Design Philosophy

Design Philosophy

Sunday, March 6, 2011

and then there was one...

One week left, one massive final project to complete, and one blog entry to post.  Wow, the last 10 weeks have really flown by and I hope you've enjoyed the ride.  It was an intense one to say the leastUnderstanding the design principles of Form Space and Order through the eyes of our professor has been both informative and sleep depriving.  Not only do I diagram every room I enter now, I also seem to wake up frantically diagramming in my dreams!  But truly, I've learned an immense amount of invaluable design information.  Two vocabulary words stick out for some reason... Poche' - to color something in solid; and Parti - the basic concept for an architectural design represented by a diagram.  And since the last 10 weeks have been the complete in and out of diagramming, it would only be fitting to end on one last parti...

Quote of the Day

Do it right, or do it again.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Form & Space

Recently I visited the new Dali museum in St. Petersburg, Florida.  The building was absolutely amazing.  It is located on the water and designed by the architect Yann Weymouth.  I thought it would be a great opportunity to showcase this beautiful masterpiece with this week exercise in Form & Space. 

The Unity of Opposites is the symbiotic relationship of the forms of mass and space in architecture.  They can be examined and found to exist at several different scales, as shown below.

Space can be defined in a variety of ways.  Using horizontal elements, space can be shown by various planes.  The picture of the spiral staircase below defines space by using elevated planes, which establishes vertical surfaces along its edges that reinforce the visual separation between its field and the surrounding ground.

A similar experience can be found with vertical linear elements, which define the perpendicular edges of a volume of space.  Below shows an example of parallel planes that define a volume of space between them.
The qualities of a room are influenced by the location of openings or voids within the space. These qualities include the form, focus, and illumination of the space.  The window view below becomes the area's focus and orientation.
The last space defining element includes openings that can be within planes, at corners or between planes.  The biomorphic vertical opening below extends from the floor through the ceiling plane, which visually separates and articulates the edges of the adjacent wall planes.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Quote of the Day

Color is my day-long obsession, joy and torment.
  -Claude Monet

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Quote of the Day

"One can have no smaller or greater mastery than mastery of oneself"
-Leonardo da Vinci

Proportion & Scale

It's time for a throw-back to the Renaissance!  Da Vinci, Pythagoras and the classical proportions of antiquity.  Below is a diagram of The Golden Section - the mathematical system of proportion from the Pythagorean concept.  It is the ratio between two sections of a line, in which the lesser of the two is to the greater, as the greater is to the sum of both.  Da Vinci's Last Supper is used to show the Golden Sections algebraic and geometric properties.
The Classical Orders of Greek and Roman antiquity represented their proportioning of elements that express perfect beauty and harmony.
The Colosseum in Rome, Italy is a great example of the classical Greek Orders because each tier was built with a different order.
Renaissance Theories include 'Ideal' room plan shapes as well as a harmonious proportion of height to the rooms width and length determined by Andrea Palladio.  The Italian Renaissance architect's Villa Rotunda displays one of his seven ideal plans.
More recently in the 1940's, Le Corbusier developed his proportioning system, the Modulor, based on mathematics and the human scale.  The French architect saw the Modular as a system of measurements that could govern length, surfaces, volumes, and maintain the human scale everywhere.  An infinity of combinations ensuring unity with diversity.
Another theory of proportion comes from the Japanese Ken grid.  The Ken is used as an aesthetic module that ordered the structure, materials, and space of Japanese architecture. 
Anthropometry refers to the measurement of the size and proportions of the human body.  These measurements affect the proportion of things we handle, the height and distance of our reach, and the dimensions of the furnishings we use.  Below demonstrates the latter.
The last theory of proportion is scale.  Scale refers to how we perceive or judge the size of something in relation to something else.  The image of a large scale sculpture of a balloon animal towers over the house in the background, showing the disproportion of scale.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Quote of the Day

Practice safe design: Use a concept.
  -- Petrula Vrontikis

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Quote of the Day

"Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep."
   -Scott Adams

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Quote of the Day

"I have found that all ugly things are made by those who strive to make something beautiful, and that all beautiful things are made by those who strive to make something useful."
  -Oscar Wilde

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Quote of the Day

There is no design without discipline. There is no discipline without intelligence.
— Massimo Vignelli

Saturday, February 5, 2011


Well today is the day of Gehry! Since we recently saw a film on the life and architecture of the post-modern expressionist Frank Gehry, I figured I'd dedicate this next study of Form to his designs.

Form is an element of art.  It is the whole of a pieces visible elements and how they are displayed.  The primary figures of form are extended 3 dimensional geometric shapes.  In the diagram below of Maggies Dundee Building, in Tayside Scotland, the dominant form is a cone.
The Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles California is a great example of Dimensional Transformation.  This is when a primary solid is transformed by altering one or more of its dimensions yet still retaining its identity as a member of a family of forms.
Forms can also be transformed by subtracting a portion of it's volume.  Below is Gehry's Vitra Factory Building in Weil am Rhein Germany displaying Subtractive Transformation.
The IAC Building exemplifies Linear Form, which can result from a proportional change or from a series of repetitive elements.

In Formal Collision of Geometry, Edges and Corners are critical to the definition and clarity of form.  The Frank Gehry ring and matching bangle from his jewelry line emphasize the forms joints.

Quote of the Day

 "Architecture is a small piece of this human equation, but for those of us who practice it, we believe in its potential to make a difference, to enlighten and to enrich the human experience, to penetrate the barriers of misunderstanding and provide a beautiful context for life's drama.  Take what comes your way. Do the best with it. Be responsible as you can and something good will happen, and it has."    --Frank Gehry

random thoughts

Oh my... how I love the smell of fresh sawn wood and concrete!!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Diagraming the Primary Elements

The following images are all buildings located in Florida designed by the architect Paul Rudolph.  The first series is an exploration of the element Point.  Point is centralized and one dimensional.  It is static and directionless.  It is both beginning and end, yet has no beginning or end. It is the generator of form.
The next set of diagrams highlights the element Line.  Unlike point, line has a beginning and end, created by two points.  Line is two dimensional.  It has no width or depth, only length and thickness.  Line can express direction, join, link, outline and define boundries or edges.

Plane defines the next set of diagrams.  Plane is a combination of lines that create a two dimensional form.  It can be any shape described by negative or positive space. 
The next set is all about Volume.  Volume is simply plane extended to a three dimensional form.  It uses all of the previous elements to exist. It is a solid with mass or a void - volume with no mass.