Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Circulation zone

Opus 5 - Voices


Although we don't use the metric system here, we use measurements daily in an architecture program. We have to figure out what size to construct our studio projects in relation to the scale of a person. Our measurements have to be exact in drafting. We even use it in drawing, using makeshift tools to figure out what size an object is in a sketch. Since the metric system is used in other countries, I think this word shows that our designs have to be able to translate across other cultures. You have to consider the perspective of other people when trying to perceive and understand your design.


The Basilica structure is the precedent for many buildings, especially the cathedral. "Saint Peter's and other early churches were clearly derived from the great imperial basilicas, but additional modifications were necessitated by the special needs of Christian worship" (roth pg. 282). As you can see in my sketch from class, the basic form of a circle was added on to over time. "Subsequent churches in Italy and other parts of the West tended to follow the pattern provided by the Constantinian basilicas" (roth pg. 282).The use of a square shape, central axis, cross shape, and the dome were experimented with over time in different regions.

It took the fusion of East and West to come to a final compromise of the different shapes. This fusion happened at the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul.


Hadrian's Villa from ancient Rome represents the word presence on two different levels. First, the fact that the villa was located right outside of the city, making it not "present." The political leaders used it as an escape from city life. Here, the rules of society didn't apply to them. Also, the villa is so large it has a huge presence in the area it stands. It shows off the extravagant lifestyle of the person that owns the villa compared with the commoners that surround them.


In Suzananne's class, we spent the week drawing 5 different scenes from our assigned building. I had the EUC so I chose important moments that are easily recognizable as from the EUC. A moment is something particularly special about a design, structure, or drawing. It's what kicks up a design an extra notch.

This relates to history class when learning about the pendentive. "Hagia Sophia was a physical representation of the fusion of empire and church, for to the Byzantine mind, the cube surmounted by a dome was a model of the universe, the earth covered with the dome of heaven" (roth pg.290). The goal was to create a dome structure that was even stronger and could bear more weight. This is a diagram of how the pendentive works:


Duality was important to me when designing my circulation zone for studio. I wanted to use this concept to create a place that could be used on multiple level, literally.

Duality was also important to early Christians. "During the early periods of persecution, Christians tried not to direct attention to themselves" (roth pg. 278). They met in peoples homes and burial tombs. These places not only served their regular function, but also that of a church. Later when the religion became the official of Rome, they had to create new structures that would meet all of the needs of the church. "The Christians required not only buildings that would accommodate large numbers of converts, but also enclosed spaces that would facilitate hearing the spoken word and chanted psalms" (roth pg. 279). In this age of sustainability, it's important for designs to work on multiple levels and be used for more than one thing.


The words of this week opus all have a strong connections to issues I've been dealing with in school. When building something in studio, visually designing something in our drawing classes, or learning about the past in history, these five words are important things to consider. Metric reminds us of the importance of accuracy in measurements and if a design has accurate presence in relation to a person. Presence and Moments have to do with creating something special that creates an impact in a design. Duality means taking these ideas and making something that can be used in multiple ways and has more than one meaning. We use precedents in the design world to see what people have done before us and how they used these different concepts. This helps us figure out how to build on what they have created and hopefully improve upon it.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Opus 4...Parts : Whole

Archetype, Prototype, Hybrid

An example of this phrase is "the orders." This refers to a series of columns that have been improved upon over time. First it started with the Greeks and resulted with a hybrid column from the Romans.

"The role of the orders was significant in defining spaces of the Greek interior; not only did they divide spaces horizontally but they were also instrumental in creating visual interest by the attention drawn to them vertically through decorative detail in the capitals and in the entablature" (Blakemore pg. 28). The Doric column created in Greece was the archetype when it comes to columns. They added details and made adjustments to the design with the next two columns, the Ionic and Corinthian. Then the Romans made their own changes and created the Tuscan Doric and and Composite column. The middle three are the prototypes while the last one is the hybrid, since it combines different aspects of the design.

We use this system in almost everything we design, whether in a drawing or a model. You have to create a series of sketch models and build off of that to get to your final design. The "Found in Translation" project is a good example of this.


I think that source is very similar to the idea of archetype, prototype and hybrid. When designing something you have to find a source to look back to and learn from it. This is evident in the evolution of the temple structure, first found in Greece.
"Perhaps as early as 1050 BCE, the crude form of the temple emerged, a wooden structure with upright columns completely around the central chamber" (Roth pg. 230). This is seen through the series of temples we learned about in History. The Temple of Hera at Paestrum had interior columns in the center of the building. However, 30 years later the Temple of Athena was built without interior columns.

Temple of Hera i

Temple of Athena


We first learned of the word entourage in Suzanne's drawing class. The objects you include around a subject is the "entourage." I did this in the following vignette drawn at caribou coffee:

As well as in this thumbnail drawn of the EUC:

I included the tables, chairs, and the bear head on the wall in the first drawing. In the thumbnail, I tried to give a sense of the environment by showing some of the tables, chairs, signs, and lighting. This helps create more ambiance and draws you into the image. This can also be seen in vase paintings from the ancient Greeks. "For example, in a satyr play, a deity reclines on a couch while frolicking satyrs encompass a flute player who sits on a klismos" (Blakemore pg. 39). They tried to include objects surrounding their subject in order to give a feel for the space. This also helps us learn more about the ancient Greeks, such as what their furniture was like.


Hierarchy is very important in design. It is shown by arranging objects in a certain order that places more importance on a certain one. Even something as simple as a power point presentation needs to show hierarchy. In Drafting, having a difference in line weight shows hierarchy. Darker lines are used for the lines of the object, while lighter weight lines are used for annotations on the side of the drawing. That way you notice the most important information first.

On a larger scale, the organization of the Acropolis is a good example of hierarchy. It begins with the smaller Temple of Athena Nike:

"Its delicate Ionic columns, only four at each end, contrast with the massiveness of the Doric columns of the next element to come into view, the entrance gate to the Akropolis, the Propylaia" (Roth pg. 232). It is much smaller compared to the Parthenon, which implies how much more important that building is.


The human brain perceives order whether it was intended or not. This is based on the gestalt principle that we learned about last semester. Therefore, almost anything is designed with some sense of order, whether a building or space. The Acropolis is an example of a space designed to create order. The buildings are positioned so that you see certain buildings when standing at a specific place. Mainly it was designed to move people during a ceremonial procession. "For those quadrennial occasions, pilgrims and celebrants gathered outside the Dipylon gate on the city's northwest side and formed a procession that moved along the street called Dromos, through the agora, and up onto the Akropolis" (Roth pg. 232). The people would celebrate the Goddess Athena every four years and make their way to the Parthenon. This is a good example of design having a purpose and yet still be delightful.

Monday, February 16, 2009

EUC thumbnails

These are thumbnail drawings of different moments from the EUC building, 1st floor.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Precedent Analysis


Johnson Wax Building by Frank Lloyd Wright, 1936

While searching for a building to choose for this projects, I came across the image of the "lily pad" columns in the second picture. This intrigued me so I decided to choose this building so that I can find out more about it. One interesting thing I've learned so far is that even though those columns are only 9 inches wide at the bottom, they can support 60 tons of weight. I wanted to choose a Frank Lloyd Wright design because we're visiting Falling Water. I think actually visiting one of his buildings will give some unique insight to help understand this structure. This building is located in Racine, Wisconsin and is the S.C. Johnson Company administration and research facility. The building is the face for one of the most successful companies and therefore is a symbol for innovation in America.

Saturday, February 14, 2009


Three sketch models for the passageway:


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Drafting-Pat's Chair

These are the plan, elevation, and section views of Pat's chair.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Watercolor Vignettes

These are the vignettes I did while "drinking and drawing." First I went to Panera Bread where I saw this couple. They were very quiet and didn't seem very happy. They were sitting in a booth and had a light right above them which create a soft ambiance. I loved all the colors in the fabrics/walls and tried to show that with colored pencil and watercolor.

The next people I drew were a younger girl and an older woman. They were there before and after I left. They talked constantly and seemed to be working on their laptops. Whatever they were working on must have been pretty important.

Last I went to Caribou coffee and got a nice white chocolate mocha. I drew a couple sitting by the window. They were around my age and were on their laptops. The guy had really poofy hair. The atmosphere at Caribou is very warm and comfortable, probably because of all the wood tones.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Opus 3: Consistency

I chose to title this opus "Consistency" because I felt all of these words have to do with that idea. Design needs to be consistent and make sense in it's context.


When drawing, its important to make your image accurate. If you're drawing a building, you want to make sure the size of the doors make sense in relation to the people in the drawing. In Suzanne's class we have been working on drawing scale figures. Another thing we practiced was conveying depth when drawing someone and making sure that sizes are correct. For example, in this drawing the feet are closer to me so therefore they are twice the size of the head. This technique can be used when drawing a building ("this wall is 3x the length of the window").

Scale was also important when constructing our wall for studio. I made sure that my scaled artifact was accurate to it's actual size. That helped me figure out what size to make the frame for it and where to place it on the wall.

We have learned in history how the Egyptians would use scale to show status and power. The pyramids at Giza are a perfect example of this mentality.


"When Napoleon sat at the foot of the pyramids, he reportedly calculated that there was enough material in the three to build a wall 3 meters high and 1 meter thick around the whole of France" (Roth pg. 197). The monumental pyramids rise far above the surrounding city and give a sense of power.


I found that drawing vignettes was a good lesson in creating unity. We had to include part of the surroundings of our subjects, the "entourage." Putting in these extra elements really makes the drawing feel more real and cohesive.

The ancient Greeks also knew how to create unity in their buildings. They were the first to incorporate the porch, court and hearth in all buildings. "Aside from this specialized room, the house consisted of a small cobblestone court open to the sky, with a series of rooms opening to it" (Roth pg. 226). Having these three elements in a home or public building makes the structure feel more harmonious and unified. Almost all homes built today include those three areas, which shows how influential the Greeks were.


We use section cuts in drafting in order to show information you can't tell in other views. I chose this section cut of a pyramid at Giza to illustrate this. We can't tell what's going on inside the pyramid by just looking at it. "The cross section reveals the changes in the design, with the first proposed burial chamber deep below the pyramid, the second shifted to a position above the initial layers of the stone blocks, and the final burial chamber shifted to a point nearly at the center of the mass" (Roth pg. 199).

We do the same thing with our section cuts of Pat's chair. It allows us to understand exact measurements and how the structure works.

In History we have read about how early civilizations were influenced by eachother through trade. These influences are shown in their furniture and buildings. The Egyptians were influenced by places in the Middle East. Across from Egypt over the Mediterranean were the Greeks who got ideas from Egypt. According to Plato, "Whatever the Greeks acquire from foreigners is finally turned by them into something nobler" (Roth pg. 215). Even though there are geograpical borders, no boundaries really exists when it comes to translating designs into other cultures. The Greeks believed that they were basically the center of the world and had extra protection because they were surrounded by water. I've drawn a map based on an ancient map from Greece:


Vignettes are all about showcasing a scene and making it special. If you're drawing a vignette, you kind create an imaginary frame around the sketch. The Temple of Karnak's design reminds me of this. The two sides of the building make you focus on the center and wonder what is going on there. In history we discussed how this temple represents religious and social hierarchy and how only certain people were aloud inside. Like a vignette, this building combines those ideas in a striking composition.

Here are some of the vignettes I drew in Suzanne's class. These show the mood of each of the situations. The first couple were very quite and reserved, even the colors of their clothes were drabby. The second one shows more communication and emotion between the people.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Scale figures

All of these drawings are examples of scale figures. These artists were found on urbansketchers.com

Greg Betza

Wil Freeborn

Ira Robbins

Laura Frankstone

Helena Monteiro

Monday, February 2, 2009

Artifact Vignettes

These are the artifacts created by my classmates, who are modeling them.




Watercolor & Vignettes

My first attempts at drawing vignettes and painting in watercolor. So far, I like!