Design Philosophy

Design Philosophy

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!!