Friday, April 29, 2011

BB 14: Influences of Design

The following are pictures of places, objects, buildings, and spaces that have influence me as a designer.


Mexico City

Los Angeles

Cuernavaca Morelos, Mexico


Turner Field Stadium, Atlanta Georgia.

Rose Bowl, Pasadena , California

The Parthenon



Grandma's house

The Woods

The Gym


Soccer Ball



Video games

The buildings that had an influence on me as a designer were mostly big buildings for large capacities such as stadiums. One of the first stadiums I visited to watch a professional match was the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. I was really amazed by the size and number of people at the stadium. The thing that I like about stadiums is the architecture around them. The main thing that a stadium must do is to make people have a clear view of the game or show. I think that sometimes stadiums require a lot of creativity so thats why I like them. There is two places that have influence me as a design and both are in Mexico. The first one is Mexico City, the reason I chose this city is because I'm a really big fan of cities. I like long roads, tall buildings and the noise of cars on the roads. The other place is Cuernavaca, which is located in Morelos, Mexico. I grew close to this place and I like the fact that is almost hot all year round, in fact this city is called "the city of the summer". The architecture is a combination of old and new buildings and that makes this place unique for me.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Unit Summary 3: Explorations

The third unit of the semester was about discovering and exploring new types of architecture around the world. One way in which this was accomplish was through world fairs, which were exhibitions of works from different nations. The first world fair began in 1851 and one of the main architectural structures presented where pavilions which were used for exhibitions. The most famous pavilion discussed in class was the Barcelona pavilion by Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe. This pavilion was important because instead of being used for exhibitions the pavilion itself was used as exhibition simply for the fact that its structure was amazing. During this era of explorations we came across the Scandinavian architecture, a design movement between the countries of Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Finland, in which the main idea of design was minimalism, functionality, and mass production. Since the Scandinavian took part during WWII, designers took advantage of mass production and made or at least tried to make buildings affordable to most people and that is significant because nice buildings were no longer only available to rich people only. Scandinavian designers did not only provided great efficient buildings but they also made dreams possible to those who didn’t have the resources. The designer that was most influential during this time was Le’Corbusier, he was responsible for designing Villa Savoye in France. The Villa Savoye house was one of the most influential building because it was clear example of modern architecture. The idea of minimalism was clearly seen from the outside and inside. The garage was placed under the house so the house was actually elevated from the ground leaving space for the car. The following picture would give you a view of the building from outside and how part of the house was influence by the introduction of the car:

The arts and crafts movement was also influential during the unit of explorations. During this movement we begin to see more focus on the interior design and the beginning of women as interior designers. Women first appearances in the design field suggest that ideas of design were no longer coming from men, which enable us to see the way women think about design. One way in which you know that a structure was made during the arts and crafts movement was if the interiors were highly decorated and everything inside followed a specific idea. The arts and craft movement was mainly introduced mainly because of the implications of war, as we know during this era mass production and women labor were at the highest because man had to go to war. This gave women the opportunity to do things like design because before man were predominant over women.

The end of the third unit was spent looking at the architects in our community and how they influenced some of the buildings still standing today. The architect that the class mainly focused on was Edward Loewenstein for the fact that he founded the NC Architectural Foundation and was the first architect to hire black architects. The building that made Loewenstein recognizable was his house constructed in 1954. This house was unique because the architecture was different then the houses around the area. In other words he was responsible for bringing modernism. At the same time he was responsible for beginning collaborative projects, he believed that “two minds were better than one and a team was better than two minds”. the 20th century for Loewenstein meant change, this meant that the beliefs and systems of the old century were no longer right for him. With this in mind he brought more opportunities to both minorities and women and a change in the way buildings were constructed.

To wrap up this third unit I am going to use a quote from Loewenstein in which he says the following: “dedicated architects die unhappy. They never get to unleash creative juices because of pressure to please clients." Clearly Mr. Loewenstein is right, in this unit of explorations we have seen that no architect is never satisfied with his/her piece of work. There is always people who agree and disagree that a building, structure, or object is well designed, so there is always new buildings introduced to the community. That is why “dedicated architects die unhappy” there is never going to be 100 percent of people satisfied and in a way that’s the beauty of architecture. Designer have the power to do anything, break rules, start you’re their own style, follow the rules, but after all people might not agree with them, and that’s basically it.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Extra Credit Discussion: Interior Design

After discussing the questions given to us today in class I believe that education plays a small role in the life of a designer. One member of our class was saying that in order to be a designer, education was necessary and that it was impossible for a person to open a design company without background education and I believe that’s not true. I believe that education is just an option you have, you can go to college to be more prepare and make money quickly, but if someone feels that they have the skills to succeed than I guess college is not necessary. Yes, both credentials and experience are important in the design field but those are not hard to achieve without a college education. During this discussion I though about ancient Greek designer and how they didn’t have an actual education but still built buildings like the Parthenon that actually still influence designers today . However I do believe that education is important today for designers because education makes it easier for designers to become recognize and find a job quickly. With an education you are also ahead of the people without it because you learn about fundamental ideas needed to become a good designer. Experiences and life skills are also important because they influence designers in many ways. Sometimes designers are influence by something during their childhood that makes them want to become designers like living in a big city and they eventually become interested in skyscrapers or the idea of lots of buildings together in one space. Life skill are also influential, for example, one of the reason I became interested in becoming a designer is that I was able to draw better than the average kids my age so I would always be drawing anything that I liked. When I was in high school I realized that drawing was a talent I could in college so I decided that interior architecture was a good choice.

Monday, April 11, 2011

RR 12: Catalan Modernism

Antonio Gaudi was a Catalan designer from 1852-1926. Some of his important works are Casa Batllo, Casa Calvet, andCasa Mila In Barcelona, Spain. Gaudi main ideas were focus on nature especially on rushes, reeds, and bones. For this reason he mainly focused on trees and the human skeleton.


Saturday, April 9, 2011

BP 12: Good Design for All

The building I chose that I believe is good design for all is the Estadio Azteca (Aztec Stadium) in Mexico City, Mexico.

This stadium is an example of good design for two reasons; size and commodity, but before I start talking about the design I'm going to talk about the history of this amazing stadium. The stadium was built in 1966 by architects Pedro Ramirez Vasquez and Rafael Mijares. Before the construction of the Etadio Azteca the architects made trips to other countries like Argentina, Spain, Italy,France, and England to get ideas of stadiums different stadiums. As we learn in History and Theory of design not all the architects just began designing buildings, first they went to different countries and gathered ideas.The Azteca is also the only stadium were two world cup finals have been played.
Now that we know some history the next thing to talk about is why the estadio azteca is a good design for all. The size of the stadium is what makes it a good design. the stadium used approximately 8000 tons of steel rods plus 1200 of plain steel. The stadium is also know as el "coloso de santa ursula" ( the colossus of Saint Ursula) because of its size. The maximum capacity of people it can hold is approximately 106,000 people which places this stadium as the third largest stadium in the world. The size of this stadium is important specially for this stadium because is located among one of the biggest cities of the world.

Commodity is also another factor that makes this building a good design. As I mentioned before the stadium can sit about 106,000 people with a clear view of the stadium. One of the things i like to see when I go to soccer stadiums is a clear view of the soccer field and the Estadio Azteca does a good job on accomplishing this.


Friday, April 8, 2011

Unit Summary 2: Reverberations

Unit 1 in history and theory of design class was about learning and analyzing the foundations of early architecture. Unit 2 was about taking different buildings and analyzing its architecture as a whole. The main word that we tied in class with architecture was the idea of reverberations. Reverberations, in music, is the persistence of sound in a particular room after the original sound is removed causing echoes that slowly fade away. Like sound, architecture also had its moments during the second unit, were an idea was persistent for a period of time and then slowly it would fade away.

Basilica of Constantine

Ancient Indian Temple

The second unit began with the idea of frozen music within buildings and the places where people began to worship. The idea of frozen music was introduced when we began to look at buildings that had more detail and color than the usual. For instance we look at buildings especially temples from ancient India and we recognized that the building was like music for the eye because your eye constantly kept moving around looking at the building. There was never a point where your eyes would stop and stare at a particular point in the building so like someone dancing to music. Moving away from the ancient Indian temples we began looking at early places of worship. The basilica of Constantine was one of the first basilicas, but initially this place was used as a place to have speeches nothing was said about religion or god. One of the thing that was discussed in class also was the basic plan of early churches which you can see below:
Finally the first millennium ends and people began to make places that were more enlightened and mainly I’m talking about cathedrals and basilicas. These places would focus mainly in stability, balance, the idea of man to heaven, and geometry. Verticality was an important element of almost every cathedral and basilica, in fact, the reason why many of the cathedrals were so tall is because the designers wanted to show this connection of man with heaven, the taller the better. Continuing with the idea of verticality, cathedrals were often or if not all the times a major part of a civilization and if the cathedrals were bigger than it would so more importance. Cathedrals also had different structures and central points so they were not the same structurally. The cathedral of Amiens in France and the Duomo cathedral in Florence, Italy are a clear example of two different types of cathedrals.

During the third week we analyzed the differences of the west and east architecture and their own design rule. The main thing you need to know about this week is that the west was based on harmony, meaning that all of the elements belong together in a building. In the other hand, east architecture was made out of temples. While designers in the east maintained their architectural approach the same, in the west architects would often be breaking and remaking rules on architecture. Most architects would make new buildings based on previous architectural styles such as Roman and Greek.
Colonial expansion was important during this unit because we began to see the influence of ancient styles around the world. The principal countries involved in the colonial expansion were Portugal, Spain, Holland, France, and England, this countries were responsible for bringing new architecture to the new world. Even though new architecture was being built, the idea of taking ancient architecture was still present. Again we continue to see the idea of reverberations throughout history, styles continue for a period of time then disappear and then come back again in another form.
Finally the unit concluded with architecture as a symbol for revolution. We studied how buildings could represent revolution especially in the united states. One building in particular was the US State Capitol building in Washington DC. This building is important because the building shows elements from ancient Greece to emphasize the connection between Greek laws and American laws. We didn't not only analyzed buildings, we also talked about the dollar bill and how it represents revolution.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

RR 11: The gilded age and the development of skyscrapers as a result.


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Trip to Monticello and Fallingwater

Monticello and Fallingwater were both great buildings but the building I like the most is Fallingwater. I believe that what made Fallingwater the best was the idea of a house in top of a waterfall. Also, I was amaze on how the building was composed of large horizontal walls and windows. The thing that I liked the most about Fallingwater was how tall the ceiling was. Since the ceiling was about 7ft tall I felt like the building was made for me since I'm short. Every part of the house was well planned, even the small hallways. The room that I liked the most at Fallingwater was Mr. Kaufmann's room,(the second picture. One of the things that the tour guide mentioned about Mr. Kaufmann's room was the idea of feeling that you are sleeping in a cave and I believe Frank Lloyd Wright achieved it. However one of the things that I didn't understand was the height of the toilets. The Building from the outside seemed to be really small compared to the inside, but once you step inside you notice that the main living room is huge as well as the rest of the rooms which is unique.

Monday, March 28, 2011

RR 10: The Beginning of Modernism

The origins of Modernism came around 1720, but it was not until the 19th century that Modernism was developed. One of the things that many people don't know about the 19th century architecture is that new architecture was still using precedents from previous architecture. This is not saying that architects were not creative and had a lack of ideas; the issue was that past architecture was still important when developing new buildings. For example, when building a new governmental building it was important to show a Greek element in the building to show a relationship to the Greeks political system. This idea was know as associationalism. Academic eclecticism came around the 1880’s; this was the time were most architects had a college degree and libraries had illustrated books and portfolios to show historical architecture. Modernism began in 1906 and it was totally a different idea. Instead of having ancient architecture, most buildings were plane and roofs were constructed of metal, concrete, and glass.


Sunday, March 27, 2011

BP 10: Object of Revolution ( The 20 Pesos Bill)

In mexico, like in the USA the bills have many symbols that represent something specific about each individual country. During class last Friday we discussed and analyse the symbols in the dollar bill and we talked about how it could represent revolution. We as a class came up with ideas that I never thought about and I learned how a single dollar bill can tell you something about a country. In this blog post I am going to analyse the Mexico 20 pesos bill and come up with ideas of how the bill is revolutionary.

1: The dove in the front side of the bill represent peace within the country.

2: Is a picture of the constitution and a scale. The constitution is most likely in the bill because is telling the people that the bill is not violating the constitution and that is legal. The scale represents equality and balance within the constitution.

3: Is the picture of Benito Juarez. Benito Juarez was the 26th president of Mexico and was most remember during "la reforma" (the reform) which was a movement against the dictatorship of Antonio Lopez in 1853 and mainly the separation of church and state in public affairs.

4: Is simply a transparent element of the bill to protect it against counterfeit money.

The front side of the 20 pesos bill is an example of revolutionary example because the three drawings, Benito Juarez, the dove, and the scale are tied together. All of these drawing symbolize "la reforma" movement, which was a triumph of Mexican Liberals against the conservative officials and old colonial system.

The back side of the 20 pesos bill is a picture of Monte Alban site south of Oaxaca, Mexico,the state where actually Benito Juarez was born. I would argue that the reason Monte Alban is on the back side of the bill is because they want to illustrate the importance of Benito Juarez young life when he was a poor farmer and how he became a lawyer and made history in Mexico.

5: A picture of the middle portion of Mexico. If you look in the front cover u can see the south and north part of Mexico.

6: Is a picture of an ornament from Monte Alban, ancient people would often wear this obects as a ritual or to perform a dance to the gods.

7: A picture of Monte Alban. One of the early sites of Mesoamerica and today an important archeological site in Mexico.

8: monument from Monte Alban.

Monday, March 21, 2011

RR 9: Neoclassical Architecture

Neoclassical architecture was a movement that was popular between the 18th and mid-19th century. This time period was a movement against the rococo and baroque architecture which was the previous architecture before the 18th century. This movement, although it was popular in Europe, the US also part of the movement and created some of the most impressive buildings that we still see today. The place where the idea of neoclassical architecture is clearly noticeable is on Washington DC and the person that was responsible in the planning of the capitol was a French architect known as Pierre Charles L’Enfant. L’Enfant was the first one who proposed the idea of a monumental city and neoclassical architecture. Pierre also was an influence in the creation of the White House.
One of the main characteristics of Washington is the city plan and where the buildings where placed. For instance two of the main buildings, the White House and the US Capitol Building, were placed on a ‘L’ shaped street at the end of each street. This could most likely represent the idea of neoclassical architecture because now important buildings were no longer place in long straight streets. The new idea of neoclassical architecture was the idea to revive the old architecture which was mainly the Greek and Roman Architecture. Two of the main buildings that clearly illustrate this idea of revival of old architecture are the White House and the US Capitol building, because both buildings have characteristics of Greek and Roman architecture. The buildings are elaborate and symmetrical and no longer had convoluted curves and shapes as the baroque buildings once had. One of the main characteristics you should look for in a neoclassical building are the presence of ancient structures from Greece or Rome. For example, columns and porches are a clear example in both the White House and the US capitol building. The porch in from of the state Capitol building (which is a copy of the Parthenon) and the tall dome are elements that make the building unique. Overall the Neoclassical architecture is just the idea of bringing old buildings from the past and making new buildings with them, however you have to keep the idea of symmetry and balance within the structure.

BP 9: Word, Sentence, and Phrase

What are the implications of colonial expansion on architecture and design?. I believe that one of the implications of colonial expansion was the need of new buildings since the population was increasing. This may also be the reason architects built big buildings such as palaces and chapels. Another implication of architectural expansion was wealth. For instance, one of the ways people like kings and queens showed their power was through how big and beautiful the buildings were. One of the reason there are different time periods of architecture is because architects would always try to make an old building better and that has been continue to present day.

One building that I think represents colonial expansion to the USA is the Basilica of the Shrine of the Assumption in Baltimore, USA.

In this basilica we can clearly see more than three elements from different time periods coming together. All the elements that are present in this basilica create a new type of building even though we have seen them in the past. If the building is broken apart according to the different elements that compose it, there are exactly 5 elements: the columns, a porch, the cross shaped building, the two columns on top, and the dome. Looking at a building where there are elements form different time periods that clearly shows that architecture from different periods is being used today which is colonial expansion.

From the USA I would say that skyscrapers are buildings that represent colonial expansion elsewhere. At one point the USA had the tallest building in the world but after the terrorist attack of 9/11, the USA no longer holds that title. Even though the US no longer has the tallest building, the idea of tall buildings expanded around the world. Today we see tall buildings like the Burj Khalifa and I believe part of this idea of showing power through tall buildings came from the USA.

Now, how does "language" fit into the Basilica of the Shrine of the Assumption and Burj Khalifa?
The analysis consists of three parts: the word, sentence, and phrase. For the basilica I think that the word is represented by the front porch. The sentence can be illustrated by the cross shape building and the dome, which can point out where the priest would be standing. Overall, the phrase of the building is the porch and dome coming together to show direction and equality when people enter through the main porch and see the dome.
For the Burj Khalifa the word would most likely be represented by the different levels of the building, The building starts with a thick base and reduces its thickness as it goes up. The sentence would be the levels of the structure coming together to balance the structure and make it tall as possible. The Phrase is basically the vertical view of the building. Looking at the building from far away shows how important and powerful it seem to the other smaller buildings around it.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

BP 8: Architecture in a Nautilus Shell

1. The Stonehenge (First Human Architecture)
2. The Parthenon (Greek Architecture)
3. The Colosseum (Roman Architecture)
4. Gothic Church (Medieval Architecture)
5 Michelozzo di Bartolomeo (Renaissance Architecture)
6. San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane (Baroque Architecture)
7. Johann Balthasar Neumann ( Rococo Architecture)


Monday, March 14, 2011

RR 8: The Baroque Architecture

The Baroque architecture was brought right after the end of the renaissance architecture and it lasted from 1600 to 1750. This new type of architecture according to Leland M. Roth was elaborated, embellished, and complex, compared to preceding simpler forms. Baroque architecture shifted towards visual complexity and created a sense of emotional impact instead of just intellectual satisfaction. This emotional impact was created by a new technique were the "line between three-dimensional reality and mystical illusion was increasingly blurred". A clear example of this new technique was seen in Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Cornaro Chapel in Rome,Italy.This new architecture was also complex in size and structure, buildings were bigger in size and the decorations of the outside seem to be the main focus of the building.

Monday, February 28, 2011

RR 7: The new elements that marked the renaissance architecture.

One of the important ideas during the renaissance was the circle and the square, an idea initially introduced by Vitruvius, a Roman Architect. In the Ten Books of Architecture, written by Vitruvius, he discusses how the idea of the square and circle are related to the proportions of the human body. After this idea was introduced, many architects like Giuliano da Sangallo, Alberti Donato Bramante, and Andrea Palladio incorporated these elements to their buildings during the Renaissance era. According to Understanding Architecture, one of the clearest expressions of the use of the circle and the square was the Church of Santa Maria della Carceri build in 1445- 1516. The building consisted of a cube and a dome, lit by twelve bull's-eye windows, at the base in the middle of the building. Since the building of the church of Santa Maria della Carceri, other architects have the same technique and can clearly be seen today.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

BP 7: Architecture of Happiness

Is there a such thing as Architecture of Happiness? I believe there is. Architecture of happiness, for me, means buildings or places that are not necessarily beautiful, but instead, make you feel happy. Is easy to find  buildings that are beautiful, but it seems to me that not every building is design to make people happy. For example, walking into a hospital can sometimes make you feel sad, no matter how beautiful the design and architecture is. In the other hand, if you walk into my grandma's house (which is not a beautiful house), I feel happy. Happiness, in my opinion can be related to two rules of architecture and design; strive for harmony and place man at the center. When designing a building or place for happiness one of the things designers must search for is harmony.
The building must show order and balance, if not then people in it might not feel comfortable. The most important rule is to always place man at the center of all things, to know their behaviors and make buildings according to people behaviors.

During class on Friday, students took a small trip around campus in search of a place or space of happiness. After walking for a couple of minutes and not having found a place or space I decided to go to my room and on the way there I realized I have found the right place. The place I chose was the lobby at the international dorm, Phillips Hawkins. I think that this place is one of the most happiest place on campus because it is a good place to meet students from different parts of the world. In addition, students use this place to study or simply have fun.

Phillips Hawkins from the outside.We can clearly see stacks and columns coming together to for the outside porch of the building.
Lower level of the lobby. 
Top part of the lobby.
Students playing pool.

Monday, February 21, 2011

RR6 : Cathedrals

BP 6: Cathedrals

 Looking at the cathedrals discussed in class this week I believe that cathedrals represent both local and universal  concerns. Just looking at the architecture from the cathedrals discussed in our group there is a lot of information and possible explanations to why the cathedrals were build the way they are. One idea that I shared with my group was the shape of the cathedrals from the top. The cathedrals that we talked about were the Basilica Di Santa Maria in Florence, Italy and La Cathedrale Notre Dame in Amiens, France. Looking at the shape of the Basilica in Florence, I believe that the architects wanted the building to represent the cross were Jesus died.


A top view of the cathedral in Florence. In this picture you can clearly see the cross shaped building similar the the picture above.

I chose this picture in relationship to the Cathedral in Amiens, I believe the cathedral was constructed in representation of the life of Christ.

You can clearly see the shape of a body which could represent the body of Jesus itself.

During our discussion group we came with a lot of ideas about why the buildings were the way they are and i think all the ideas we came with are possible. However, what I think is most important to know is that people in the early centuries had different believes than other people in other parts of the world, so that is why their are different types of cathedrals and shapes.