Friday, April 8, 2011



Royal Saltworks; Claude-nicolas Ledoux, 1775-1776
 The saltworks emphasises the return of simple shapes during the industrial revolution.  A balance to bring together all 'progress' and past basics.  From purpose to semiotics.

Starting this unit we explored how bringing faith to basic materials could transform them into something else.  When stone and glass were arranged just so, the structure moved with a new purpose.  Surface and substance then became a tangible expression of the faith.  The constructs seemed to dance such as the Hindu temple Shikara.  The halls filled with music which gave them reason according to their purpose: Temple of Inscriptions, San Vitale, Zoroastrian Fire Temple, & Rajasimhesvara.  We delved into several faiths inspired structures such as the Church of the Holy Sepulche and Hagia Sophia.  Throughout all of these, form, space, & material played a crucial role in the final product to strengthen faith and purpose.

            At the end of the first millennia and with faith secured, people began to spread out into the world.  But what perception of the world would be taken and which map did they use.  All things can be seen as a map in some light, but for that period the cathedrals became the maps.  Each cathedral wasn’t alike however.  For example we looked at the cathedrals at Salisbury and Florence.  Their differences and similarities in the gothic style helped transform the world around them differently.  Then as the previous “Dark Ages” evaporated the newly enlightened world emerged.

            With some resemblance of structure to the western world then and with a new enlightened outlook on things it was time to create rules for everything, including design.  What should be a rule though?  Basic structure found by the ancients or what was relevant at the time, gothic principles.  We can see what elements mattered all the way back from the first unit: firmness, commodity, and delight.  The “happiness” of architecture was a very important aspect.  Discussion and ideology became a focal point of that time.  And what of the eastern realm of the world, what rules were made among the various religions, regions, and cultures?  In the future which would stay true to the rules and which would be shattered and glued back together?

            Now that rules were founded in the west it was time to break them.  Designers and architects experimented with tradition, gothic, baroque, renaissance, and simple forms to create many progressive structures at that time.  Palladio, Romano, Machuca, Michelangelo, Bernini, Bramante, Borromini, Pannini, Salvi, and several others all left their marks by bending those rules across genres to the breaking point and beyond.  Yet some styles could be kept separately defined such as the Renaissance style, individualistic and serene, and the German/Austrian Baroque style, unity and as part of a scene.  Most steadfast of all however was eastern design with its traditional rules and slow progress by western standards.  All of these things were another part of the nautilus structure of design through history.  How would the world expand from that point to create the next section?

            Now the world truly was expanding past its previous confines and with it design.  The new world’s discovery enabled people to spread out more and take their design ideas with them.  Many of the early structures in uncharted territory emulated that of the past, but before long a need to be different also arose.  Soon a change in everyday life would make design a whole new field.

            The industrial revolution had begun to turn everything on its head.  Political, social, and cultural aspects impacted how designers and architects of the time understood the world around them.  New areas of thought arose, beginning with an engineering mindset, new materials, and continued with rational scientific knowledge.  In that time a balance between new and old, observable and unseen, was the topic of many structures.  A balance had not yet been reached.  Semiotics, ideologies, and signs; in class we began to see meaning, hidden and otherwise, in everything.  Everyday life can be examined through design.

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