Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Reading Comprehension 6


The Arts and Crafts style was a period in time that could be seen all over the world. It was an era where hand made items ruled and the use of the machine was not accepted. The style was to embrace natural materials and enhance nature. A home that portrays this style period best is the Gamble House by the Greene brothers. The house pulls in inspiration from local nature like the live oaks of California as well as inspiration from the orient. The Greene brothers took a lot of the design from Chinese and Japanese architecture and created their own style. The home was inspired by nature and looks as if it is growing out of the landscape. This idea was definitely one of the Asian cultures. They embraced nature as an everyday life style and the Greene’s wanted to bring that concept to their design.


(Barcelona Pavilion)

If you honestly think about how we live our lives today, would we be able to manage everything without the technologies we have developed? I’m not saying it is not possible to survive without a cell phone but life, as we know it would be chaotic without it. Our society has come to an age where we have completely accepted the machine as a way of life. In the late 19th century and early 20th century they were just beginning an era where the machine replaced everyday tasks and not everyone was thrilled.

The Bauhaus was the first to say that bringing in the use of machine was ok. Especially if it was the perfect blend of man made and machine made. They also coined the idea that in modern design less is more. A great example of these concepts is the Barcelona Pavilion designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. He had a very minimalistic approach to the design where he used partitions to separate spaces instead of whole rooms. He also focused on the materials he used, where he used the blend of man made and machine. For instance the Barcelona Chairs that are in the space have metal legs that were machine made and meant to look as if they are too thin and light to hold the man made leather and solid looking cushioning. Mies van der Rohe accepted the machine and used it for what he could not create with his hands. He did not solely rely on the machine but embraced it for the technology that it provided him. Many more designers also embraced the machine and that is why today we have the advanced technology that we do. Because instead of impeding the advancement of machinery the majority of people welcomed it and celebrated the products that it gave us.


Page 570 Roth (Douglas House)
I chose the Douglas house because of its stark colors and then I transformed the interior using reds and yellows.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Alternatives Summary

Reading the alternatives points from Anna, Kayla, and Daniel was interesting because before all of them had very different ideas of the reflections unit, but in this one they all had a lot of similarities in what they discussed. Anna went on about the cathedrals and how they shaped the society around them, and then further discusses how basic shapes began to take new forms. Both Kayla and Daniel discussed the same idea about the shapes. Then Kayla went on to talk about the how the Renaissance was a time where design was reflected by society as a whole and how architecture resembles the past but is reflected differently. Daniel also goes on to explain the renaissance and how it revives classical design.

Reflections summary

Reading other people’s responses was an interesting experience. It helped me yto understand that not everyone interprets things in the same manner. Especially when the subject is so subjective. Anna, Daniel, and Kayla all had very different views on the reflections unit. Anna interpreted the unit as being a cycle of life, cleverly tying in a conversation from the Lion King. She talked about how our cycle of life can directly relate to design, which makes a lot of sense. We start off with a set of rules, we eat them up and throw them out, then we find a new source, and eventually the original design comes back around, and the cycle continues. Then Kayla saw the reflections unit being about the actions of a cartwheel. We start in one position (in the box), then we break out of the box and eventually land back in the box, however the box is not completely the same yet still has some similar rules of the first box. Both ways of looking at design are different yet in the end the same concept applies. Daniel also discussed breaking boundaries like Kayla did; however he talked more specifically about one building, the Crystal Palace. He related all the rules and breaking of the rules and how they applied to that specific place. This method really helps to define key points that are in this section. Overall, I found it very helpful to read other peoples interpretations of the reflection unit because it gives me a broader idea of this design period.


Monday, November 8, 2010

Point: Reflections

Cycles are apart of our world, they happen in almost every aspect of our lives. Even in the design world. They begin with a revolution, or a drastic change in the mentality of the people in that time. Change is needed to evolve and transform the way we live. However, as cycles are circular we always tend to revisit the past and develop from what once was the dominant style. We don’t necessarily replicate the past, but rather borrow the rules and ideas of the time period. Even modernism borrows on some concepts of the past, even if it is merely the fact that a wall can define a space, the idea has been thought of and is not revolutionary but has just been revisited to further develop the future.

Take for example Colonial America; we are in a new nation with new precedents, new rules, and endless opportunities to be discovered. The new nation needed a style that would represent firmness, boldness, and strength to show the world that America could stay true to its foundation of democracy. This style would have to look back to the classical world, where architecture was perfected and the idea of order and strength could be symbolized in a column. The best example of colonial America would be Monticello, built by Thomas Jefferson. The design of the building represents the pristine idea of the perfect temple on top of a hill. It takes many of its architectural qualities from classical styles like Palladio. The outside is boasts porticos that take advantage of the beautiful scenery and the top is adorned with a familiar centralized dome. The dome may be a symbol that has been used in the past however it holds new meaning to the American people. Before they were free, they were a repressed nation held under strong jurisdiction from England, but through revolutions and revolts they became a free nation and the dome represented equality for all men. This classical reinterpretation was used all over the young nation to set a new standard of power for the world.

This initiative of borrowing ideas to develop new ones did not just stop with the American Revolution, nor did it start there. In the 19th century not only were they developing new materials like glass and steel but they were also sponging up other cultures. To have worldly items and many of them in fact was the modern thing to do, especially if they were things from the eastern world. The Peacock room in London, England is a prime illustration of the eastern culture influencing the west. In these times design became a game to see who could be more cultured.

In every era there is something new to be discovered. Even if what we see seems familiar, because every small change is a stepping-stone into the prospect of design. We are hoarders of the past looking for new ways to use the old, and we are a cycle that never stops repeating, we only alter it slightly and slowly, but change will come.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Reading Comprehension 5


The artifact that I chose was an iron garden chair from the early 19th century. This piece of furniture was revolutionary in its design mostly because of the material it used. It was made out of cast iron, which was produced in a factory, apposed to all of the handcrafted furnishings that had been done in the past. This chair is also part of a revolution because it was made during the reign of Queen Victoria, which in those times gardens were very important. The designs for garden furniture often incorporated motifs from nature like fern patterns.


Artifact: Monet Painting
The eastern influence in Monet’s painting is very apparent. In eastern cultures, especially in China they were very focused on nature and how it affected their daily lives. They worshiped nature through religion and depicted it through art, furniture, and even buildings. Then when this idea reached western regions people thought that if they lived among beautiful things then their life would be beautiful as well. This painting represents not only a beautiful Lilly pond but also a way of life, a life of peace and serenity.

Space: The Peacock Room

The Peacock room is a room with many eastern influences. The ornament in the room is very nature inspired and also defines the different spaces and compartments. The shelving system represents bamboo, which is a very prominent plant in Asia and serves many purposes. In Asian cultures it is customary to respect the things that give them daily needs, so in order to pay respect to these things like bamboo they represent it through ornamentation. Another eastern influence would be the rich colors on the walls. The hue seems to represent the vivid textiles that the eastern cultures use in clothing. Even down to the lighting in this room eastern influences are apparent. I feel that westerners looked to the east to design because they were putting a spin on their own classical designs.

Building: The Royal Pavilion

The pavilion has a very middle- eastern appearance on the outside, with the high ornamentation on the fa├žades and rotundas. The building was also heavily influenced by Chinese and Indian fashions, which can be seen inside and out. It has a very exotic feel but with a mainstream taste.

Place: Green Bank Gardens

The Green Bank Gardens were designed to be like a serene garden of the Chinese culture. It was supposed to be a walled place where one could go and think. It was not for the purpose of recreation at all. It was a serene place that offered balance and centrality, which was the main focus for eastern gardens as well. They were places to enjoy and respect nature while you contemplated the world around you.