History and Theory of Design
September 6, 2010
“Architecture, the unavoidable art, why is it unavoidable?” “Because… when u walk into it…. It HURTS!” This is what I have learned thus far in Iar 222. A very good lesson indeed, I have numerously walked into walls or stubbed my toe on them before however, it never crossed my mind that what I was walking into was the unavoidable art that we are studying so diligently in IARc.
As we move through the unit we discover how to look at design and architecture. As good designers we learn to consider how the structure will be affected by the outdoors, or how the outdoors might affect the structure as seen with Frank Lloyd Wright’s Falling Water House. We see by example through natural architects like the nautilus how their designs can withstand the test of time and how they keep living records of their history just as we do, but in a different fashion. Other aspects of design to reflect on as we learn through history are how materials evolve from the simplest like rock and wood to complex materials like glass and steel. Then we observe how those materials revolutionize design and our way of living.
One of the greatest things about design and the history of design is the cross-cultural experience we get from it. We get to learn how the events that occurred in a certain time and place effected the design of that era which then influenced design in the future. An example of cross-cultural exchanges would be textiles from Europe that had influences from the east embedded throughout the design. Materials were a huge factor in altering design that which were also exchanged from different cultures. Starting with some of the basic materials like rock used to make one of the earliest structures, Stonehenge. Rock lead to the invention of simple forms of concrete and from there materials evolved drastically.
A building may be attractive and has a purpose but what if it is not stable? A building must meet all the requirements to be successful. It needs to have commodity or a purpose, firmness, and delight. Without one of them then the building has failed. Buildings also have to be unique and be able to stand the test of time. This is where great designers are defined. Architects like Frank Lloyd Wright, Greene and Greene, Corbusier, Zaha Hadid, and many others pushed the boundaries of design while meeting all three requirements and making there own style. They have inspired young designers to do better and push the envelope more and see where our creativity takes us. Unlike all of the mcmansions we see being thrown up everywhere come from poorly designed and money hungry contractors, who are only interested in spitting out poorly designed houses. They are not concerned with building homes that are unique, sustainable, or sometimes even sturdy. This is why we study those who impact the world with great design so one day we don’t aspire to mass-produce land fill. When we design it should be there for life.
In conclusion, this first segment of class has already inspired me to look beyond what is right in front of my face, it has taught me how to see in many different ways, to search through history, and to evolve. However, the most important is to watch where I walk so I don’t run into the unavoidable art.