Monday, January 31, 2011


Journey to Greece

This week I have decided to share a personal trip that I took a few years back and what I learned about the Grecian culture and architecture while I was there.  For this reading response I will touch base on some of my favorite sights in Greece in an attempt to make it more familiar to you.

Delphi is both the name of a modern town and an archaeological site.  This sight is famous for the “Oracle of Delphi” which was a common pilgrimage site by patrons of Athens.  This area is located in the lower central area of Greece and is settled high on a mountainside.  The major constructs of this location include an amphitheater, a temple to Apollo, and various treasury buildings.


This site has a very particular architectural feature, its acoustics.  I can only believe the story about this place because I have been there and heard the phenomenon.  When anyone stands in the center of the stage and makes any noise, even a whisper, it can be heard from anywhere in the stands, even the top most corner.  This is a shining example of how precise engineering and design can create something perfect.


Acropolis of Mycenae
This site was by far one of my favorites.  Located Southwest of Athens this area is purely an archeological goldmine with many famous artifacts nearby such as the Lion’s Gate and the Treasury of Atreus.  This once powerful fortress was a perfect example of a defensible area.  With views from the top for miles, you can literally see the sea.  So with plenty of time to prepare for an enemy this architectural feat was very well designed and placed.

Mycenae Aerial

Photos Credit (in order):
Delphi (myself),
Epidaurus (,
Acropolis of Mycenae Arial (

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Ten Design Ideas to UNCG - BP3

This design element encompasses all of the UNCG campus and can be put into several mindsets.  I could say how small the campus is compared to other Universities or I could comment on how the buildings are spaced from one another.  My focus is going to be on the feel of UNCG's space, however, and how the enclosed feeling of the campus brings a sense of unification to this space.  This stems partially from being inner city and partially from the campus being open to mostly only foot traffic, hindering how accessible it is to the outside world.

Example of Space Within UNCG

Like other colleges the appearance of power stems from the size of things on campus.  As an example lets take the library.  As it can be seen from any location on campus and is the tallest of the buildings in the area we subconsciously perceive it, and it's knowledge, as being fairly powerful.  This aspect also translates to outsiders how powerful our University may be just like a potential employee talking to the boss behind the large desk.

The college "experience" as it is known also translates to the buildings around us.  For people living on campus have a different experience based on what Hall they live in, what amenities they have, and where they are located.  Experience in the classroom setting shows form to meet a certain function, such as our lecture halls seats crammed together and aimed at the stage.

Experience of our environment

This element boils down to how a traditional academic building looks like and what purpose it fulfills.  Should we be able to look at a building and know automatically what purpose it serves?  With UNCG in mind this is the case most of the time.  Some buildings might be a little harder to identify than others, but the idea is there none the less.

As stated above, UNCG does have a feeling of being blocked off from the outside world.  This could stem from the lack of through roads, the surrounding large buildings, the amount of park systems, being inner city, or the feeling of everyone around being a college student like you and no outside passer byes.  Our sense of security on campus is mixed and mingled and varies from person to person.  These feelings not only come from how much actual security we have in the local police force, but from the amount of lighting and openness in any given space.

The site of UNCG is an important dynamic to how UNCG has formed.  Being inner city UNCG wasn't able to spread out all over the place like some other UNC schools.  This contributed to making UNCG a more intimate school.  This however has caused some issues in the last few years as UNCG struggles to adapt with an increase in interest.  Some suggested fixes are taking down older buildings and replacing them with more efficient ones or even creating a second campus a bit away from the main one.  Above all I think the site of UNCG has been the greatest contributor to how it has evolved.

The order to the buildings at UNCG are similar to that of Greece in their construction.  From the steps, columns, entrances, and layouts of certain buildings on campus we can tell which are the most important of buildings in their function or position in the hierarchy of the school.  The grandest buildings are typically for offices with persons of power or academic based buildings.  Next usually are the dormitories, and then the lower offices and service buildings.  Also from an outside perspective the order of how our University looks is a separating force against the outside world.

Scale is similar to space in how our University is organized.  The size of our school, the space between buildings, how large some buildings are compared to others.  Scale also plays on the details of buildings.  How large the stairs, columns, windows, doorways, and entrance way are play a vital role on how we perceive a building.

Scale of bridge, columns, and entrance yard

I'm going to take technology in the sense of how buildings are constructed.  For our campus it is fairly obvious to see how modern building techniques were used in most of our buildings.  But when we compare how the most recent buildings were built to the oldest buildings on campus we can see a difference in not only styles, but in how the buildings hold themselves up, connect to other spaces, and relate to other buildings.

New technology to construct with new techniques

This basic element of our campus can be broken down into types of surfaces.  Ones that come to mind are marble, granite, wood, metal, brick, and glass.  Other parts to surfaces are details that might be put into these materials.  Patterns of brick, combinations of materials, and intricate colorations to name a few.

Surface materials vary

Map credit to, images credit to Matthew Weikert.

Social Media In South Africa

When researching for social media resources in South Africa I was surprised to find how easy it was to find statistics and information on this topic.  Normally when Africa comes to mind we think about lack of technology and struggle, but from what I found there seems to have been an increase in this area since the early 90's.

Of the opinions I found there were varying points of view.  Some saying that social media in South Africa would take many years to catch on, especially for advertising.  Others were talking about how even though they are behind when compared to other countries, South Africa was catching up and advertising was plausible through social media, especially through Facebook.

Some specific issues that South Africa has are the still lacking broadband capabilities in the country and how, although it is slowly improving, there is still a wide socio-economic gap in the populace.  This last point deals with how many of the social media users are part of the wealthy group as opposed to the poorer populace.

One of my sources goes into great detail on how the popularity of the FIFA World Cup plays into the social media uprising in South Africa.  This one time event for South Africa brought an immediate increase in social networking and how people in South Africa communicated with the rest of the world.

Over all we should expect South Africa to continue increasing in its social media prowess.  All signs show that it is increasing exponentially in all areas, especially in Facebook.

Souces used:

Monday, January 24, 2011

Circle, Stack, Column: Environment vs. Ritual

The rituals that I observe on campus that have to do with circles, stacks, and columns deal with movement.  There is constant movement on campus from classes to dorms, from parking lots to cafeterias, from one side of campus to the other.  Our environment where we work, learn, and live has been formed for ease and direction of our movement.

Upper Entrance to EUC
This circle for example is at an entrance to a very popular building on campus.  From the center of this area you can go in any direction and find many shops, offices, lounges, and conference rooms.  The very shape of a circle dictates how you can move in any direction from its point.  On our campus we find these in the center of important areas or places where your attention should be all around you.

Rough Stacked Stairs

Entrance to the Alumni House
Stacked forms on campus are used in several ways.  Mostly I have observed them as stairs, movement again, or as slanted rooftops.  Stacked shapes seem to always point toward areas of prominence or are used to enter elevated buildings which brings some sense of importance to that particular structure.

Stone Columns at Exit to College Avenue
Columns on campus play several roles in directing us.  The ones pictured here for example mark the exit to College Ave. and are very noticeable.  Others mark entrances to buildings, line pathways, or are used as decoration.  They come in all sizes, shapes, and forms.

I believe that it is not whether our environment influences ritual or whether our ritual influences the environment, but something else.  I believe it is a cycle.  Both the environment and our rituals are constantly adapting to each other and changing  So then it is a matter of which came first the ritual or the adapted environment?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Indus Ghaggar-Hakra Civilization Reaction

As a group we discussed the main points which make up this unique and powerful civilization.  With origins dating from 2800 B.C. to 2500 B.C. this civilization is considered one of the firsts and with that we can see why that might have been,

Ghaggar-Hakra Region,
  • High agricultural growth with adaptation to flood areas and dry areas.
  • Strong social hierarchy with a ruling class and no evidence of a central kingship.
  • Curiously no known centralized religious structures.
  • Was a very strong center for trade with far reaching regions.
  • Had a basic, yet undeciphered alphabet.
City Structure,

My own look at this area reveals to me that although there was not a strong religious element to the Ghaggar-Hakra Civilization that the economic and unique social structure was enough to hold these people together.  That is until the eventual collapse around the year 1700 B.C. when the Ghaggar-Hakra river dried up and the trade routes and main source of food went with it.

Ghaggar-Hakra River,
Indus River,

    Saturday, January 1, 2011