Wednesday, February 16, 2011

US1: Foundations


{week 1}
During the first four weeks of class we explored the subject of foundations starting with 3500 BCE and ending with 200 CE. From the very beginning some of the first efforts of humans have been passed from century to century. It is easy to detect what some of the major influences were; for instance, water sources, religious beliefs, politics, and many more. Water influenced the location of development due to the fact the societies need to produce food to eat and have a means of trade. Religion played a major role in the architecture including heaven and earth connections, which was seen in Egypt. Egypt focused a great deal on life and death so vast tombs were created; the pyramids reached a peak at the top, making it practically an arrow pointing straight up. Another form of earthly connections are stone circles were created to connect the cosmos with the earth. Stonehenge is a famous stone circle that is still studied to this day; the use of a circle form in rituals may indicate a center or important part.

{week 2}
The concept of circles, stacks, and groups used in architecture was introduced in class the second week; these are acknowledged as the first elements and principles of design. Circles are commonly seen in an area that represents importance, like worship areas or tombs. Circles can enclose a space to organize or separate from other areas. Groups, commonly seen as groves of trees, are represented by columns, which are used to show the significance of a structure. Stacks come from the form of a mountain and are illustrated in the Egyptian pyramids, stacked columns, or different levels of buildings. Repetition of these tree main concepts leads to contrast/emphasis, unity/harmony, and balance/ proportion in the notion of design.

{week 3}
The Parthenon
The idea of combining the groups and stacks lead to the development of temples and palaces. Order was also a characteristic that began developing, from the Tuscan (prototype), to the Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian (archetypes), to the Composite order (hybrid). The Acropolis, located in Athens Greece, contains building that act as archetypes for all western architecture and design. The three main buildings within the acropolis are the Propylaea, Erecthion, and the Parthenon. These building show examples of both Doric and Ionic order; they were all placed on high grounds overlooking the agora, the land below acropolis. The acropolis was dedicated to the Greek goddess Athena, and the use of element and principles in the design show that it is an important place. 

The Colosseum
{week 4}
“The end is to build well. Well building hath three conditions: firmness, commodity, and delight”, stated by Sir Henry Wotton. These three factors and something that structures strive to convey, and when Rome develops we see these characteristics. Firmness includes the structure of the building; commodity is the function of the building, and delight is the form and surface of the building. Rome had an idea of having ultimate authority and used their structures to amplify their appearance of power. Rome copied Greece in many ways but would improve or develop the Greek designs. The Colosseum is one of my favorite structures in Rome because of its astounding architecture and scale. It is a specific example of firmness, commodity, and delight. The structure still stands today and served for many purposes. It could accommodate a huge amount of roman citizens at one time and keep them entertained. The building itself is freestanding and the walls are built up to increase the size. All three of the column orders (Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian) were used on the structure; this is possible a way of Rome showing respect to past cultures. However, this also made the structure and instant landmark in history, and that’s was Rome wanted. 

We went from simple, mud huts to extravagant theatres and bath halls. In conclusion, styles and methods travel through history getting modified and morphed as they go.