Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Early Cities: Illuminate::Materials:Delight-


This is my representation of the burial snake mounds found in the Ohio River valley. They were risen from the ground and almost became a three dimensional object.

This is a watercolor vignette of a studio work space. I only wanted to draw attention to certain parts of the vignette, so I painted the chair and the studio desk to make the mess on the desk really pop and become vivid. 

Illumination is when you highlight something, or make something prominent. Early civilizations used illumination to make certain commodities really stand out within the area. The parts of their society that they illuminated were very important to them as a whole. For example, the snake burial mounds at the Ohio River valley can be seen miles high. The mounds really stand out and show the importance of their deceased ones. Also when illuminating something it can draw attention to certain features. Which in turn is what this ancient civilization did with their burial mounds. Ancient cultures also drew attention to religion. Going back to the temples that were reaching the heavens, they used the height to illuminate religious realms. " Motivation for most architectural buildings was rooted in religion." (Blakemore, pg. 2) Illumination is used to highlight certain parts of a culture and display them to other groups of people. 

These are the materials/ fabrics that I used for my wearable artifact. I feel like I chose the right fabrics to be symbolic of certain parts of my fairy tale. 

Materials are artifacts that come together to make either something singular or becomes a unit. Materials are fascinating objects to me. Depending on the function for what is to be made with the materials, if chosen based upon commodity, firmness, and delight then the object can become quite applicable and therefore, illuminated. Materials are not just artifacts that makes something else. They are what gives us our buildings and gives us the ability to design and contribute to society. Especially the right materials can make a major difference in whether or not a building or structure can be considered firm, functional, and delightful. The Egyptians used a variety of materials to create their wonderful structures. "Timber suitable for furniture production and building construction was not widely available. Due to the limited local supply Egyptians became proficient in using  short lengths of wood extensions... imported timbers used in building construction were cedar, pine, fir, and cypress. The Egyptians used cedar to make their large scale buildings." ( Blakemore, pg. 1) These statements really show how resourceful the Egyptians were with getting their materials. And it also shows how they had the ability to pick the right materials to give the structure commodity, firmness, and delight.  And obviously they were right on track because their structures have stood the test of time and gravity. 
This is an image that I drew from Eastern architecture influences. It deals mainly with solid and void. And the solid and void concept is one that the East relies heavily on for their design. 
These are stairs that again revert back to leading to a higher power, and displayed that with repetition and artificial hills. 

An idiom is a statement of either words or exemplified by materials and structure that cannot be taken literally. For example, the temples like the one below is built on an artificial hill. They created this hill to attribute the fact that they want to be close to the heavenly realm. Which in turn, means closer to the Gods. An idiom is for the most part, a symbolic interpretation that can convey a message, or either has a submissive meaning. Another really good example of and idiom are the ancient Egyptians hieroglyphics. Each picture had different meanings. " The most important motifs were symbols' such a the winged sun(royal dignity)..."(Blakemore, pg. 25) Idioms also relate to solid and void. Solid and void deals with what is there and what is not in order to get certain messages across, that the designer is trying to portray. Correlating back to the temples transcending to the heavens, stairs played a major role in portraying " a journey to the Gods.
"Stairs designated deity and power from something larger that human life.  
Mesopotamian Temple Photograph:(Rothe, pg. 185)

Commodity is to accommodate  at least one but generally more than one function. It is a must for architects to consider commodity while designing. If they do not then the run the risk of the building not best equipping its users in order to carry out the tasks necessary for the building to have a good "flow." When you talk about commodity you also have to determine if what you are designing is "vernacular" or "high style." If a building or design is unspecialized, multi-generational, shared by all, and also is tradition bound. Vernacular style is also idiomatic; which is additive and or subtractive unspecialized and unbound design enjoyed by those targeted. Where as, high style is more specified and driven towards a specific group of people. High style also deals more so with regional influences, and impacts people that are more well cultured and sophisticated. 
Stonehenge, for example displays the idea of commodity. It only displays commodity now because we as humans of the modern day, are unsure about a specific function of structure. However, there are several theories about what Stonehenge was used for. Some say that its purpose was a ceremonial grounds, a place where possibly those kin to the deceased could have come and visited their loved one. Although, they would not leave the body there. We do know that if this theory is correct that they definitely moved the body because there are no remains of humans in any form to be found. The major point is, that this civilization created for a purposeful function. 
The ancient Egyptians assuredly designed most of the renown structures for burial and afterlife purposes. Their pyramids and even the ones' on Giza were a tribute to the deceased. However, not only did their burial "wonders" have a purpose, but so did the houses in which they inhabited.  Similar to the Egyptians the Mesopotamians created temples that served very specified purposes." Sequentially, from the entrance, the temple characteristically comprised of the following spaces: (1)Pylon and courtyard, often with a portico
(2) A hall in which the ceiling or roof was supported by columns.
(3) The Naos, or sanctuary, which contained the statue of the God.
Correspondingly, the house spaces included:(1) the reception vestibule
(2) A columned central living hall
(3) a bedroom. 
(Blakemore, pg.3)  
To me this just goes to show how thoughtful and considerate the Mesopotamians were of what purpose or function went with a certain room. They really wanted every room to be designated a responsibility. 

This is a picture of the Parthenon. It shows how structures that are "firm" can display the test of time. Along with the picture below of the Gizas' that show that not only did they Greeks know how to build things well but so did the Egyptians. The Greeks actually perfected what the Egyptians began to do with structure and firmness. 

Firmness deals with structure and support. Its focus is architectural  structure. Firmness serves the purpose to make sure that objects and/or buildings will not fall to Earth, despite the incessant pull of gravity. Gravity heavily affects structure. It articulates into do the building we build and structures that already exist; "Are they going to stand the test of time?" There are many elements of structure the work together to create firmness. It all begins with foundation and then the walls. Then generally there are lintel beams, which are inserts that go into the wall for structural supports. Trabeated beams are posts of stones. These are occasionally used. However, they were used more in earlier architecture. " The forest of columns that characterizes the interiors of monumental architecture is a function of the strengths and limitations of the building material." (Blakemore, pg.2) He is talking about, the fact that structure and firmness depends on the materials and how the structure works to create commodity. 

This picture shows delight in many ways. Most vividly it exhibits color. You can also see light by they way I shade the flowers and her hair. It also is ornamental because I conveyed much of the detail in the flowers. Overall, I consider it to be delightful.

Delight is the most complex of the three major components of architecture.  It deals with the aesthetics of design. Before we design we must first interpret how people are going to perceive visual data of the architectural and design world.We interpret delight in many different forms. We can take it in as solid and void, negative and positive space, texture, color, texture, ugliness, and ornament. To observe all of these characteristics we can you the gestalt principles in order to help us justify if what we are perceiving is "delight" or not. Space is really important when comprehending delight. Personal space is especially important. "Failing to understand personal space boundaries and similar cultural factors creates a particular risk when an architect is designing for users belonging to a culture or social group to which he or she does not belong." (Rothe, pg.63) 
The most fundamental concept is that our minds are programmed to seek meaning and significance in everything that we take in. This part of delight is called visual perception. Within our visual perception of a space we use the gestalt principles to help us organize our sensory information and to make sense of it. Some gestalt principles that we use are proximity(objects are seen to represent a pattern and points in space), repetition(equalities of spacing or distance are seen even where none exist.), proportion( deals with patterns), scale(is one of the many challenges faced by the user is to determine the size of the building), and rhythm( is intervals of solid and void matters). Also, when we walk into a space to interpret it and experience it, we almost always have to touch part of it. This is where texture comes into play because when you incorporate texture you are appealing to one of the five senses which; in turn, makes the space delightful. You can also use textures to create high contrasts, and architects and designers do it a lot to draw attention to a specific area. Light to me is the most powerful and important element of delight. It heavily affects how we perceive the textures and colors within the room. Then there comes my favorite part, which is "COLOR."  Color is mood provoking and sets the tone for what the room's function is. Ugliness, is the part of delight that really becomes confusing to what delight means. "It is ambiguous or displays an absence of perceivable pattern of relationships. As a quality that is awful because it does not conform to the norm. ( Rothe, pg.89) 

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