Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Top 10: Design Autobiography

It is really hard for me to narrow everything that inspires me down to ten things. Through this semester, the already many things grew into even more things, as they were introduced to me and I learned more about things I already knew about. However, throughout my life and this semester, here are ten things that have really stuck with me.

image courtesy Spyros_Tav__"Smile : it's contagious" on Flickr

The Acropolis is soaked in history, and I have always been a history buff. It blends so many things- history, mythology, symbolism, architectural genius- together. It also became the basis for so much of architecture to come.

image courtesy Saskya on Flickr

I find it hard not to be enchanted with Versailles. I have always believed that each of us should infuse our own homes with some sort of opulence- not to this extent perhaps- but enough to have surrounded yourself in things you love.

image courtesy Flyian on Flickr

I have always found this building breathtaking, but never noticed some things about it pointed out in this class- for example- just how much it resembles flight. This summer, when I fly into New York, I will be flying in right beside this building. Please believe, I am super excited.

image courtesy Michael Finley on Flickr

I have always been enchanted with this house, and baffled by it at the same time. I adore the transparency of it, yet realize it's utterly impossible to live in such exposure- for me at least.

image courtesy cgc0202 on Flickr

Boston is definitely my favorite US city I have visited, and I try to make it there at least once a year. I love it for so many reasons.

image courtesy John Marton on Flickr

Bern, Switzerland really enchanted me when I was on a trip there. I also nearly got hit by one of those red trains that speed through the city.

image courtesy fulhenry on Flickr

Barcelona chair = amazing.

image courtesy tablewareforsale on flickr

My family has a history with Fenton glass. A lot of my family on my mother's side worked for them, creating beautiful pieces.

image courtesy Steve W Lee on Flickr

National Gallery of Art, East Building. The building I'm doing my precedent analysis on.

my house

The house I grew up in. I don't really have a good photo of it. I always found it quirky and strange- the way it is shaped and the fact that it has brick walls inside and out, due to the fact that it was the Cunningham Brick lake house.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

coming full circle

Innovations in technology and society lead to innovations in architecture. As computer programs allowed architects to model their ideas on them, the shape of buildings began to change dramatically. This lead to the deconstructivist movement, in which buildings looked as though they were falling apart, or were unstable, but indeed, were stable- in some cases.

Another innovation was the beginning of interior design as a profession. It took a while for interior design to gain any sort of recognition. At first there was interior decoration- a women's profession aided by community, and looked at as a branch of fashion, not of architecture. Perhaps this was true- changing the pillows and curtains of rooms depending on the current style. Later came interior design, more of a profession in which degrees from universities and colleges could be earned. It was then that "the rise in status of the interior decorator was...aided by the emergence of the new profession of 'interior designer'" (Massey).

In design there is a constant dialogue of what is authentic and what is not. Is something copied? Should something be copied? If you are building a classical building, should it be an authentic copy of that building? The canonical classicists "insisted that eighteenth-century Neoclassicism is the true and proper language of Western modern architecture" (Roth 2007). Thus, the buildings they built copied those of the eighteenth century. However, some modernists believed in creating an authentically new style, such as the International Style.

The International style produced some pretty cool looking buildings, but they did not fit into their community context, thus not being very efficient. A building should fit into its community context. Quickly-built houses in cul-de-sac communities of the suburbs often do not fit into their context. They are communities in some sort of "international style"- one that dictates that these houses can be plopped down anywhere and quickly multiplied, like the modules of Le Corbusier. These are unsuccessful. Often, their tenants are unhappy with their homes, yet live in them for the sake of having a home and because that is what is available to them and what our society has told them to live in.

As designers, we should be stewards of good design. Through historical examples, we must understand what works and what does not. In my opinion, classical buildings are of the past and do not stand for the modern needs and lifestyle (though elements can certainly be integrated), and the International Style is too vague. There needs to be something else, and there is emerging something else. And it is true, there is something else emerging, but is it the right thing? Striving for sustainability is a must, but is the whole thing becoming a farce? Too many products are marketing themselves as sustainable and green on one singular quality. People are buying into it not because they believe it is what is right, but rather because it is a fad, and will soon discard this fad as all the others have been.

Massey, A (2001). Interior Design of the 20th Century. London: Thames & Hudson.

Roth, Leland, M. (2007). Understanding Architecture: Its Elements, History, and Meaning. Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press.