Monday, October 25, 2010

Point: Alternatives

Why do we have rules? Most would say because rules create order and if we did not have rules then everything would be chaotic. But then again not everyone follows those rules. Depending on the circumstance sometimes it’s ok to break the rules and break free from the every day norm. I feel that if you have a good understanding of regulations then why not push the boundaries and move forward. If we did not have people like this then in the world of architecture we might still be living under four beams and a roof.

Coming out of the Dark ages people saw light. They wanted to reform design and bring out an age of enlightenment called the Renaissance. During this time designers and architects revived classicism as they saw it. No longer was classical design about temples and gods but it was more for the everyday life. One example would be the Ospedal Innocenti, which was built by Brunalesque. The structure shows rhythm through columns and ornamentation as well as repetition and unity. Although many of the same aspects of classicism remain in the building its low lying form has a more humanistic feel to it rather than the idea of making man feel inferior as many of the classical Greek buildings did. Another important aspect of the architecture in the Renaissance was the fact that separation was important. Not only separation of spaces but also separation of private and public. Palazzo Medici was a prime example of reviving classical design and separating public areas from private. In the design of Palazzo Medici there is a lot of bordering and bounding of the exterior surfaces, this is one way they created space between the different areas. Medici also built the structure upward into three stories to emphasize the disconnection of levels. The design although separated is rhythmic and ruled by the needs of man. Towards the mid 1500’s is where we start to see change in the rules of classical detail. Linear turned into curvilinear. This is evident in the Laurentian Library Vestibule designed by Michaelangelo. In the staircase leading to the library it is detailed with curved lines that push outward secretly breaking the rules of classic design in the subtlest way. It is as if the staircase is spilling out the knowledge that is to come in the future.

From subtle curved lines came movement and action no longer was still life an option. Everything broke out of the box in the Baroque design period. Here is why it was so important to understand the rules of classicism, because if someone had tried to design a building without knowing the restraints and rules of design then everything would have been a chaotic mess. However, designers and architects understood those rules therefore they could break them with great success. Take for example Michaelangelo’s David, sculpted during the revival of classicism. It was beautiful in its simplicity, but very restrained. It was like David was in this box that he was forever encased in. Then Came along Bernini and he decided to break David’s box and give him life and movement. Baroque was about theatricality and dramatic light. One of the best examples of the Baroque time period is the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles. The design incorporated dramatic lighting through gilded statues, crystal chandeliers, mirrors, and floor length windows. The space was a living stage. The same design aesthetics were present in the Rococo period as well. Although I feel they emphasized ornament and feminism more than Baroque. One example of Baroque would be Amalienburg. It has a very simple exterior however; the interior is quite a theatrical surprise. It has a delicate encrustation of silver filigree from wall to wall and mirrors adorn the interior. I feel that in this time period people lived by the words of Shakespeare, “ All the worlds a stage and all the men and women merely players.”

Through the ages we have developed ideas and a set of rules that correlate with these ideas. However, the people who break those rules are the ones that will be remembered in the end. They are the people who said, “screw reform” and revolted to come up with their own set of rules. Many do not succeed but those who do will write the books for the future.

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