Friday, March 18, 2011

"A Pattern Language" Response

An excerpt from: A Pattern Language
By: Christopher Alexander, Sara Ishikawa, Murray Silverstein

The passage that we read from A Pattern Language, addressed the methods of “working out the fundamental gradients of space”. The reading was extremely informative, and in many ways, will influence on the way I go about designing the writer’s space at St. Mary’s house, as well as projects in the future. I picked out a few of the main topics from the article that I believe will be extremely beneficial in each students design process.

Intimacy Language
When deciding where rooms are going to be placed, the individual rooms each have their own level of intimacy and this need to be taken into consideration when designing any space. A bedroom would be considered the most intimate, where the common room or kitchen would be a public space. Many times the most intimate space is in the back of a house or building and the most public is at the entrance.

“Lay out the spaces of a building so that they create a sequence which begins with the entrance and the most public parts of the building, then leads into the slightly more private areas, and finally to the most private domains.”

This is most relevant to the project I am working on in class now; it seems almost as if it is common sense but I believe the order of a house is usually overlooked by most. It is the first time we will have to design the layout of a space so it is nice to understand the basics of a well-working layout.

Indoor Sunlight
Sunlight in a room can bring it to life and make it feel welcoming. St. Mary’s House has very high ceilings including large windows that allow a great deal of sunlight to pour through and fill the room with sunlight. To achieve optimal sunlight inside, it is best to place the most public/commonly used rooms along the south edge. It is key to understand the relationship of the house and the sun in, in the morning, afternoon, and late afternoon.

Entrance Room
“Arriving in a building, or leaving it, you need a room to pass through, both inside the building and outside it. This is the entrance room.”

I agree in saying the entry of a building is very important; it is usually the first and last impression someone will have of a building. St. Mary’s House has a front porch but lacks a proper entrance room in the inside. I believe this is another key element is make the house flow work. The main reasons given for having an entrance way is:
-the relationship of windows to the entrance
-the need for shelter outside the door*
        I believe the outdoor shelter is important sense there is a front porch and also there will be some traffic in and out of the writing space due to visiting students and colleges. It is never pleasant to have to wait for someone to come open the door when it is raining outside.
-the subtleties of saying goodbye
-shelf near the entrance

The Flow Through Rooms
This topic relates to the intimacy gradients when dealing with the transitions from public space to private space. I feel like this is one of my toughest duties ahead. The visiting writer need to feel at house and have a space the enables they to write. “The movement between rooms is as important as the rooms themselves; and its arrangement has much more effect on social interaction in the rooms, as the interior of the rooms.” It is suggested that one of the best ways to keep a good social environment is to have no passages at all, instead, having interconnected rooms that have doors between them.

When thinking back to previous houses I have lived in, or visited often, I realize that they all had this general pattern of interconnecting rooms.