Sunday, February 27, 2011

"The Dogon" (RR7)

5. D., Francis, Mark M., and Vikramaditya Prakash. A Global History of Architecture. Wiley, 2010. 518-519. Print.

"Happy Place" BP7

    I think "Architecture of Happiness" is defined individually as a series of guidelines that can be found in spaces that make one happy. For example, my guidelines would state that a space (usually, at least) should be simple, bright, clean, warm, and memorable. On campus, I have found a few places that follow my guidelines, one is the meditation area that is located in the EUC. This space has blue-grey walls and a very simple carpet that enables the room to have a calming effect. It utilizes both ceiling and natural light to create a bright glow to the room. Every time I have visited it, it has had the perfect "not too hot, not too cold" temperature. It is kept clean by the EUC staff. The meditation room follows all of my guidelines and I definitely feel happy when in this wonderfully created place. I believe that each person has their own thoughts about what the architecture of happiness is, it changes because people have different styles and personalities.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Small Group Ecology -Robert Sommer

The theory reading for this week was focused on the sociology surrounding small groups and the spaces they are put in. Sommers defines a group as "face to face aggregationof individuals who have some shared purpose of being toghether." The studies performed showed that certain arangements of people are good for specific activities but not for all. Additionally, people chose to sit face to face rather than diagonally for casual conversation. Comfortable seating arangements consider both physical proximity and visual contact. This article helped me make decisions about the size and shape of the table in the space i am designing and the space needed for each person to be comfortable.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

"The Tomb of Sultan Qalawun" (RR6)

13th/14th century A.D

          On a street in Cairo sit five madrasas. A madrasa is defined in Ching's book as "a Muslim theological school." These buildings are built directly beside one another, not far from the Sultan's palace. All of them facing Mecca, the Islamic sacred place. Although most tombs were not allowed to be inside the city, these schools were each linked with the mausoleum of a sultan. 
One of the most magnificent tombs belonged to, and still does in his death, Sultan Qalawun. I would describe the tomb to be gothic style with an egyptian twist. The main structure is rather octagonal while the tomb itself is very close to being completely square. Inside the tomb, a set of eight piers and columns refer back to the octagonal architecture. Atop the piers and columns are pointed arches that support an enormous dome. The columns are Corinthian and made of marble. The walls are said to be covered with astonishing decorations of mosaics and marble.

D., Francis, Mark M., and Vikramaditya Prakash. A Global History of Architecture. 2nd. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2010. 412-413. Print.

"Medieval Cathedral" BP6

After splitting up into groups on Friday, my group took a look at the Salisbury Cathedral in England with the Duomo Cathedral in Italy. We used our first impressions of the buildings to help us find comparisons and contrasts between them.
West Facade
Salisbury showing symmetry
Salisbury looming over everything else
Duomo Florence
Duomo looming over everything else
Facade of the Duomo, Florence
Duomo showing symmetry

-Both are massive structures.
-Both are very symmetrical.
-Both have a wide nave and a set of transepts, the Duomo has wider architecture than the Salisbury.
-Both have exquisite surface decoration on the outside of the building.
-Both have arches.
-The Salisbury Cathedral has a stricter looking style of architecture while the Duomo has a bubblier style of architecture.
-Both have large arches, but the Salisbury has pointed ones and the Duomo has rounded ones.
-The Salisbury has a lot of sharp edges, but the Duomo seems to hide it's edges by making shapes similar to circles, like octagons.
-Circular windows can be found in the Duomo unlike the tall skinny ones of the Salisbury.
-Both pieces of architecture are huge compared to other architecture around them.
-Both have large, open, spaces. 
-Both have amazing murals painted on the inside.

I believe that both of these structures represent the region they were constructed in. For example, both of them were rebuilt at a time when their cities were growing and changing as well. Moreover, The Salisbury was built quickly and stuck to it's gothic style while the Duomo was built slowly and changed from gothic to roman style over time. Furthermore, the fact that they are in the center of the city, surrounded by everything else symbolizes that the church had a lot of power.

This is a depiction of the Medieval Times. Basically, in the middle of the circle is a church combined with a castle, this shows that both Royalty and the Church had power over everyone. Surrounding the castle/church is food and money, brought to them through tithes and taxes. The little pentagons represent the small, bland, houses of the peasants. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Unit Summary

And we are on to Unit Two! The following is a summary of my depiction of Unit One.

    • "There is a great need to revise and broaden our view of the human situation, a need to be both comprehensive and more realistic, not only about others, but about ourselves as well." - E.T Hall
    • Description, Deduction, and Speculation as well as Double Meaning, Maps of Meaning, and Subculture. 
    • Motel of the Mysteries by David Macaulay, a short book about interpreting the past, 3000 years after the world is destroyed in 2011. It is really interesting and shows how very wrong we could be about how we interpret archeological finds from the past. 
    • Plurality, rather than singular ideas. 
    • Stone Henge, what is it about? Stone Henge is a series of standing stones in a perfect circle. Some of the stone openings align with certain aspects of outer space. There are about 500 other Stone Henge-esq, circular, stone organizations found on earth. Apparently 20 miles away from stone henge a wooden model it was found, The model was precise and exactly the same size and scale as Stone Henge! Stone Henge was NOT a burial site. 
    • We began to look at what the design concept of a circle might be. It marks something that isn the center as sacred. Is it religious? You can either be inside or outside the circle, some things or people are included and some are not. A circle geometrically and structurally relies on all of the parts. 
    • PYRAMIDS! Pyramids are like upward arrows. The size and weight mattered greatly. They are light weight (respectively) because you had to carry your tomb when you got to the after life. Heliopolis: City of the Sun.
    • Elements of design: CIRCLES, GROVES, STACKS, PEOPLE: 
      • CIRCLES: sun & moon, sacred spots
      • GROVES: groves of trees, reaching vertical, groups of people
      • STACKS: mountains, gathering recourses
      • PEOPLE: emulating the human body
    • Prototype vs. Archetype
      • Archetype: The original pattern or model
      • Prototype: Something that follows the pattern given by the archetype
    • First civilizations looked at nature for things to emulate.
    • Repetition can lead to:
      • contrast/unity
      • emphasis/harmony
      • balance/proportion 
    • We thought about if environments influenced rituals or vice versa, it's virtually impossible to know. Which came first, the chicken or the egg?
    • Greek Temples and Palaces: 
      • Minoan: 3000-1400 BCE
      • Mycenae: 1400-1200 BCE
      • Helenistic: 500-30 BCE
    • Greek temples and palaces use the archeological qualities of both Stacks and Groves
    • Their relationship between ratio, relative importance, and balance.
    • Columns
      • Doric
      • Ionic
      • Corinthian
      • Tuscan
      • Composite
    • We looked at the temple of Hera and the two temples of Athena of Nike
    • How do we view sculpture? 
      • It is usually unpainted
      • Terracotta Army, two thousand out of eight thousand warriors have been uncovered and not two sculptures are the same. 
    • As a group we compared the Acropolis vs. the Xianyang by looking at space, power, precedent, order, experience, principles, site, scale, technology, and surface.
      • Utilitas: (commodity) useful arangement, quality, and interrelationship of spaces.
      • Firmitas: (firmness) performance, stability, integration, safety.
      • Venustas: (delight) ability to create a sense of place, a positive effect, aesthetics.
    • Rome
      • Plan: Cardo+Decumanus
      • Road: All roads lead to Rome
      • Aqueduct: aqua vitae
      • Bath: architecture + ritual
      • Basilica: gathering place
      • Temple: adaption, frontal orientation
      • Column: Wu-wu
      • Market: edge
      • Forum: major open space
      • Amphitheatre: atop landscape instead of in it
      • Colosseum: bread and circuses
      • Dome: bring the world under one roof
    • Rome was primarily a military society.
    • Roman urbanizations used a grid method, much like our cities today. 
    • Aqueduct translates as "water over water"
    • How to create a Roman City:
      • First roads, then water
      • Include baths that help show social status by the time that you are allowed to go
      • Use color
      • Wu-wu columns, they were built to represent one's power. The bigger the column the more powerful the person. It's not difficult to figure out why it is referred to as a "wu-wu.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Solstice Celebration

 It is June 21st, 2015 and it is a busy day for my family. We wake up early and begin to get things ready for the International Summer Solstice Celebration that will later be held at my house.

Two months ago, my family and I joined the new social networking site: “International Solstice Socialization” in preparation for ISS day. Through the site, we were assigned a family from each continent. Then, through Skype chat and video calls we got to know the families. We explained our traditions to one another and traded our favorite holiday recipes.

Today we are hard at work, cooking and cleaning. My grandparents will be joining us for a meal, which will be served at precisely 4:28 this evening. Seeing as it will be after lunch time but not quite be dinner time, we just have snacks all day long and save our appetites for the big meal. We collectively prepare six dishes. Those six are recipes that were given to us by and are special to our friends we met through In addition to those dishes, we also make things that we traditionally enjoy.

At four o'clock my grandparents arrive at my house and we all visit for a little while. Just before four thirty we set the food on the lazy susan in the center of our large circular dining room table. Everyone takes a seat and we turn on the screens, each one connected, through Skype, to each of our ISS families. Each family takes turns explaining traditions.

By the end of the meal everyone is happy and full. As we say goodbye to our guests through technology, we look forward to seeing them once again in December for the Winter Solstice Celebration. 

Friday, February 11, 2011

Response to Edward T. Hall's Article on Anthropology and Space

     The article explained that people act certain ways in certain environments and situations. People's actions and reactions to spaces also change with the number of people present, one person, a small group, a whole city, etc. Hall explains that each room in a house causes one to act, in what our society labels, accordingly. He defines this as "fixed-feature space," explaining that it has to do with territoriality. This fixed-feature space helps to organize activities for people entering a home. We live in a world where most rooms are easily differentiated from one another. We can look at a room and know this room is for food preparation, eating, sleeping, socializing, working, etc. For example, when you enter a house and you see a room with a stove, refrigerator, and counters in it your brain automatically tells you that it is a kitchen and a place to cook. If you happen upon another room that has a bed and dresser in it you know that it is a bedroom and a place of rest. Most people do not linger in the doorway of a bedroom because they know it is a private place that is owned by someone who lives in the house. When in someone else's home you know what rooms are open and what rooms are off limits. If you were to use the bathroom, you wouldn't go to the bathroom that is adjacent to someone's bedroom, you would use one that is more communally accessible. Commonly there are living rooms that are located in the same space as a dining room, subconsciously we are able to tell where that boundary is that separates the two. Humphry Osmond came up with a definition for a space that separates people, "sociofugal space." This refers to the fact that if a group of people were in that space that included both a dining area and a living area the separate spaces wouldn't face each other and the people inhabiting those spaces would probably only interact with those around them. I.E a person sitting on the couch would talk to the person in the chair next to them, not the person sitting around the table. In our society today the way humans interact with architectural space is more of a known way of acting instead of social experimentation.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


For the week of January 22nd our studio did studies on color. We all had to buy this pack of amazing colored paper and we used it throughout the week.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

IARC video response

Dining in Different Cultures

Every culture has certain norms and expectations when it comes time to eat. The following paragraphs will look at the customs of China, Kenya, and France, all which can then be compared to our customs in the U.S.

Similarly to Americans, the Chinese commonly meet for three meals each day. A place setting consists of a bowl, chop sticks, a spoon, and a saucer; you do not use napkins during and receive a hot towel at the end of the meal. That alone says a lot about Americans, we commonly use one or more napkins during a meal. Most meals are composed of the same things. A grain of sorts is the main dish, accompanied by a “side” of meat and of vegetables.
 It is common for soup to be served as well. When a family sits at the dinner table the oldest people begin to eat first and it works its way down to the youngest. Unlike in America, where children seem to have evolved into very picky eaters, Chinese children are not allowed to be opinionated about their meal. They are taught to eat every portion of the meal equally and not show favoritism to one type of food in any way. It is thought to be very disrespectful to not finish all of your meal, especially the main grain. I believe that the Chinese eating habits are much more complaisant than Americans'.

Kenya tends to have very formal dining but, it varies from social class and location. 
It is important to arrive to a meal on time and rude to turn down an invitation. Like in the U.S, you are expected to wash your hands before a meal. When eating, Kenyans only use their right hand. It is rude to refuse to eat a certain food, each food presented should be tried, at least. When hosting a guest it is tradition to kill and roast a goat. My friend visited Kenya last year and they killed a goat in her and her families honor. In addition to roasting the goat, they drained the goat's blood and made an herbal drink with it. Seeing as it would be very rude to not accept this special drink, she and her family had to drink it. Just like in China, Kenyans eat in order of age, starting with the elders.

France named best place in the world to live 5th year in rowLike in Kenya, meals are on the formal side in France. Most meals are three courses and are served with an abundance of bread and wine. It is common for children to drink wine during a meal as well. Unlike Americans, the French keep their hands visible and on the table at all times, never in their laps. You are expected to eat all the food given to you. At my house, our meals are on one plate and include a grain, a meat, and a vegetable. We usually all sit down, pray (christian), and eat. Traditionally, a french meal will include: hors d'eovres, a main course, salad, a cheese plate, and occasionally desert. No one is to eat until the head of the house says “bon appetit!”
Different cultures have different customs and ways of life, I find it to be very interesting to read about and experience these differences. This is a link that lists foods that some places think are amazingly delicious but, seem quite odd to most Americans.

Monday, February 7, 2011

"Worship by the Shore" RR3

"Commodity, Firmness, & Delight" BP3

       On Friday I was sick and couldn't go on the walk around campus, so I ended up going to the the three buildings alone. I think it was good that I went alone because I was able to spend time at/in/around those places and fully take in their architectural layout.

       The MHRA building has been one of my favorites since I toured UNCG before freshman year. I believe that it has a very high "Commodity, Firmness, and Delight" rating. The MHRA building is a place where students can go and study humanity . Humanities studies include things like language, law, history, literature, religion, the arts, and much more, all of which are incredibly important in our lives today. Constructed of brick, stone, glass, metal, sheet rock, and plaster, this piece of architecture is very stable. It features beautiful, doric, columns outside the building that enhance it's stability and appearance.

 The MHRA building is located on the corner of campus which symbolically emphasizes it's importance. The main entrance is a tall cylinder, marking it as a "sacred spot." Windows cover the walls of the cylinder, allowing as much light as possible enter the building. The floor has a beautiful design made of tile, granite, and stone. Because of it's usefulness, architecture, and aesthetic appeal I believe that the MHRA building is one place on campus with acceptional "Commodity, Firmness, and Delight."