Monday, May 2, 2011

Sketches and Renderings from Class

I thought I would take the opportunity to upload some images of renderings and observational sketches from the fast semester. I started working a lot with pen rather than pencil and really enjoy the results that have occurred.

Comparison between Falling Water and Monticello.  Exterior.  Plan.  Materials, interior floor and exterior surface.  Living room.

Sketch of front of Monticello

Foyer of Monticello.  Front Elevation, Fireplace wall elevation and Detail of Crown Molding.

Architectural details that I found interesting at Monticello

St. Mary's House, sitting on the floor next to the kitchen door looking in.

St. Mary's House, sitting in the middle of the sanctuary looking towards the alter.

Perceived perspective at St. Mary's looking towards the front door.

Scale figures, sketched while sitting at Starbucks.

Scale figures, sketched while sitting at Starbucks.

Rendering on another student's wire frame.

Rendering of the basement of Gatewood.

Friday, April 29, 2011

US3 - Unit three summary - Explorations

Our third and final unit takes us from The worlds fairs up to the present.  We examined arts and crafts, re-form, art movements and their influence on design; as well as the effects of war.  All of which helped shape the multiple modernisms of today as well as the Scandinavians design aesthetic.

The World’s fairs were a great invention which reminds me a lot of trade shows that we see today.  They were international, commemorative, commercial, and collaborative.  At the core of the fairs is National pride.  The fairs were a way for everyone to show off their intelligence and ability to design and produce the next biggest and greatest idea/object.  Architecturally they are challenging in that most are temporary.  Creating an environment that inspires awe and can handle hundreds of thousands of visitors is quite the task.  Often there are a few buildings or structures that we are left with as reminders, such as the Eiffel Tower, The space needle in Seattle, and the arch in St. Louis.  The commercialism and industrialism showcased in the fairs is contrasted by the Arts and Crafts movement.

The Arts and Crafts movement focused on the handmade and the natural beauty and elements around.  Ching summarizes this when he states “ These Arts and Crafts houses featured a deliberate blurring of interior and exterior space through the use of decks, pergolas, porches, and terraces.” (Ching, 681)  One of the most exceptional examples of the movement is the Gamble house in Pasadena, which was designed by Charles Sumner Green and Henry Mather Greene in 1908-1909.  The idea of the house as a total design package is see perfectly here.  Every aspect of the house was part of an integrated design.  Cabinets, lighting, leaded glass windows, paneling; everything, was designed by the architects to perform as one cohesive unit.  This approach is also seen in other artistic movements and how their design aesthetic translated into the architecture as well.  We see this paralleling in the art nouveau style in Europe, where the free flowing lines of nature are the central theme.  Think no right angles.  Furthering these ideas is Art deco.  Beauty for beauty, surface adornment, shiny polished surfaces come to mind here.  The exterior of the Chrysler building in New York and the interior of Rockefeller center are excellent examples of this style.

We have learned in the class that most all design movements have a reaction movement or a focus on a new aesthetic.  Although not necessarily reactionary, the Bauhaus Movement seemed to have a more industrial nature to it  focusing as Roth states “on industrial production and the development of normative industrial standards.” (Roth 523)  Much of this was theoretical since the designs appeared very industrial, yet were often hand crafted.  Many names are associated with the Bauhaus, such as Walter Gropius, the founder, Kandinsky, Klee, and the final leader: Mies van der Rohe.  The Bauhaus was eventually shut down by the Nazis in 1933 which tells us that war is among us and a new uncertainty is coming.  Multiple modernisms start to appear.  Classic revival, ultra modern, and post modern all start appearing more and more.  All are searches for what is modern and are modern according to those who are building them as well as the attitudes of how one should live.  The idea that people will adapt to the house and learn to live with how it is designed comes into play and is also criticized. 

Much of this criticism led us to look at the Scandinavian design aesthetic and how it brings a lot of what we are learning together.  Functionality, simple lines, pleasing aesthetics, affordability.  All ideas we have discussed come together as a whole here.  We learn that the house and it contents needs to be responsive to the individual living within for it to work.  It is human nature that cannot be changed for architecture, yet architecture that must change for human nature. 

The rise of the interior decorator and mega firm come to the playground as well.  We look at the people that make what we do now possible, such as Elsie de Wolf, Dorothy Draper, and Billy Baldwin, pioneers in decorating that opened the doors for us.  Mega firms such as Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill start appearing as are mega buildings.  Going up and up becomes the new direction.  The idea of no structure is realized with glass facades that cover entire buildings, completely hiding the structure.  The reaction to this as well, all the structure is shown on the outside, so the inside can be completely open, such as the George Pompidou center for art in Paris.  Ultimately we learn that Modern is a search.  A search for what looks, functions, and feels right.  Modern is not the same for everyone and will always be evolving.


The image that I feel best exemplifies the unit is the Villa Savoye by Le Corbusier.  Built between 1928 and 1931 in Poissy France, just outside of Paris.  The building exemplifies Corbusier’s five points of architecture.  Elevating the building to allow the garden to extend underneath, A functional roof that reclaims the land occupied by the building, an open floor plan, long horizontal windows for light and air, and a facade as a skin.  All of these ideas we see re-emerging as important today.  The Villa Savoye to me is the predecessor of green or sustainable architecture.  It was designed around light and how it effects the building as well as the occupants and how they live and the presence of the automobile.  Ideas such as a steel structural skeleton that allows for open expanses and for the exterior walls to be an applied facade are both ideas that evolved and will continue to evolve and already allow us to live, design, and function the way we do today.  Le Corbusier's exploration of modern developed ideals that we continue to explore and utilize today.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

BP14 - my favorite Object, Space, Building, and Place

To wrap up the semester we get to choose our favorite Object, Space, Building, and Place to write about.  Here are some of mine.

Object:  Espresso Maker

my espresso maker delivers fantastic coffee, just like any fine coffee house.  The design is simple, elegant, and functional.  Th footprint is half that of my microwave which gave me more counter space as well.  Espresso wakes me up in the morning and allows me to function and learn.

Space:  Kitchen

For me, the kitchen is a creative outlet.  I enjoy cooking and preparing meals more than anything else that I do.  It is a way for me to be creative and experimental while at the same time creating amazing food.  I like to entertain and the kitchen makes or breaks this for me.  Having a well designed, functional, and appropriate space is critical.  I live in my kitchen so it needs to be one of the most special places in the house.  There is no room for fast food in my kitchen.

Building:  Peggy Guggenheim Museum, Venice Italy

I ended up here almost by chance.  While in Venice a friend of my parents suggested that I stop by here to visit.  I barely had time to see what I wanted to see, let alone another art museum.  Boy was I glad that I made time for this place.  The museum was the home of Peggy Guggenheim for over 30 years.  Originally it was designed to be a palace, yet was never finished.  All you see it the first floor.  I enjoy that it stands out on the grand canal.  It's only one floor when most building are at least two.  The gardens are amazingly simple and unexpected in the city.  What I truly enjoy the most is the interior.  The pale pale brown terrazzo floors, the clean lines, the simplicity.  All juxtaposed against the exterior facade.  I was there in August, It was so hot and so humid outside you were soaking when just from stepping outside.  When I arrived here and entered the building it was cool, dry, calming, and pristine.

Place:  Blue Ride Mountains, Allegheny County NC

This is where I spent a lot of time during the summers growing up.  The air is cool, crisp, and thin.  The smell is clean and un-polluted.  The views are stunning.  The life is simple.  There are no bugs!!!  Picnics in the pasture, nights in a one room cabin, little or no electricity.  Ice cold lake water.  A spring house a smoke house, things I had never heard of, that now I want.  This is where I want to end up, forever.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

St. Mary's House - A writers Retreat Drawings and Ideas

These are the original drawings that I did for St. Mary's writers retreat.  They may be easier to see than the final boards that I have uploaded to the blog.  There is additional information on the final boards that is not on these drawings.  I've also included some commentary and thought process as to why I have laid the space out as I have. 

First floor plan.  The office is at the front of the building to the left.  The space can accommodate a conference table for 8 as well as an office/writing desk.  The living room is directly behind the office.  There are stairs up to a loft.  The Living space is large enough to accommodate intimate seating at the fireplace, a sitting area in the center of the room and a small space for dining for two.  The bedroom is at the back of the living space to create more privacy with an en-suite bathroom as well.  The kitchen connects the living room to the public reading room in the rear of the structure, far right.  This allows the kitchen to function for both spaces and also create a privacy gradient between public and private spaces.  The public reading room has been opened up to the outdoors with french doors and windows all around.  If possible a screen porch on the back would be ideal.  The reading space also has a built in desk for writing, chair storage, and a public bath.  The space can also be used for dining for larger crowds.
Second floor loft plan.  Writing loft is at the front of the house to the left.  The rear loft can act as secondary living, reflecting space, or additional sleep space if necessary.  The rear loft is open to the central portion of the public reading space and could be used as an elevated reading platform as well.
Section Elevation looking east.  Shows the Kitchen, office, living, reading and second floor loft spaces.
Section elevation from inside the public reading room looking south.  This shows how the ceiling is vaulted in the center and how the second story loft interacts with the space.  The writing desk is in the middle and kitchen door is on the right side. 
Section elevation from the living room looking north.  This shows how the second story loft interacts with the kitchen below as well as with the living space.  The window in the loft is 6' tall, the addition of a scale figure could have made the loft space more clear.
Elevation of the west wall.  The fireplace is central.  Book cases with storage underneath flank the fireplace and continue up to the ceiling of the loft which is 9'6".  Next to the book cases are the reflecting nooks.  These provide a space for writing and reading as well as additional seating when necessary.  Keeping this section of the space open from front to back maximizes light in the space.

Perspective of the public reading room.  This space is large enough to accommodate 40 individuals seated.
Living room looking west.  A two point perspective that shows how the stairs, loft, balcony seating area, and built ins work together.  Scale figure to the right shows the scale of the space and how open and high the ceilings are.
Living room looking back towards the kitchen on the left, bedroom in through the door on the right.  The kitchen is a galley style kitchen and connects the private quarters to the public reading room.  The allows the kitchen to function for bot public and private spaces while maintaining a privacy gradient for the more personal spaces.
Second floor loft looking south towards the front of the house.  This view shows another reflection nook and writing desk as well as more built ins for storage.  The addition of a scale figure would help show how an individual would interact with the space.  The distance to the top of the window from the floor is 6', and the distance to the top of the book case from the floor on the right is 5'5".
My original Parti for the project.  Reflect is the main concept.  Areas of reflection for the writer are key.  The environment is very muted and filled with earth tones.  The richness and life comes from how one lives in and utilizes the space.

St. Mary's House - A writers Retreat - Final boards