction in the early 13th century and was complete in the year 1880. The cathedral is
one of the best-known architectural monuments in Germany, and Cologne's most famous landmark. It was the tallest structure in the world, until the completion of the Washington Monument in 1884, but it remains one of the world's largest churches. Because of its enormous twin spires, which are the second tallest in the world, it also presents the largest facade of any church in the world. The cathedral stands 157 meters tall, 144.5 metres long and 86.5 meters wide in the middle of the tightly packed city, allowing it to be seen and have an enormous religious experience when approached. This incredible feeling is not restricted only to the outside of the structure, the inside is equally amazing. The interior is made up of grand arches, enormous stained-glass windows all around allowing great amounts of light to shine through, flying buttresses, a large center isle with rows of seating on either side. The cathedral holds one of the very highest Gothic vaults in the world. The impressions and religious feelings one will experience in the presence of this Gothic cathedral is incredible and unavoidable.


definition -
any small section of a larger structure or whole, considered as a unit ; an individual or minute part (

Detail is a great and important quality of design. If a designer does not look at every little detail of their design, elements may be lost. Most people have a tenancy to overlook details and end up losing a lot of the composition. This is why in Design Drawing, we were given the assignment to look closely to the details of our assigned buildings. My building, Ferguson, had many unique qualities that, when viewed closely, is very important to the overall structure. Details like the windows, arches linking Ferguson to Curry, the stairwell or the stairwell lights. They are qualities of the building that if one was not to search for and recognize, they would never notice them. That is what looking closely for detail entails. For my detail drawing, I chose to capture the uniqueness of the stairwells. There are various stairwells in the entire building, but the one that I chose was the stairwell connecting the first and second floor from inside the building. My initial reaction while walking down the stairs was I felt like I was in a dungeon as it is a tight circle stairwell surrounded of brick and not well lit. This detail is specific to only the Ferguson building.

Another way of capturing detail is by using different drawing techniques. An exercise in Suzanne's Design Drawing was to draw friends around us by blind contour, meaning by not looking at your paper while drawing. This type of drawing is very challenging as it forces you to really concentrate on the subject you are drawing and think about where your pen is moving on the paper at the same time. For me, it is very challenging, however, I enjoy it because it forces me to pay close attention to the details of the figure, and it can also give you a good laugh when you are done! The watercolor is something I added after to highlight certain qualities of the people and create more interest.

[IN SUMMARY]...I feel like all the words from this weeks opus involve the deeper meaning of objects around us. Never would anyone look at the Rhode Island State House and see that it is composed of Greek studies of porch , court and hearth. Composition is commonly considered, but not always deeply thought through; as I bet all of the "rhythm" presenters most likely took great interest in uniting all their ideas, but never did they think of creating an actual rhythm. Diagrams are not always fully planned out either, as certain details such as
public and private spaces, communal and individual space, or dark and light space are not usually considered for further understanding of design. Impressions are the initial reactions to these deeper meanings and looking closer at objects and picking up all the little details will really help in being a better designer.

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