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Tuesday, September 28, 2010


[1] Compare and contrast the cathedrals according to the matrix. To illustrate your post, hand draw a view of your “main” cathedral, scan it and place it at the top of your response. Your written thoughts should fully illuminate the questions asked with each cathedral pairing on the website. Strive for 250-300 words total for this response. Include additional images, as applicable, if you wish. Also check out the west vs. east page and digest what is written there.

SALISBURY VS AMIENS: TOWN: examines the impact of what comes first, cathedral or town.
The Salisbury and Amiens Cathedral were both constructed in the same year (1220).  However, the main difference between both cathedrals is the location in which they were built. The Salisbury cathedral was built on new ground outside the old city of Sarum.  In contrast, the Amiens Cathedral was built in Amiens, the chief city of Picardy.  An important difference here is they built the cathedral around the city.  One can visually see the difference between both structures. Salisbury has the freedom to spread out as far into the horizon while Amiens is constrained to the city’s parameters.  The cathedral in Amiens was impelled to be constructed vertically instead of horizontally. Salisbury took advantage of this by creating more open spaces. It has the courtyard to the side, which highlights its ability to take advantage of the land. Shortly after, a trading center for wool and cloth grew up around the Salisbury cathedral.  

SALISBURY VS COLOGNE: LIGHT: Unites all gothic cathedrals in contrast to the “dark ages”

SALISBURY VS FLORENCE: IMPRESSION: first glimpses provide colorful language for examination.

[2] This illustration from A Medieval Home Companion depicts woman at work in a medieval interior. Unfortunately, the image is closely cropped so we don’t see much of the rest of the dwelling in which she works. Using Harwood and Roth, complete the rest of the scene using words and images to demonstrate your understanding of the domestic medieval interior.
Great halls  were a centralized location for most various activities would take place. These great halls  were consisting of a dais, a screen and a hearth to warm the space and in some instances a minstrel’s gallery.  Interior d├ęcor was influenced mostly by rich if not saturated colors of red, blue green white and brown. Lighting was a challenge because heat was paramount most lighting was supplied by fire, candles, fire place, torches, or lamps. Stone, brick, clay, or even dirt would define the floors. Walls were graced with wood paneling and or stone, windows sometimes nonexistent were small in nature due to outside threats. Vaulted ceilings beams or timber roofs were prevalent were as furniture was very limited including items such as beds and tables. 

Monday, September 20, 2010


               Throughout history, architecture has changed its primary focus in design. Starting with the Egyptians, having an unquestioning theme of permanence drove their megalithic sense of architecture to great heights using stone in a land of sand owned this trait. The Egyptians interior architecture mostly lacked this principle, of permanence, because of the use of wood primarily save the pharaoh’s throne. The Egyptians canonized much of their architecture making it easy to be upheld for centuries to come.

              The Greeks came with a vigorous pursuit of perfection achieved with mathematics.  Developing much of what we know of modern geometry mathematics played a significant role in the building of Grecian temples and ultimately cities. Their study of nature and the natural order of things brought a significant discovery the Golden Mean, a purporting system (1:1.61) that allowed things to not only to look proper but to function properly in our natural world most notably the column. Thus bringing life to structure achieved the beauty and idealism the Greeks so treasured.

               The Romans and the advent of concrete revolutionized the ancient world. Building on the work of the Greeks they were able to create roads and less dependence on the meticulous work with marble allowed faster building times. Achieving the dome and metropolitan cities, most notably  of course Rome  to which the famous pantheon and its magnificent “oculus” is  home to is still a marvel should one travel to Rome. 

Monday, September 13, 2010


[1] Hersey describes a grammar for Greek architectural elements based on the idea of sacrifice. SPECULATE about the validity of his argument based on what you know about Greek design and the evidence (both visual and written) he provides.

     Hersey explains in the reading how Greek art, most of the time, contains a vast amount of sacred trees. The “trees were considered the first temple.” They believed that these sacred trees were even be more righteous than the alter that actually served them. Many sacrifices took place round these trees. There were groups of trees that were often adorned with materials that were left over from the sacrifice ritual. Materials like bones, horns, urns, lamps, flowers, weapons, etc. Nature was the main inspiration for Greek architecture. Wooden construction techniques were often used. For example, Tree trunks were trimmed down to take the form of a column which served as support for the temples.

[2] Meant in jest, Macaulay shapes a world of the future in which the main character claims meanings for archeological evidence uncovered at the Motel of the Mysteries. EXTRACT what you believe to be the lesson of mis-interpreting evidence and link that lesson to the real world phenomenon of the internet. In other words, EXPLAIN how you might avoid such a blunder as mis-reading evidence when you use the web as your major information source.

Many people believe everything they hear and read, and I think at some point in our lives we all have been guilty of this. When looking for information on the internet it is always a good idea to look at who wrote the article, post, blog, etc. Many times people publish things on the internet that are not necessarily true or it’s based on their own personal opinion. We all know that Wikipedia is not a valid source, although it does provide a lot of information. Like I said before, anyone can post online.  Also, another thing to take in consideration isthe date it was published. Make sure that the website has been updated recently and verify if this site has been professionally reviewed.

Like Patrick said in class
"books go through many reviews and a lot of people look at it before it is published and anyone can post online"

After reading this humorous story, which by the way I loved the drawings, left me thinking about what I should and shouldn’t believe.

[3] The funerary temple design of Queen Hatshepsut speaks a very different design language than the pyramidal forms for other pharaohs. From your readings and the ideas addressed in class, RECOUNT possible reasons why Queen Hatshepsut used this building form.

The Temple was built for the great Queen Hatshepsut to honor her achievements. It was also built to serve as a funerary for her and a sanctuary of Amon Ra (a God). Most temples during this time were being built of sandstone, but this particular one wasn’t.  Queen Hatshepsut’s temple was built of limestone. The temple designed by Queen Hatshepsut was breathtaking and it appeared to be part of themountainous backdrop that it was built against.  There is a series of imposing terraces from the plain desert. The decoration inside consists of scenes of gods in which she also was involved with. The queen was determined to hold on to power so she wanted to make her temple look strong and massive. She wanted to show everyone her power and strength.

[4] Although some evidence suggests links between the Egyptian and Greek civilizations, and some building forms and details provide support for that linkage, the two societies produced design responses in great contrast to one another. Select a building type (house, tomb, or temple) from each culture and ELUCIDATE similarities and differences in the two forms over time. Provide an annotated illustration for each selected type.

     The main differences between Egyptian and Greek architecture are function, structure, and symbolism. They also differ in structural use and site layout. Egyptian temples are much greater in size than the Greeks. Greek temples were small, long, and narrow because of limited resources. As the Greek wealth grew, they started having more resources which gave them the opportunity to expand and build slightly larger temples. On the other hand, Egyptian temples were grand in scale because of the abundance of materials such as the limestone, which we know was used to build the pyramids. Something else that I found very interesting is that Greek architects made conscious choices in design for aesthetic reasons and not just for function like Egyptians did. All of these differences help us distinguish one temple from another.

[5] Harwood shows examples of Egyptian furniture on pp. 60-61. HYPOTHESIZE about the lightweight nature of Egyptian furniture when compared to tomb architecture, as at the Pyramids of Giza, which many characterize as massive and heavy.

     I suppose that the Egyptians we more interested in the afterlife than they were about life on earth. Which is the reason I believe the interior of the space was so light weight and simple compared to the massive and intimidating exterior.  

     Egyptians built pyramids out of huge blocks of stones which suggest a sense of immovability and eternalness, just like the pharaohs soul, which cannot be overlooked. Over 2.5 million blocks of limestone were used to build a pyramid. Each block weigh from 2 to 70 tons and the base of the pyramid spread over 13 acres of land. The exterior of the pyramids is rough, heavy and massive, unlike the interior.

     The interior of the pyramids is empty with unfinished chambers.  Wood was quite scarce during this time, which is why large furniture items were not very common. By far the most common pieces of furniture were small stools, which were built for the idea of providing seating. These stools have been found in common houses but also in Pharaohs’ tombs. Egyptian furniture doesn't have the quality of permanence that tomb architecture has.

[6] Based on a careful reading of the visual evidence in these two images, DRAW OUT an explanation of design and gender roles as you see both depicted. As this language of urns represents essentially one of the main ways we know about Grecian culture, COMMENT on the validity of such a practice of reading evidence.

     The two urns portray images of men that look very powerful and in control since the female appears to be attending him. In Grecian culture, all men were above women. Men had higher power and were the ones that were in control. Women were basically used to serve them in any way possible. 

     On this first urn, we can see that the ruler is handing the female a sword. This does not mean she is in power. You can only give what you have, which means the ruler is giving her the sword so she can fight for him.
     This urn is much different from the one above. Here you can see the ruler holding a cornucopia as he sits on his throne. It appears that he is being served by two women.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Some key ideas that are very important to know are:

-        Architecture is the art form we inhabit.
-        Architecture design is symbolic.
-        We consider the totality of the built environment.
-        Form of dialogue with the past and future.
-        Buildings and objects are conscious reflective acts.

Some things that we should consider are:

-        Light
-        Color
-        Materials
-        Furnishings
-        Fourth dimension
-        Third dimension
-        Inside and outside

     A designer should have a BALANCE between practice and theory to be successful. You should be able to produce (draw/design) and be able to talk about your work to back up any ideas and drawings. PRACTICE is “the continuous and regular exercise of employment where manual work is done with only necessary materials according to the design of the drawing.”  THEORY is “the ability to demonstrate and explain the production of dexterity on principles of proportion.”
Vitruvius also said that to be a good designer you need to master all of the following:
-        Geometry
-        History
-        Philosophy
-        Music
-        Medicine
-        Order
-        Eurhythmics
-        Property
-        Economy
-        Medicine

Medicine doesn’t necessarily mean anatomy, biology and chemistry, what he means by medicine is that you must be able to determine how location will affect a building.

Vitruvius played such an important role in this section of the course because we went on to talk about The Elements of Architecture. As described by Vitruvius, the elements of architecture are utility, firmness and beauty. Which later on, in the seventeenth century, it was modified by Sir Henry Wotton.  He said, “In architecture, as in all operative arts, the end must direct the operations. The end is to build well. Well building hath three conditions: commodity, firmness and delight.” What this is suggesting is that a building must be functional, have a solid foundation and be appealing to the visual senses. 

How do you keep a building from falling down? That’s the question Architects and engineers ask themselves all the time to find innovative ways to make buildings stronger, particularly those that present the most demanding problems because of their location. For example, when building in Florida you have to take in consideration hurricanes, water level, etc. How do you make a building more useful? Architects and designers continue to develop new methods of improving a building's function. Also, they are promoting interaction. How do you measure beauty? The most acclaimed architecture communicates the spirit of its purpose. 
Another part of the discussion's we've had in class that i thought was very important and extremely interesting is when we looked far back in time. We talked about how people used animal bones for structural systems with skin stretched over it. They used localized materials to provide shelter and shade. It’s amazing to see how we have the same idea of shelter now but in a more modern way. 
The stone alignment in Carnac, Avebury and Stonehenge is very intriguing and it still to this day amazes people and many questions arise. Those are massive stones, how did they get it into that position? Stonehenge is the most visited and well known of the British stone rings. Stonehenge is set in an area of England. It is the site of many burial tombs. The circle is roughly 320 feet in diameter which had a single entrance and had a wooden sanctuary in the middle. This sactuary acted as a healing sanctuary for the sick and infirm. "whenever they [the Irish] felt ill, baths should be prepared at the foot of the stones; for they used to pour water over them and to run this water into baths in which their sick were cured. What is more, they mixed the water with herbal concoctions and so healed their wounds. There is not a single stone among them which hasn't some medicinal virtue" were the words of Darvill and Wainwright.
The circle was aligned with the midsummer sunrise. The stones weigh as much as four tons each which presented transportation problems since they had to travel 240 miles from the Prescelly Mountains. There were 60 stones used in all. So how did they get them to where they are now? Modern theories speculate that the stones were dragged by roller and sledge from the inland mountains to the headwaters of Milford Haven. (Bruce’s Theory, 1)

Something else that I believe is very important and will be very useful for every assignment we turn in is “PATRICK’s idea of ELEMENTS & PRINCIPLES of design”

ELEMENTS: line, space and form.  
PRINCIPLES: repetition, contrast, emphasis, harmony, balance, proportion and unity.