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.