Monday, February 28, 2011

BP7, Kennedy, Blog Post #7, IARC 221

Architecture of Happiness through happy places and happy spaces.  An architecture of happiness is where light, sounds, materiality, air, and living all come together.  Light bright airy spaces make me happy.  I like fresh air too, so air quality is key for me being happy in an architectural space or place.

For my place I chose the glass and mirror sculpture in the sculpture garden at the Weatherspoon museum.  This is my favorite place because it brought out the child in all of us.  We all instantly became uninhibited and had fun.  We did not respect the rules and boundaries set fourth to us.  This garden is a place for inquisitive minds to learn and experience and explore and have fun.  We got in the sculpture, walked around it, took pictures of it.  Our minds were challenged when what we saw was not was not what we thought we were supposed to see. 

My favorite space is the Studio!!  I think that this space and how it is used relates directly to Debotton's article.  Architects created this space for us.  We are lucky enough to utilize this section of it for one year, then we move on to another space.  We have been given all the structure we need to start a new life here.  A group of 50 individuals have been put together and over the course of a few months have become very close to one another, like a big happy family.  We work with each other, help each other, learn from each other, and grow with each other.  Our "Space" allows us to create memories and a life around the space.  The space is light and bright, full of energy and happiness.  We have a great view of downtown and the changing sky around us.  We feel and hear the building as it breathes, providing us with shelter and comfort.  Really late at night the building goes to sleep.  Lights go off, systems shut down.  Then like clockwork the next morning about 7.30 the building reawakens.  Lights come back on and the air conditioning/heat comes back on.  You can hear the building start up and breathe every day. 

The places and spaces we have looked at create a framework from around which create our own version of happiness.  As we move on these spaces and places remain constant.  Opening up for a new group of individuals to create their own version of an architecture of happiness.

RR7, Power Axis

Friday, February 25, 2011

Personal Space (theory 3)

In reading Robert Sommer's article on Personal space many ideas about space were either re-confirmed or newly introduced to me.   For my dining space two principles stand out as most important.  First is the limit of comfortable conversation.  Second is the idea of psychological intimacy in regards to seating patterns.  

Comfortable conversation usually occurs within about 5 ft of any two individuals.  If in conversation typically they prefer to sit across from one another.  However, if given the option to sit next to someone to converse the distance should be less than a secondary location that is across from one another.  Basically, given two seating options, one across from each other and the other next to each other, the will sit next to each other only if the distance is shorter than the distance across from each other.  In designing a table for a dining space this would tell me that if a rectangular or oval table should not be any wider than 5 ft.  This would allow individuals sitting at the ends, or head, of the table to engage in conversation to those directly adjacent. 

The idea of psychological intimacy relates more to how people sit next to other individuals when given a choice.  His article speaks a lot about studies where individuals are told they are in competition, working with, or becoming friendly with another individual.  For me this information suggests that a round table is the most appropriate choice for all individuals.  Oval would be a good shape as well, especially if seating more than about 5 or 6 people.  This encourages conversation from everyone and leaves no one in a conversationally dead spot.

In my experience a round table that seats more than 6 starts to become to large for comfortable conversation.  The dining space that I am designing is for at least ten sot his would rule out a round table.  Oval seems a more pleasing shape and slightly less formal than a rectangular table.  This reduced intimacy would create a more relaxed dining environment and encourage a more friendly form of conversation.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


BP6, Kennedy, Blog Post #6, IARC 221

Cathedrals defined by Region

In class we looked at Cologne Cathedral and Salisbury Cathedral, focusing on inside/outside.  Outside we can clearly see regional differences between the two.

Salisbury is a much more horizontal structured building which almost looks Romanesque in style.  The Cathedral was built before the town was conceived and sits on a pastoral lawn.  The building itself is masses more evenly with one central spire.  Buttresses appear more compact and restrained and there is a great deal of stacking on the facade.

Cologne focuses on an extreme verticality.  Columns are masses together on the facade drawing the eye up and up to the sky and heavens above.  The cathedral was built after the town was established.  Placing the cathedral in an urban environment meant less space.  This contributes to tight and upright massing that we see.  Flying buttresses are flamboyant and extremely tall.

These differences are based on region.  Different aesthetics and specific locations shaped these buildings.  The interiors are extremely similar.  Both have extremely high naves and are full of light.  both also have a strong sense of light.  This strong sense of light is what ties all the Gothic cathedrals together and reinforces the universal concerns that were present at the time.

Cologne Cathedral was built after the city was built.  This forced the cathedral to be built in a more compact manner.  This can be seen by examining the cathedral and it's surroundings.  This also is one of the reasons for the extreme verticality of the the cathedral.

In contrast, Salisbury cathedral was built before the town around it.  The cathedral is in a very pastoral setting.  There is plenty of land around for the cathedral to spread out on.  This is one of the reasons the cathedral showcases the horizontal lines that it does.

In this image you can see the extreme verticality of the cathedral.  The style of the facade strengthens this design aspect.  the great number of columns across the front draw the eye upward to the sky, they stretch to infinity.  Directing you to look to the heavens as God and Sky have no boundaries.

Salisbury cathedral focus on a more English design attribute, the horizontal line. Rows of Triumphal arches make up the facade  These stacks of triumphal arches create strong horizontal lines, tying the building to the land where it sits. Additionally; this width frames the entrance, framing godliness and holiness.

The streets around the Cologne cathedral are much more urban in nature.  Buildings are taller, streets are more narrow, all creating a style that mimics the verticality of the cathedral.

The Streets around Salisbury cathedral are wider and the building are not as tall.  The entire town is more rural.

Below is my cognative map showing how fear made most everything the church did possible.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Exploring Materials and Value

Textile               Wood                    Carpet              Stone

For this project we visited the materials library and chose a textile, a wood, a carpet, and a stone.  We then rendered these items at actual size and at a scale of one inch equals one foot and applied a value scale to them as well.  Each section is 2 inches square.  We used graphite and pen on an 18 x 24 piece of paper.  My textile was my most difficult item to reproduce and took lots of trial and error.  I finally magnified the textile to analyze how it was made, which made rendering it much more approachable.  Stephanie showed us some of her rendering methods from when she was in undergrad and I applied some of her techniques to my carpet sample.

My materials are:

Textile:  Knoll, Gracenote Sheer Drapery Fabric D222/4 Topaz
Wood:  American Hardwoods, Sustainable Solutions, Walnut, Juglans Nigra
Carpet:  Shaw, Breezy Bahama, Trophy (color 0020), Style 5C110
Stone:  Ice Stone, Desert Pearl

Value Study number One

Value study number one for the semester. I utilized three different techniques in three different mediums. Graphite, Pen, and Marker were the mediums and Shaded, Hatched, and Stippled were the techniques. Pen and Marker are both new mediums for us this semester. I enjoyed working with these new tools and learning about them and how to successfully use them. Each row of technique is composed of seven one inch squares. The size of the composition is 18 x 24 inches.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Dining Space Parti

In this Collage/Parti I explored colors, textures, and ideas for my dining space.  I have lemon trees at my house and they generally have fruit ready in December, around the Winter Solstice.  I took this as a beginning for my space.  I enjoy the color and shape of the lemons and how they relate to the color and shape of the sun.  I further explored the ideas of Shiny vs Matte, Curvaceous vs Rigid line, and Bold vs Restrained.  This is a starting point of ideas for me.

US1 - Unit one summary - Foundations

click to enlarge
click to enlarge

Dining Space Prescedents

The Pill - a Social Networking Enhancement Device

The Pill Parti

The pill model.  8 1/4" x 3 1/8" x 1 1/2"  The side slot accepts an iPhone4 as the social media device.

Pills make things better.....

This pill is a social networking enhancer.  It allows an individual to utilize their social networking device anywhere in the world, regardless of power or internet connectivity.  Features include:

Charge pull - pull the string and the pill will activate a gyroscope and act as a power generating charging station.
Satellite button - Links you to a satellite with a satellite antenna, no cellular network needed.

Around me button - shows your friends on your will with dantance and directino from you and estimated travel time.

TV button - instantly links the pill to your television for viewing information.

Show me button - Activates video confrencing / video chat.

Emergency button - Instantly kills the pill to keep nosy people out of your social experience.

Kill button - Instantly disconnects all media devices around you.  All calls will be dropped, creating a world of silence.

A dining Story

When I was looking for inspiration for this current design, I wound up looking in nature.  I have two lemon trees that fully ripen around the winter solstice.  They remind me of the sun and the warmth of the summer.  I want to incorporate lemons and their color into my design.  I also really enjoy the green of the lemon leaves, so maybe that color will come into play as well.

I envision my dining experience to be with close friends and family.  I am thinking about incorporating the social media aspect into a drum like shade or shades that also serve as light fixtures above the table.  I want the social media aspect to be played down and just an idea that runs simultaneously, and is not intrusive and does not need interaction.

The space should be intimate, yet roomy to accommodate a crowd, maybe 25 x 25 with 12 ft ceilings.  I see a wall of glass that can accordion back and disappear in the warmer months and be closed during the colder months.  All other walls in the space would be solid.  One wall might have a series of small round windows that correlate to the position of the sun in the sky on the solstice days.  I'm not sure about this idea yet though. A fireplace will need to be incorporated and I think that will be on the wall opposite the glass wall, and off center. above the table and the sideboard the ceiling height will change, to a lower more human scale height.

My dining table will be a racetrack oval in walnut.  I envision arched legs that mimic the oval shape of the table top.  I want to experiment with painting the underside and backs of the legs lemon yellow, or maybe leaf green.  There will be a series of circular cutouts that encircle the table.  These relate to the sun and the importance of dining on the solstice days.  The table will be off center in the room.  1/2 of the space of the room should be devoted to the table.  In the other half of the room will be a sideboard composed of 5 round tables.  They will be solid and include storage and wheels so they can be moved around and positioned as need be.  I would make them out of walnut as well and would incorporate a series of circular cut outs near the top.  My chair selection may be Konstantin Grcic's tub chair.  I enjoy the circular shape and think it will work well with they other items that I'm designing for the space.  I also think the chairs will be incredibly comfortable and can be used in the room as general seating when not at the table for dining.

My other chair of choice is by Frank Gehry, hat trick.  The chair is bent wood and has a very special space under the seat that is spherical in thought.  I like the movement and life that the chairs have.

Overall i envision the space being very soothing and nurturing in feeling.  A limited color palate will help with this as will leaving out clutter and un-necessary items.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Babette's Feast (theory 2)

On Friday we watched Babette's feast.  A movie about two danish sisters who reside in the Jutland region during the 19th century.  This climate is cold and austere, yet beautiful in it's own way.  This austerity has a great effect on everything that they do.

They feed the needy with ale bread, a terrible concoction of stale bread mixed with flat ale.  It resembles glue.  Even the Sunday supper after church is quite terrible, as evidenced by the general.

The architecture is very simple.  Small white houses with thatched roofs.  Ceilings are not tall to help with keeping the interior warm.  There appears to be a central foyer in which all the rooms of the house are off of.  All of which have doors, again to keep the heat in the rooms where they are.  There is no electricity, so lighting is by candle or oil lamp.  Walls are white to help keep the interiors light.  One thing that I did notice is they used lots of dark wood, which is the opposite of what I think of in their region.  Typically you find Lighter woods and Lighter painted pieces, creating a light interior to offset the dark, cold, dreary outside.  This type of interior space was seen when the general was in Switzerland.

The film is centered around Babette, their servant, by necessity of herself, not the sisters.  Babette was forced from Paris where she lived as a renowned chef.  Babette is extremely grateful to be able to serve the sisters and does so with much humbleness.  Word comes that Babette has won the lottery, of course the sisters think she is moving back to Paris, which is not the case.  The sisters fathers 100th birthday is fast approaching and Babette convinces the sisters to let her cook a feast, a true French feast.  Reluctantly, they allow her.  Babette runs to Paris to gather everything that she needs and has it brought back by her nephew.  The kitchen now has huge shimmering copper pots.  The dining room is set with a white table cloth, new white china, sterling candle sticks, tall white candles and enough crystal to replicate the hall of mirrors at Versailles.  The table glows as do the guests dining.  Light is centered on the table, everything else starts to fade away, out of your field of vision.  This effect is very dramatic.  All light was dramatic without the use of electricity.

The use of lighting defined the spaces.  All lights were there for necessity, not just to look good or illuminate an entire room.  Everything was specific.  A specific light for a specific task, nothing more.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

RR4, Kennedy, Reading response #4 IARC 221

For this weeks reading response I chose to focus on the city of Teotihuacan.  I visited the city a few years ago which I feel gives me a unique perspective.  The pictures I took while I was there.

Above is a map of the city.  The main street, avenue of the dead, runs north to south.  The avenue actually runs 15 degrees east of north, so that it "aligned with the sacred mountain, Cerro Gordo." Ching, 226.  The major east west axis, Rio San Juan, also was off center by about 16 degrees, which has to do with astronomical reasons.

I think it is very interesting how ordered this city layout is.  It reminds me very much of cities laid out by the Romans.  At this main intersection in Teotihuacan, the common buildings are located, for the common man.  To the north are the sacred pyramids.  Another aspect that I find interesting is that the Larger pyramid of the sun is not the focal point on the main avenue, rather it is on a side axis.

The above image was taken from the pyramid of the moon looking south down the Avenue of the Dead.  The pyramid of the sun is on the left and mimics the mountains behind it.  Smaller stacked pyramids create a grouping around a central platform where rituals took place.

Here is a view looking towards the pyramid of the sun from the ground, adjacent to the central platform.  It is easier to see the massiveness of the grouped pyramids and how they contribute to the monumental feel of the space.  It is very overwhelming being on the platform.

This is the Pyramid of the Sun.  Lots of stacking going on here.  Even more monumental and imposing.  The base of this pyramid is almost the same size as the great pyramid in Giza.
This is the view just before you start climbing the steps.

This is the first set of steps ascending the pyramid of the sun.  They don't look to bad to climb.  however; the rise is almost double our standard stair rise and the tread depth is quite narrow as well.  So climbing sideways is almost necessary.  When you climb this section you see the sky straight above you.  You feel a sense of accomplishment once you near the top.  Then you feel defeat as you realize that you have barely climbed 1/4 of the pyramid. 
Here is a view looking up the steps.  They are quite imposing, almost daring you to try to climb,  telling you that you will fail.

The view from the top looking down.

The city was initially built by the Myans around rituals.  We have seen this use of ritual used in almost every city that we have examined thus far in class.  The use of order, in the layout of the city, as well as the idea that there was some form of a social/political system reminds me of Rome.  Aligning the main roads and pyramids astrologically reminds me of Stonehenge.  I'm also reminded of the Pyramids of Egypt in the way that the larger pyramids are surrounded by smaller pyramids and mastabas.  There are many ideas that come together here to create a sense of power, scale, and order.

BP4, Kennedy, Blog Post #4, IARC 221

In Class on Friday we went on an exploration of circles and axes on campus.  We looked at how the principles of commodity, firmness, and delight were involved, and how these concepts re-enforce circles and their three dimensional forms as sacred.

Commodity = Function

Firmness = Structure + Stability

Delight = Aesthetics + Form and Surface

I took a secondary "tour" by myself to reevaluate what we had learned.  Based on the ideas, I chose to discuss the music building entrance as the space where these three concepts are epitomized.  The school of music sits at one end of College Avenue, one of the main Axes through campus.  This shows the importance of the school of music to the university.

From the outside Firmness appears very evident.  The massive column like entrance appears very rooted to it's physical environment.  The base is made of concrete blocks.  Pilasters rise from this solid base and are infilled with brick and capped off with a decorative concrete "cap".  All  of these materials are very long lived, stable, and solid (like a rock).  This contributes to the sense of stability in the building.  The glass structure adjacent to the circular entrance reinforces the stability concept through the use of horizontal bands that reinforce the stacking theory as well as columns that strengthen the groves theory.

The base of the column like entrance even goes out into the landscape.
These bands that emulate out from the entrance column reinforce that the building is rooted into its environment, almost like it grew directly up out of the ground.   

These bands are continued in the flooring inside the building which adds to the sense of Delight.
When viewed from above the bands in the floor are even more prominent.  Patrick eluded to the bands in the flooring as being ripples in water.  I really enjoy how the two columns in the picture above have the white banding around them as well.  It's almost like they have just been dropped into a pool of water and are emitting their own band of concentric circles.   This concept of water ripples is reinforced directly outside the entrance with a round pond.

This round pond even has concentric rings around it as well, not only with the stone surround but also with the circular walls that frame the courtyard.
Back inside, lets look at the column entrance.  When entering the building from outside you step under the massive column, compressing you down, spatially.  Then you open the doors and step into this huge expanse of space.  This reminds me a great deal of how Frank Lloyd Wright treated the entrance to many of the houses he designed.

Once you enter the building you are greeted with this view.  An enormous amount of Light is present which registers at the top of my delight scale.  The use of groves and stacks is very evident here.  Even down to the legs of the chairs in the space. This is the space where my eyes dart around constantly.  There is something grabbing my attention everywhere, which is very delightful.
This is the wall adjacent to the glass wall, which acts as a secondary facade.  We have stacking on the base, with grove like columns rising from the base, just like the main entrance column outside.  This tells us this is where we need to go next.   In this case it's the performance hall for the school of music.

The commodity of this space is for it to act as an entrance for the building.  It provides shelter, comfort, protection, and a sense of belonging as well.  Here, a gathering space is created for the auditorium and  the main axis through the building begins as well.  Large crowds gather here and move through here on a continual basis and the space functions extremely well in this regard. 

One thing that I find extremely interesting is that the pipe organ and organ recital hall are enclosed in the entrance column.  Circles mark spaces that are sacred to us.  It took the university over 30 years to raise the funds to purchase the organ.  I think that it is fitting that something that took that long to obtain and which is regarded in such a high status resides in such a space.  Another interesting idea that relates to the commodity is the lack of noise in the building.  While I was taking pictures the organ was being played and you could barely hear it when you were right next to the doors into the chamber. 

Overall;  The entrance to the music building gives me a great sense of delight.  The materials and design principles utilized in the design and construction of the building give it great firmness  and a commodious relationship with it's function.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Design Manifesto (theory 1)

Good design should be meaningful, thoughtful, approachable, energetic, affordable, and most importantly, sustainable.

As a designer why waste time, energy, and materials designing a sub-standard product.  There is always a way to create a design that satisfies all the necessary parameters, and do it in the “right” way.  Most of the time this takes multiple attempts, sometimes it’s three, sometimes it’s 3000.  A lot of design relies on thought.  Thinking how someone is going to use something, where and when they will use it.  How other people will use it, not just the target audience.  Then think about how people will utilize the design far off in the future.  Is the design dated in just a few months or years.  Maybe the concept should be rethought.

Part of being sustainable is longevity and permanence, make it last!!  Another key factor in being sustainable is re-usability, re-cycle-ability, re-incarnate-ability.  How many lives can the product have before it is no longer useful.

Aesthetics are key to any good design.  Pleas-ability is key in gaining acceptance or outrage.  Elegant, understated, refined materials;  Simple, clean, meaningful lines; Considerate, functional, eternal ideas.  These are the words that describe how I think and see the world around me and how I plan the world around me.  Everything has a place and everything in it’s place, please, leave the fluff for the marshmallows.  Good design is all around us;  sometimes we’re blown away by it, sometimes it’s so good we don’t even notice it.

Thursday, February 3, 2011


Last week was color week.  We worked with ColorAid paper, which is a calibrated, silk screened, color paper. 

My first combination.  Finding the middle color.
Composition two.  Overlap, using the middle color.  This is when it started to make sense.
Five Square.  Taking it to the next level.  Five squares all overlapping to create middle colors.
Composition four.  Color Triad.  The middle color of three colors.
Combine all of the above to create our very own color palate that we utilize during the balance of the semester.  Here we utilized middle colors and triad middle colors.
Final composition.  Here we used the colors in our color palate to create an abstract representation of the light during the four seasons.  Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter - from top to bottom.

During the week we all learned a great deal about color and how to work with it.  There were lots of surprises, lots of magic moments, some frustration, and much much gained knowledge.  I can't wait to work with the palate that I created.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

a penny is a terrible thing to waste

Our response to the Powers of Ten video by Ray and Charles Eames focused on an artifact that there seems to be an infinite supply of, yet many deem worthless: the penny. While pennies don't work in parking meters or vending machines, and have even been crusaded against by some politicians, they are still valueable.

So what does this have to do with the powers of ten? Research shows that about 100,000,000,000 pennies have been lost (taken out of circulation) to sewage drains, trash cans, storage, etc. We looked at different values of this number by powers of ten: one penny, ten pennies, one see just what these so called "nuisance" pennies could purchase. What if we hadn't wasted those hundred billion pennies?

Laura Kimmel, Jack Kennedy, Alex Pokas