Monday, May 4, 2009

coming full circle

definition - a social group of any size whose members reside in a specific locality, share government, and often have a common cultural and historical heritage ; a locality inhabited by such a group (

Communities are everywhere from an apartment complex to a certain group of friends to an actual town. To give a general example, over the course of first year interior architecture, we have all formed a special bond that has made us our own little community apart from the rest of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. To refer more to learning of this week, Leland M. Roth reflects upon rising communities of the later 1900s. Roth points out how Euro-American Modernism accomplished and reaffirmed communities. He defined a community as being a place to "create environments for groups of people living and working together in ancestral traditional ways" (Roth, 607). New projects were being conducted to rehouse entire villages, which started the creation of housing complexes. What made housing complexes so successful is that they have "a consistent design that results in a related family of forms and [...] an appropriateness of scale and an organization of spaces that arise from the ethos of those who will live there " (Roth, 607). Areas that are sometimes seasonal also tend to create communities, for example renting houses at a seaside resort creates a certain community in summer months. Roth also talks about smaller communities by mentioning Seaside, Florida. In this community, designers Andre Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk wanted to create a "community based on movement on foot" (Roth, 607) and was able to achieve this by shortening the distances between buildings. This seaside example shows that communities can be formed in all sorts of ways to accomplish different types of communities.

An original community that I have experienced during the summer months is in Oak Bluff's, Martha's Vineyard. Oak Bluffs is a fairly small town on the island of Martha's Vineyard and in the middle of the town, there is a circle community of what is now called gingerbread houses. These houses have been around for decades and have created a community within themselves separate from the rest of the small town of Oak Bluffs. It is a very interesting place to visit as it is simply a small circle of petite houses that are designed and shaped just like gingerbread houses. They are owned by people who like to decorate and paint their houses in all different colors. Similar to the Seaside community in Florida, the gingerbread community houses are located within inches from one another, not allowing for any automobiles, just walking and socializing with those on the porch next to yours. This circle is so much of a community that they even have a community common area in the center of the circle neighborhood where announcements are given and small events are held. The small community is also equipt with its own mini church for the 80 or so residents.

definition - something new or different introduced (

In architecture and design, new ideas are usually always introduced, even if some aspects are borrowed from previous times. The most recent and commonly talked about innovation in architecture since the late 1900s is the idea of sustainability. According to Roth, considering sustainability in architecture is by "designing architecture to support and facilitate human community [that] arises from the social concern for the safety and continuance of the human family" (Roth, 608). What Roth means is that designers and architects are now looking towards the concern of the planet and using building materials that require less intrusive extraction of the raw materials and less toxic production processes, and less consumption of nonrenewable energy. The Proximity Hotel right here in Greensboro, North Carolina Built is recognized as the "greenest" hotel in America as it uses 40% less energy and 30% less water than a comparable hotel. The Proximity features ultra efficient materials and the latest in building technology with Otis' Gen2 elevators, which reduces net energy usage by capturing the system’s energy and feeds it back into the building’s internal electrical grid and 100 solar panels on the roof generate energy to heat water. In addition, it incorporates oversized windows which allow abundant natural light and fresh air. More improvements like these are what researchers believe could change the future for the better.

definition - the position of someone who is appointed by an organization or group to supervise the affairs of that group at certain functions (

As the Proximity is a great example of where the future needs to be, all the talk about sustainability is greater than the actual effort. The Proximity is a great example of a start to stewardship. It is a building that took all measures to create a completely sustainable building. Massey relates to sustainability as an overriding issue that “has grown in importance on a global level, and for the field of design generally. As awareness about issues such as scarce resources and global warming is raised, so government policy in the developed world calls for a more responsible use of precious materials and energy” (Massey, 219). The use of different materials from renewable sources and material processes are in demand, especially with interior designers. For example, some woods are being banned to stop deforestation, so other materials like bamboo, which is renewable, is more desired. More architects and designers are starting to be stewards, but others also need to take hold of these principles and really start changing the world around us. Otherwise, this eco-friendly goal is never going to be achieved and the earth is never going to be saved.

definition - The quality or condition of being authentic, trustworthy, or genuine or not corrupted from the original (

Authenticity is a great quality to have as it can achieve personal independence, growth and overall, a better self. To connect these ideas to design and what I have learned from first year interior architecture is that I believe authenticity = personal style. Teachers and fellow students can give their opinions and tell me what they would change about projects, but in the end, its something that I create and design. All designs must make sense to the project assignment, but also to me. I need to like the final product to be able to turn it in. Sometimes I feel like this aspect of design and my style growth has been lost in some of my projects because I took too many of the ideas from teachers to try and understand what they were saying. These projects ended up being more of other peoples design styles rather than my own. Once I realized this, I was able to make a compromise, some turning out in a success, others not. Successes and failures are always hard to call, but I feel I have taken the time to distinguish a style that is represented in most of my work. In the end, authenticity is what having your own design and style is all about. Its original -- its your own -- its something that signifies how you see things and that can, but never should be changed.

For my Sacred Space model project, I came up with an idea that I loved and I followed my gut. To me it was extremely successful in all ways and requirements of the project, but the overall success or failure is unknown yet:

The other part to the Sacred Space project was to create a board that resembled our design in many ways. Even though most of the ideas that came through to the final product were mine to begin with, I took into consideration suggestions that were given to me early on in the plan critique. I feel this product has also resulted in a high level of success:

linking material cut-outs to where they are located in the room shown by the perspective - an idea I created.

[IN SUMMARY]...architecture is something that has been around for thousands of years and as time goes on, problems and changes come about. Over the years, architecture has been the provider for forming communities, starting innovations, prompted stewards and overall creating numerous authenticities. From the start of the ancient times to modernism now, these facts hold true. It has made one of the biggest impact on human lives whether or not everyone realizes it. Completely the full circle from the words of Roth, "Architecture is the art we cannot escape; it is over, under, and around us virtually every second of our lives. [...] It [is] impossible to say how architecture around the globe will develop in the century now opening -- except to say that it will be ever changing and stimulating" (Roth, 612).

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