Thursday, February 26, 2009

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


When it comes to design, presence in my opinion is the ability for ones work to stand on its own without explanation to a viewer from the designer personally. It is also a feeling that is felt when experiencing someone's work. I feel like overall in the previous week I exemplified presence both in my drawing and studio courses. For Suzanne, the newest phase in our project was to take 5(out of the 12) thumbnails we previously sketched and emulate the style of an inspiration artist of our choice. I feel as though I succeeded in taking the artists different techniques and incorporating them into my work. When we presented the drawings on Tuesday, my work in my opinion created presence by itself. Our pathways phase of found in translation required us to create one model from the 3 previous models constructed that incorporated the successful qualities. I feel as though my final model held its own presence because the pathways were clear as well as the word that I focused on which was contrast. The Romans wanted to create presence through their architecture specifically focusing on the interiors. "Images of stylized reality, captured in the glittering mosaics, evoke a spiritual presence in an outer wordly atmosphere of resplendent grandeur." (Roth, 298)
"You cannot manage what you cannot(or do not) measure..." (Unknown)
As designers, we have to use metric in a literal and not so literal way. Of course being able to understand scale and different metric systems as we are learning in Stoel's class with the completion of Pat's Chair is the literal and very important side of metric. We must be able to also apply the concept of metric by choosing solutions and ways in which we go about designing a space or structure. I found that in doing my 8" x11" drawings of the MHRA building, I had to use a system of metric in applying people/scale figures to my space because as I was drawing movement was occurring all around me. In my sketches I had to get a feel for the placement and gestures of these people since I couldn't just freeze time. Creating a pathway model also enabled my thinking to become metric in a sense because I had to find ways to satisfy the requirements of the project such as focusing on one word (with my word being contrast), using only black and white, and incorporating a scale figure within. "In the most profound centers which have perfect wholeness, there is at the heart a void which is like water, infinite in depth, surrounded by and contrasted with other clutter of stuff and fabric all around it." (Alexander, 222) This void that he is speaking of is what we as designers must fill and know when, where, and how to incorporate it within the space or design.

The duality in which was created in our 5 inspiration drawings was in my opinion very abstract, but very understandable. The whole idea of duality focuses on multiples or twos and in that you find common ground as well as differences. In those drawings it is almost as if the duality of the two styles creates its own style, and I find that to be very interesting. Drafting holds a duality in itself in which different line weights are created to form an overall better view of a plan or section. White and black create a duality of contrast depending on how they are used together or separate. Since contrast was my word, the duality that I wanted to create was one of not just color, but also shape and size.
Moments in life and in design are those times when it seems like life stands still for a split second. Moments go hand in hand with presence. When something has presence it creates moments in which you feel like it is just you and the structure or piece that you are focusing on. The moments in experiencing the early Christian churches I would assume occur at various times. For instance, when a viewer looks above at the high vaulted ceilings and the architectural detail, the presence of heaven may be felt. They may feel one with the space physically and one with God spiritually. "In an atmosphere of shimmering light from countless windows, reflected from high, mosaic lined domes, and the flickering of innumerable lamps and candles filtered through the rising haze of pungent incense, the early Christian and, later, the Byzantine Church celebrated the fusion of secular and religious rule and the endeavor to create a blemished simulacrum pointing to heavenly perfection." (Roth, 298)
The use of an "inspiration sketch" to further develop our MHRA project is successful in the way that it challenges us to emulate a precedented style as well as incorporate our style with in it. Drafting the crit space in our building is helping us understand the concepts of floor plans and we are encouraged to find precedents of representing windows, doors, etc. to create our own style. The Ziggurat of Ur-Nammu as a precedent is helping us structure our portal panel. While we are not remaking the ziggurat, we are taking the important elements such as the heirarchy and the progression of moving the eye upward to further our design innovations. Precedents dont have to be still standing today. The architects of the medieval period recognized this when they decided to use the remains and memories from invasions in Rome. "The memory of Rome lingered as well, especially in Southern France, where many Roman ruins served as models..." (Roth, 313-314) Although the structures were destroyed, they still acted as precedents in that they created such strong features and details.
Tying it Together:
This weeks words took my knowledge and my investigation to another level in defining and understanding how to use them in everyday life and in design. I never thought to use metric in my vocabulary unless I was specifically talking about drafting until I realized that metric is more than just a definition, it is a concept(especially for designers). Presence happens all around us, but it is when we make that distinct connection with someone or something that a moment is created. As I become more of a designer, I finding inspiration in so much, whether it be from another designer or a thought or memory that I have. Duality as a designer is an important quality to with hold because you must be versitle enough with your style considering the fact that you never know what your client may want.
Works Cited:
Alexander, Christopher. The Nature of Order. 2002. The Center for the Environmental
Structure. Berkley, California.

Roth, Leland. Understanding Architecture. 2007. Westview Press. Boulder Colorado.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Monday, February 16, 2009

Parts: Whole

"Thus the personal order of nature appears in nature as much as in buildings and artifacts." (Alexander, 309) From that I realize that order is the source of everyday life. We as humans all have a rather standard order in which we go about our day. Although things may sometimes be "out of order," for the most part our world and everything in it is organized around order. In relation to design, order is one of if not the most important aspects. When designing something, there is a process that we must go through to get from point A to point B. Our project that is currently underway in Design Drawing is a great example of this. We first had to create floor plans of our given building. From there we went on to create thumbnails of important features that outline the building. Our next step is to refine those thumbnail sketches and get more detailed in what we see. The ending result will be a presentation of the information we have acquired by studying the building. Just the same in drafting, we have been gradually advancing in the creation, construction and visual recording of Pat's chair. From our fairytale stories that we received on the 1st day of class this semester, we are still building from the artifact project now in which we are creating pathways still relating to our fairytale and creation stories, but also moving to new concepts. The idea of order also makes me think of archetype, prototype, and hybrid because this combination of words is the process that establishes order. The archetype for our translations project is the fairytale. Taking inspiration from that story, we began to develop more ideas and create the prototype which in this instance would be the artifact that evolved from the story as well as the design process. From the artifact or prototype, then developed was the hybrid in which we had to progress from the creation of the artifact to creating the special place for it as well as embarking on something new in creating a wall frame. In drawing, we are using the same concept of archetype, protoype, and hybrid to develop our research and understading of the MHRA building. The same holds true with Pat's chair in drafting. From the archetype of understanding what the requirements and materials were, we then created the prototype which was the actual model, and now we are in the process of creating the hybrid which in this case is the different drafting drawings and elevations to better understand and even improve our intial ideas. The thumbnails that we were assigned to create for Suzanne's drawing class enables us to understand the entourage or interior/exterior surroundings that inhabit our building. Being an interior architecture major requires a keen sense of how to interpret and understand our surroundings and how they interact with everyday life.

“It started as a big idea, and in the process of designing it grew even bigger.” (Thomas O'Brien, Think the passageway phase of found in translation, the idea of creating a functional passageway forces me as the designer to think about how a person experiencing the space would feel and how the entourage of materials, shapes and scale would influence their overall connection to the space. As Winston Churchill once said " we shape our buildings; and they shape us." Alexander goes on to ask "how do they affect us." (Alexander, 372) I feel like that is the question that we as designers need to ask ourselves. We should work to convey a way of feeling whether positive or negative that makes sense and relates to the space, and world around us. Hierarchy plays a big role in convey a feeling or marking importance. In making my 3 models for the pathways portion of the translation project, using heirarchy was an important factor in two of the three models. In balance, the heirarchy was important in that the taller walls communicated a new element of progression and advancement through the space. In gradient one of my main concepts was not just to create a gradient of colors but also to create a gradient of size(relatively a progression from smallest to largest or vice versa). The hierarchy of the linear element as well as the taller planar elements in comparison to the smaller gave that illusion. In both hierarchy not only showed levels of scale and importance, but it also acted as a part to the whole. "A natural hierarchy is simply an order of increasing wholeness" (A Brief history of Everything, Ken Wilber) Sources are a good foundation for things to come. The can act as an archetype in which they can give us inspirations and ideas of how to incorporate things in our own work. In finding 5 different sources that give us variation in how we sketch/draw, I found that my style is very similar to some of the artist and very different from others. With the 1st floor sketch of the MHRA building, I used Helen South's technique and found that I wasn't very successful in trying to do it just like hers, but when I added my own technique and put a touch of her style in it, it was successful. "The past is for inspiration, not imitation, for continuation, not repetition." (Israel Zangwill, Think, 1)

Through sources we are able to create an ordered design that takes from the past, draws from the present and innovates the future. We highlight important structures and objects by using hierarchy to convey importance. By using archetypes, creating prototypes and eventually making hybrids we understand the cycles in which we create design and entourages.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Scale is very important in representing something for what it really is. It gives a sense of reality in a model as well as in a draft of what is to come. In celebrating a place for my fairytale artifact, the scale of my artifact helped in assisting me with the width and dimensions for the rest of my model. I knew that I did not need to be too big simply because my artifact was a ring, and it didn't occupy much space. The scale of the Temple of Anon at Karnak is grand in scale to convey masculinity and hierarchy. The scale is also played off of the heavy weight construction. The scale of Pat's Chair gave a realistic representation of how it would be in life size. The Parthenon and the structure's that it inhabit it create unity because they were together to form a city. All though some buildings/structures hold more impotance than others, they are unified in building material and function. The wall construction combined with the location of my artifact also created unity. Individually they needed one another to satisfy the requirement for this project. One without the other would leave it unwhole of ununified. Sections help us understand complex or noncomplex things in a better manner. The artifact/wall section was successful in the way that we represented a corner because it exemplified or focused on one portion of a room or space rather than a whole area. The section plans that were done for Pat's chair emphasized the thickness of the MDF as well as taking a closer look at what the construction really was. The coffee house vignettes remind me of sections as well because instead of trying to capture the whole space, we focused on 3 specific sections or parts. My vignettes over the past few weeks have made me focus more on composition and quality. The word vignett automatically takes my mind to a whole piece of something rather than one single part. The 6 vignettes that I composed held an evolution from one story to another then to the final product which was to artifact wall. The coffee house vignettes helped me realize all of the elements that make it a whole such as lighting, partitions, counters, tables/chairs, customers, etc. Although vignettes sometimes "fade" off of the page, invisible boundaries are still present. I feel like vignettes represent boundaries in and abstract an unliteral way. In 221 we are understanding how something doesn't have to be "walled in" to create a boundary. The columns on the Parthenon don't connect directly to any wall or column to create a closing from the outside world, but they still create a visual boundary. The boundary that I chose to incorporate in my artifact wall was also a visual and not literal boundary. The "box" that my ring is encompased with doesn't connect or close but you can draw boundary lines from top to bottom.

Through scale, boundaries, and sections we began to create vignettes. Vignettes take all of these elements and exemplify the importance whether it be conveying hierarchy(scale), the limits and spaces(boundary) or the focus on one area(section). With this unity is created.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Starbucks in Barnes and Noble

I loved this assignment so much! The atmosphere was so set for nice quiet sketches. I obviously didn't go at "rush hour" because there were not many people to draw within my vignette, but the few that I could capture I did. I experimented with color pencils separate, watercolor separate, and then both together. My findings/results were that each technique gave a different but successful effect to the overall composition.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Old Sulton's Ring...

Ring made from an old belt(the band), fur from a stuffed animal, and a black stone.
Essence: Obedience to your Authority leads to life and reward...

Flying Colours (1. great success; 2. to paint in bright/dark colors)

"The return on a public structure is not merely the task that it facilitates. It is the whole pleasure that it provides the community..." (Roth, 155) Since last year this time when I first heard these three words together (commodity, firmness and delight), I have been forced to analyze architecture and spaces differently and measure them up to each word. The Zigguart in Mesopotamia exemplifies all three words in its mass. The commodity or function was believed to be the connection to heaven on earth. The most important part of the structure was at the very top where the temple was located. The sustainable materials and the method in which they were built exemplify the firmness. There are still remains left today. The delight is evident in the way it stands out from the earth, and gives the eye many different dimensions and aspect to gaze upon. In drafting I have found that in producing different elevations, sections, etc. , and in drawing using different media and techniques, commodity, firmness and delight are the main categories in which I should judge my work. Together, all three aspects of "good design" work together to form the whole which is functionality, strength, and beauty. "A view of the building as a whole means that we see it as part of an extended and undivided continuum ." (Alexander, 80) In working with water colors for the first time in my life (i think), I have found that just a little splash of color adds so much interest and definition to a drawing/sketch. In my opinion, it is a way in which you can help better convey an idea but also add a very classical or abstract look your work. Through experimentation with the water colors, I learned that sometimes alot of color looks nice, but when you want to highlight a certain aspect of the drawing, painting only that specific part can illuminate the picture better. Illumination doesn't just mean adding light or color, but it can also mean adding definition and life to something. "...we must first see how life springs from wholeness, and indeed how life is wholeness. Wholeness exist all around us and life springs from it." (Alexander, 55) The Ziggurat in Mesopotamia is a great example of this. It illuminates the area that it encompasses. It is such a grand, amazing, huge feature and it is also a precedent for the latter pyramids in Egypt. In sense, it is illuminating another era.

They way that the Ziggurat gives the illusion of a mountain is a way to look at idioms. Although we know that it clearly is not a mountain, the way that it is constructed and layered could lead one to believe that it was possibly a mountain or hill, and not a structure. "These artificial hills served as a way of elevating the temples to make a link between the human realm and the heavenly realm of the gods." (Roth, 183) The hieroglyphics that the Egyptians used to tell stories of the Pharaohs lives was their way of communicating then as a people and throughout time to people of the many ages. The way in which we document history and important events now is so much different from the way that it was done then. What color means for one person or culture may not mean the same for the next. For the fairytale artifacts, alot of people tied meaning to good, bad, love, hate, etc. to color. I think that this is interesting because in North America, for most designers the color red for instance in any given room conveys energy. This color in another culture could mean death, hate or negativity.
Taking from the 1st critique of the semester that we had on Friday, the thing I got out of it the most was the importance of utilizing the most effective materials. This I feel is important to designers because materials(color, weight, firmness, bulkiness, etc.) are not only meant to convey meanings and evoke feelings but they also need to be sustainable and work well in the environment they are in. The materials that Charese and Carlos decided to use for their fairytale artifacts in my opinion had a balance of the importance to the story, and the artifacts were "items in which the design was simple and of good proportions." (Massey, 159) They were both artifacts in which could be used in everyday life.
I feel a very strong connection to this weeks key words because all in some form or another are a part of the next. Illumination brings forth beauty, life and experience. Different designers have their own taste/style and artistic language(idiom) which conveys functionality in a particular environment, and materials are the aspect in which one's design is successful and sustainable . All three of these aspects of design come together to create Commodity, Firmness, and Delight.


Hieroglyphic Image: