Thursday, 26 February 2009


“In architecture, as in all operative arts, the end must direct the operation. The end is to build well. Well building hath three conditions: Commodity Firmness and Delight.”- Sir Henry Wotton
One of the main themes that we’ve discussed in our first unit is commodity, firmness, and delight. Which is the idea that all architectural design should serve a specific function, or multiple functions; that a building should be able to stand the wear and tare of time and that it should be visually appealing. This theme opened my view of architecture. When exploring this idea more we talked about the difference between art and architecture, and came up with the most understandable comparison between the two that I’ve ever known. Art fulfills only firmness and delight, meaning it stands the test of time and is visually appealing, but serves no function, while architecture serves all three. What I found most interesting about this theme was how the function we need a space to serve, and what we consider to be visually appealing changes over time. So a structure must be able to morph to different serve several different functions.
When speaking of commodity, firmness, and delight we talked about Stonehenge. Stonehenge is most certainly visually appealing and has lasted many, many years, but its function is unknown to us. Many believe it to act as a calendar, or time telling machine of some sort. Its circular formation draws a person to its center. It is also built in such a large scale that some people think it was mean to be viewed from the heavens.

(Image below taken from We also talked about the six distinguishing features of architecture. Which are: interior versus exterior, third dimension, fourth dimension (time), light as the primary medium, color and materials, and furnishings. Going along with this theme we talked about how all of these components have to intertwine and work together to make a whole.
These themes allow me to see more clearly what standards my designs must meet in order to be successful. My thought process for everything that I design has expanded to something much more detailed and refined since I’ve thought more about what criteria they will need to meet in real life.
When moving along the lines of commodity, firmness, and delight we considered whether or not these words mean the same things across the world. Is what we consider to be beautiful deemed beautiful in other countries? What changes? With this we switched our focus to Roman versus Greek architecture. In Greece the architecture was based off of the surroundings, which was largely water. It was the search to make the ideal into reality. They wanted their central city to be the greatest. In Rome, with the acropolis in Athens the Romans created a building that was so monumental to all other architecture after it. The Parthenon held so many functions, such as commerce, speeches, and a gathering place for people from all around. The proportions of all the buildings created in Greece and Rome stemmed from the diameter of the columns inside and outside of the building.
These Roman and Greek buildings all perfected the idea of leading the viewers through the space, clarifying you for entrance through the porch to the more common area called the court, and then if you were worthy enough you went to the hearth. The hearth was deemed a very privileged place to be, all the most detailed and refined architecture and landscaping was there for people to see.
For me commodity, firmness, and delight were the most profound and interesting themes that I’ve learned. It really clarified to me exactly what architecture, or design in general must be to be successful.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009


This week we focused on the many characteristics there are of a single space, or building. There is one afternoon of my childhood that stands out to me when thinking of different spaces. I was swinging on the swing set in my backyard and looking at my barn, my
 house, and the surrounding space (my yard) and I thought to myself how each room in those spaces seemed to be a completely different world. Each room made you feel completely
 different, and made you notice different things. What I was actually seeing then were the different moments of a space. This week, while drawing my assigned building I was forced to notice again the small moments that I saw before. I started to see all the parts that make up a whole. We are focusing on the small parts of a whole in more detail this week, while drawing the little things that are unique to our buildings.
What I expect to find when looking at the unique parts of my building are things that show duality or, “an instance of opposition or contrast between to concepts, or two aspects of something.”-Webster’s Dictionary. The presence, or existence, of these moments of duality
creates a balance in the space. We as humans need to be directed, and these moments of duality attract and lead us to them, leading us through the space.  ("There is no fixed set of proportions in the parts;...and no standard relationship between solid and void." -Robert Branner, Gothic Architecture, 1961) I disagree with this quote from ourUnderstanding Architecture book because one of the dualities shown in the baths of the diocletian is between what is solid and what is void. This duality is what separates the different sections, and the people, of the baths. We, as people walk throughout the void spaces and are lead by what is solid. 
The presence of these dualities leading us through a space helps you to think about the metric, or system, of the space. System is a great word to describe a space. There are so many details that are arranged either for structure, function, or decoration that make a space into a single component, and they all work together in a very specific way.
The duality of these moments are very obvious and distinguishable, and therefore they connect with each other. We are lead from moment to moment through a space. The baths of the Diocletian were discussed in length during our architecture history class and from
 everything we’ve learned I deduce that they are a great example of all of these words working together. The 32 acres that make up the baths of the Diocletian are all connected by the 
moments in each section of the baths. For example, the concert halls, and the sculpture gardens are connected through their central common area, just like the food court of the mall acts as a connector, and connection zone for the rest of a modern day mall. It is a space for commerce, entertainment, and speeches.
These specific moments, and dualities included in the baths are there to express the wealth and power of the people in side. This is most prominent when we see the division between men, women, and slaves. "Roman life focused on temporal comforts and pleasures, as the Roman bath well illustrates." (Roth 207)
The metric of the baths, each section linked by water, but still divided into a section shows the dualities even more clearly by dividing the people along with each section. If these divisions don’t create enough of a presence, the gorgeous tiles and stone on the floors,
 ceilings, and walls will. The mosaics and tiles tell another layer of stories of their creator for their intended audience, the common people. Simultaneously acting as decoration and helping with function; the tiles make for an easy clean up throughout the day. The basilica form of the baths was a great place for speeches, and commerce. 
The baths are a very well developed precedent for our modern day construction. There are many different qualities of the several structures that are included in the baths of the
 diocletian that we've taken and manipulated, or expanded upon and reused. 


The above image is a plan view of the baths of the diocletian. It is a great depiction of the void and solid spaces that i spoke about earlier and also shows the metric, or system of the space.

The four images directly above are images i've included to show some of the moments one might experience in a space. I drew these for my drawing class. I found this moment immediately above in particular to be most significant because i found it while walking down the corridor and peering into one of the open doors. I decided to sit in the hallway and draw what i could see of the room through the doorway.

The image above is an image i've included to represent duality. I came up with this idea of sun versus moon while in my astronomy class. It's also reminded me of our black and white projects we made for our studio class that represent so many different dualities, such as good and evil and, knowledge and naiveté.

I included the above image as an image of presence. The use of color, and the images depicted are very unique and strong in the sense that your eyes are lead all around the picture and there are never left wanting. 

The image below shows a great deal of the color and tiles that are included in the baths of the diocletian. These tiles acted as a precedent for our modern day use of color and materials. We have learned a lot about what how design well on many levels from the baths. This image also depicts the very strong presence that the baths had too. The baths are so unique and colorful that they cannot be unnoticed or forgotten. 
Image taken from:

This image shows the baths of the diocletian from an exterior view. It shows how different the separate spaces are. The baths spread out over a vast area of land, and the different sections are made in different qualities and materials for different functions.
Image taken from: 

From our focus on the different moments, and aspects of a space i have taken my knowledge one step further in that i have trained my eye to notice details of a space that have very specific purposes, or are unique to that space. I have noticed that the way i perceive buildings and spaces has changed. I am able to put into words what i notice, and i am able to recognize how different things that may be included in a space make me feel different ways. For example, in my astronomy classroom there is no natural lighting i always walk out of the classroom drained and unhappy. In my studio space i experience the exact opposite. During the day there is little to no artificial lighting and i am productive and genuinely happy.  I can't wait to notice more and more details in the buildings i experience in my day to day life. 

Monday, 23 February 2009

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Grand Central Terminal

(Image taken from

Grand Central Terminal, or Grand central station is on 42nd Street and Park avenue in Midtown Manhattan in New York City.
 Grand Central Station was deconstructed, and reconstructed between the years 1903 and 1913, and in 1913 it reopened to the public. It was built by, and named for, the New York City railroad. With 44 platforms, and 67 tracks along them this building is the largest train station in the world by number of platforms. 
The station was built into two separate levels, the top level has 41 tracks and the bottom layer has 26 tracks. There is more construction happening on the building and when it re-opens there will be a total of 75 tracks and 48 platforms.
I chose this twentieth century building because it's in my home state. I associate everything from NYC to my older brother and sister who live in Park Slope Brooklyn. The last time I visited them we went to Grand Central "Station" and I was completely entranced with its grand open spaces. I am so excited about the reoccurring expansion and development. After doing some research I was able to find the layout of the building and I cannot wait to delve deeper into the buildings design.
I was initially drawn in by the interior of the building but I am confident that the architecture of the building will be just as amazing.

Monday, 16 February 2009


Image for weekly sum up:

Image for Hierarchy: 

Image for Order:

Image for Hierarchy

Archetype/ Prototype/ Hybrid:
In history class we talked about how the column types are good examples of archetype, prototype and hybrid. The five different types of columns Tuscan, Doric, Ionic, Corinthian, and Composite are all examples of Archetypes and each one acts as a Prototype for the one after it. For example, a Tuscan column is a prototype for a Doric column and so forth.“The Archetype is what we strive for, it is the ideal, and the Prototype is what gets you there.”- Patrick
One day we spoke about how the different empires such as Rome, 
Greece, and Egypt all strived to make the most perfect building. We talked about how in Rome the Propylaia is an example of a building that is great, but does not compete with the “perfection” of the Parthenon, and could therefore be considered a hybrid.
(Image taken from: 

A source can be described as a person place or thing from which something comes or can be obtained. For example in our drawing class the on campus building

 that I was assigned to draw was a source for my drawings. I had to refer to it in order to get het information I needed to draw the thumbnail sketches I was assigned to draw.
In history the Parthenon, and Athens in general was a source for our knowledge of the beginnings of architecture, as we know it.

In drawing class this week we focused more on the background behind the figures that we draw. We’ve been trying to add more details to paint a better picture of
 the environment, or entourage, behind the people.
In history the Entourage could be considered the different buildings that are together as one place. For example we spoke a lot about Porch, Court and Hearth. These three things are what lead you through a space. They make this space, full of many different parts, into one single space. Just as all the background objects in the pictures we drew for our drawing class act as one collective whole.
The theatre of Dionysis is also a good example of entourage. This structure took into account it’s surrounding mountains, while also drawing your attention to the actors and the set design on the stage. It pulls all of these components together t

The social and political hierarchy in architecture is extremely prominent when we speak of Roman architecture. It can be seen in the simplicity, or extravagance of the different buildings. For example in Athens there are four main structures, the Parthenon, the Propylaia, the Erechteion, and the Temple of Athena Nike. These buildings are all in a procession, somewhat like a beauty pageant and this is very apparent by the use of materials, the column types, the location, and the scale. The Propylaia and the Temple of Athena Nike act as the porch in this scenario. They purify you for entrance in the acropolis and then lead you through the court and to the hearth, which is for only certain people.
The first thing that comes to mind when talking about order is the order of the columns. The three main orders are Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian and they are all prevalent in our society today.
The order of porch, court, and hearth are also very important in architecture. They lead you through a space in an order that is very purposeful and specific. Especially for the Acropolis in Athens there is a specific order to the way the buildings are placed and made. They each serve a different and important purpose.

This week really focused on how many different pieces can make up one whole thing. For example several pieces of furniture make up one single room or space. Many different pieces of wood build a house. Many parts act as a whole.
We saw this in all of our classes. Not only did i see this in my Interior Architecture courses but i saw it even in my Astronomy class. Each week when i am assigned new words i keep them in the back of my mind and for the title of this weeks opus "parts:whole" i thought about how all of the stars and planets in the sky make up the universes. These words that we're assigned each week can truly be found anywhere and everywhere. Commodity, Firmness, and Delight, from a previous opus assignment, has stuck with me. It is permanently engraved in my mind and i always relate things back to it, in their function, appearance, and long lasting capability. 

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Thumbnails of Curry

We were assigned in our drawing class a building to draw. My building was the Curry building of education. First we had to draw a floor plan based on our own observations and sketches, and now we were assigned to draw twelve small sketches of particular "moments" in our building that we deem significant. These are my thumbnails.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009


When speaking of scale in our history of architecture class we analyzed and compared the Khufu, which is one of the Great Pyramids at Giza, and the Hatshepsut. 
We found that the Khufu, as a pyramid, seems to be lifting itself and its onlookers towards the heavens with its pointed top. One of its very aesthetically pleasing qualities is its repetition of shapes with its surrounding pyramids. It is also made out of the same materials that it is surrounded by, which makes it fade into the background. Although it fades into the background it is still very pronounced and beautiful. There is only one sphinx gaurding 
the entrance of the tomb, which represents the social hierarchy of Egypt. It represents the need for only one leader.
The Hatshepsut temple seems to be smaller in scale. Unlike the Khufu tomb, this structure houses a queen and her family. "As pharaoh, she initiated grander and more numerous building projects than those of any of her middle kingdom predecessors." (Class Handout) There are many different openings in the front of this temple, and the repetition created by these openings is very appealing. Ironically as a woman queen Hatshepsut has many male figures built into the columns gaurding her temple. This represents the social hierarchy of men versus women. This structure is a bit more ominous than the Khufu. It is more hidden, having been built into a mountain, and therefore makes the onlooker feel unwelcome. 
The difference in scale is that one building is built ON the land while one building is built IN the land. This is a very significant detail of these two structures. It is what separates them so
 definitely. They are both made out of their surrounding materials. For the Hatshepsut temple, having been built into a mountainside makes its scale much larger. The pyramids, however, are large enough to stand on their own. 

"How a building is, relative tot eh size of the average human being, is said to be its scale." (Roth 75)


A boundary is "a line that marks the limit of an area; a dividing line"(-Webster's dictionary.) In architecture this may be the exterior wall of a building. For instance there was not much of a boundary between the temple of Hatshepsut and the mountain in which it was built. The mountain and the temple morphed into one space because of the way the temple was designed. With the pyramids at Giza there are many boundary lines made by the numbers of pyramids all in one space. One boundary, for instance, delineates the outside, or the inside of the group of pyramids. You can walk around the outside of the group of pyramids or you can cross that boundary to the interior and look at them from the center of their gathering. 
The drawing below is of an "Urban studio wall." I chose to include this to be an example of a boundary. Urban studio walls delineate between the interior and the exterior. 


In our drawing classes we've been working on drawings of people in their environments. These drawings called vignettes are supposed to catch significant details of the people, and their surrounding interior or exterior spaces. Another property of a vignette that separates it from any old sketch is that they are supposed to fade into the background without any significant border or boundary. It is a section of your surrounding environment without any boundary lines to separate it from the page. 


In architecture there are many different ways of depicting your ideas and a "section view" is one of them. This section view below is one that i did for my drafting class. This piece, or section, of the chair that i designed is a good representative of what my chair looks like without including all of the information about my chair. This also goes for a section of anything, of life, of a drawing, of a space, it is a small piece of something. It tells you enough information, but not all of the information. 


Both the pyramids at Giza, and the Hatshepsut temple have a really great sense of unity. The three larger pyramids at Giza, along side the three smaller pyramids all fit together very well. It gives you the sense of safety in numbers. 
"While pyramid construction had been solely for the reigning pharoah prior to Khufu, his reign saw the construction of several minor pyramid structures that are believed to have been intended for other members of his royal household, amounting to a royal cemetary." (-Architecture handout) Knowledge of the familial relationship of these temples unifies them on a different level altogether. It unifies them on a more emotional scale. 
The pyramids are also unified in the sense that they are made of the same materials as their surroundings. Because they are so out in the open surrounded by desert the pyramids draw you too them. 
The Hatshepsut temple is unified in the sense that it is physically connected to its environment, as well as made out of it. It is built into a mountain. This aspect of the temple makes it seem more ominous and uninviting. You have to travel and look hard to find this temple, and when you do it gives you the feeling that you're not allowed to go inside.
In a more artistic sense, unity is what we cal when separate parts work together. Unity is the visual experience of going into a space that is multifunctional and has a number of different parts and purposes so that your visual experience is to see a single thing. You see only one place, with many parts that make up that space. 

Six Vignettes

Monday, 9 February 2009

Drinking and Drawing

In our drawing class we were given an assignment to find a place where people gather and draw three vignettes of these people and their background. I chose Tate st. Coffee because there are thousands of things covering the walls and tables and chairs everywhere. I thought it would be a great place to draw an interesting vignette that does not completely focus on the people. 

In class Vignettes

Gesture Drawings