Thursday, March 26, 2009

Alternatives Unit Summary


As the course of the semester moves on, we have continued to follow Leland M. Roth and Robbie G. Blakemore in furthering our understanding of architecture and interior design. After foundations have been set, we can now look at alternatives to elements that have made up today's design world and notice that changes are about to set forth.

[millennial observations]

By the end of the third century, the Roman Empire basically fell apart. This highlighted the growing importance of Christianity and the church. The church represented the world itself and its required to bring order from the crazy world surrounding the community of the chaos of the governments. Now that Christianity has become a major leading force in Italy, churches like "Old" St. Peter have become a seat of Christian communities around the world. "Old" St. Peter has a large courtyard in the front, basilica in back, a northex (front porch), and cloister (gathering space). Worlds around this time are also beginning to collide : the east and the west. An example of this is through the Basilica San Marco of c. 828 with its dome features, openings and overall architecture. In France, churches were first known as Romanesque. An example being the St. Sernin with its arches and plasters (columns against a surface), making it feel wealthy and Romanesque. With the fall of the empire and churches becoming more important, some churches in France were actually known for tourism. The Ste. Madeline of c. 1120-32 in Vezelay, France was also referred to as the "pilgrimage" church because a large number of people would visit it. It intended to bring awe, but to be up close to it, if gives a whole other level of impression as you see details, such as the snakes, that you could not see from further away. Details in the head of the church also developed as they occupied mass scale, solidity and a fair amount of movement in the structures --- more urban designs. An example of this would be the Ste. Marie from c. 1130 in Souillac, France. A great change that the people of the third century wanted to achieve was less chaos and more order, which is what Romanesque and this generation tried to do.

[reaching heavenward]

In Italy, the current events had similar impacts, however, a different form of architecture, known as Gothic, developed in their churches. The San Miniato al Monte from c. 1018-62 of Firenze, Italy is a great example of Gothic architecture. It has pattern and surface decoration, dark and light stone, geometry being a language, and usually black and white coloring. These designs were only found in Italy as designers wanted more elaborate surface decoration and try to create a sense of larger scale by placing the cathedrals in front of open spaces. This form of architecture strove to bring order from chaos the most out of all other designs throughout the east and west cultures. As many of the buildings relay, learning about the people that lived in these places was very big at this time. The Cathedral of Amiens in Notre Dame is a great Gothic cathedral that stands out extremely with its large, massive form and images Heaven with its encoded center. In the broadest terms, the Gothic enterprise was greatest to reaching heavenward and attempting to create a better world for most of Europe through multiple cathedrals.

[duomo : the cathedral of Florence]

The Santa Maria del Fiore occupied the largest dome and moved beyond the ancient world models like the Panthenon and created this huge cathedral in the center of a city. Its enormous scale has made the Duomo of Florence is a cheif landmark of the city of Florence. It was a symbol for what Florence can be. The cathedral highlighted many aspects of the Renaissance and change in history : rebirth of antiquity, rebirth of individualism (humanism), rediscovery of the natural world, and glorification of the state as a work of art. At this time of the Renaissance, alternatives to the ancient world are heightening as there is a rise of the merchant class and new images. At this time, the Renaissance created an alternative of viewing the world with destiny versus institution, justifying the importance of image and order, new private chapels, and an unified center to a city. These are the matters that started to change the world of architecture.

[venezia : villas : renaissance]

The Renaissance in Italy was very unique and different than many other places in the eastern and western worlds. Venezia, the city of floating stone, continued the Renaissance tradition by bringing elements of design together to create something that "appears right", however, the ideas were far from normal. Instead, they created an entire city atop water supported by logs. Although ideas did not seem balanced and were not exactly "bringing things to rest" like the Renaissance aimed for, features will still pleasing to the eye and different. Creating these waterways, bridges and sidewalks formed a sort of rhythm or symmetry that was unique and allowed different transportation and trade that the city had to accustom to.

[testing boundaries + breaking rules]

Moving in the Baroque age, we start to see rebellion as architecture start breaking rule after rule of traditional design. There are also distinct connections of the east and west coming together, with one instance being the pendentive design. The dome form is of the ancient world and design continues to revive the past, but at the same time it is trying to seek a new world, for example the San Pietro in Montorio. The New Sacristy at S. Lorenzo is an example of challenging the rules by moving beyond the surface of the wall and "pushing the ceiling up" and providing sculptures. Also in the Capella Sistina by Michaelangelo, along with other buildings of the time, the artists seem to being a lack of clarity between the architectures' layers, where walls end and where the ceiling begins. In 1525 Michaelangelo created the Laurentian Library vestibute that seemed to break more rules than one: appearance of water cascading, circulations space of the stairs look like a waterfall symbolizing the knowledge pouring forth from the library, and the fact of blending together the interior and exterior with the window frames being on the inside. Michaelangelo was a great influence on Baroques new ideas, testing boundaries and breaking rules. Landscape architecture also became popular as they were the "interiors of cities". The Giardino di Boboli is a great example of landscape architecture that also encompasses elements of Baroque through its strong sense of axis, gravel avenues, a pool, statues and garden structures for enjoyment, and water telling where axises cross of end.

[outside the box : a holistic view]

Thinking in different perspectives definitely gave new ideas to architecture and progression of design. The importance of emotion, light and theater that greatly influenced many elements of Baroque shown through projects such as the Trevi Fountain or the Capella Cornaro. The Piazza di S. Pietro by Bernini supported the growing interest of Baroque leaders and providing open spaces that connected boulevards in the city plan. The city plan of the piazza brought order and created a sense of power structure because it gave little decisions of individuals. Pieces of the piazza directed where people would walk and drive. These pieces used a strong sense of material creating an overall holistic design.

The [alternatives unit] was all about change and new ideas : how the ancient world outs itself into a new world. Fall of the empire, with the world trying to pick itself back up and start fresh. New ideas and rules are what I feel this time period was labeled as, even though Baroque was the only age that seemed to accept it. That is why I feel Venice, the floating city, is a great representation of the alternatives unit. It is a design like no other then or even now. The architecture brought a new concept to the world of design.

No comments: