Friday, April 27, 2012

Unit Summary 3

As the turn of the century approached, the world was becoming more one place, not a lot of places that could have nothing to do with one another. As this change was coming into being, the world wanted to showcase this possibility of community with one another. This led to a long series of what were known as World’s Fairs. The World’s Fairs were a gathering and a showcase of what each nation had accomplished in the worlds of technology and architecture, mostly.
This was a time of great experimentation in the world of architecture. The architects that were commissioned to do the work for the World’s Fairs knew that whatever they built was going to be temporary for the use of the Fair, and that it would come back down once it was over. Since it was going to come back down, it didn’t need to be a permanent structure. In the realms of commodity, firmness, and delight, it really only needed to fulfill delight, and a little bit of commodity. Firmness was, at this point in the game, obsolete.
Since they could build with no holds barred, it left a desire to see these buildings actually be constructed and useful. As technology caught up, more of these types of buildings were being seen.
As we were really pushing the limits of commodity, firmness, and delight, we also discovered the need for what came to be known as “good design for all.” For design to be good for all, there had to be a lot that lined up. And it did. Technology and materials were up to the challenge, and the architects were also.
Skyscrapers became something that were possible, and as technology progressed, they got taller and taller. This really made good design for all a great possibility – apartment homes were built that had communities within them so that the habitants didn’t even have to go anywhere to get anything that they needed. This became a more and more common concept as it spread into places of business as well.
The scale of everything that was being built continued to grow, and as the scale grew, so did the scope. People, and designers of places that people were, were beginning to go global. This globalization made trade more possible, it made the world more of a place of one, rather than a place of many that could only somewhat interact. As technology became more and more advanced, it allowed for improved communications, and design was a conversation that was had almost as commonly as trade around the world.
All of what has happened in the past century, however, is somewhat muddled. It isn’t exactly clear whether or not it is modernism, postmodernism, or some other form thereof. We have come back to the beginning of design – who does it? Why is it done? What is it useful for? Why is it useful? All of these things are things that are very important to the conversation, but they ultimately only define where we are, a place that we only know too well, as we are here. 

An Object, Space, Building, and Place to Finish Out the Year - Final Blog Post

The DeWalt 18V Impact Driver is an object that has shaped my everyday life more than I would have ever thought that it could. When I was first getting into construction, I would use a drill to drive screws. When I got into construction more, I used an impact that a friend had, and found that it makes my life much easier as well as efficient. As soon as I had the money, I went out and purchased one of my own. 
The Taylor Scene Shop of UNCG Theatre is a space that has shaped me into who I am. As a BFA Undergrad in the UNCG Theatre Program, I have spent a whole lot of time in this shop. It is to the point now that for me to be anywhere other than the scene shop really kind of feels weird. If I go a day without walking in, I typically will make sure to make a trip by there later just so that I'm not out of touch. 
The Santa Fe Opera is a building that changed me. I was a Stage Crew Apprentice out there in the summer of 2011. I learned a lot, spent 14 weeks away from home in a place I knew nothing about, and worked more hours than I can ever get back in my life. It was hard work, it was a long summer, but I was a part of some of the largest productions that I have ever seen put on anywhere in one of the most majestic buildings in the desert, and that is something that will shape me forever. 
The city of Charlotte is a place that has made me who I am today. I was born and raised there, and that is where I plan to live in the foreseeable future. I learned who I am, was shaped, and will always have a place in my heart for that place that made my heart. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Modernism - A Modern Marvel As Best We Can Describe It.

The word modern means something different every day, since yesterday was in the past, and the day before, etc. The future does not stay that way always. So, modern incorporates the past, present, and future, but does so in a way that is as up to date as possible, sometimes even futuristic.
But, there are some places that still say classical in their design and use. There are also many places that say modern in every way. I would say that the Beatles Love Theatre by Cirque du Soleil in the Mirage is an example of a place that is modern.
It incorporates the past by using a space that was used for Siegfried and Roy's show, but was upfitted. Cirque did a great job modernizing the space - every seat gets 5 speakers, the GrandMA light board uses 30/32 universes of it's capabilities, and the Rigging is incredible. It is amazing to see a space that was once purposed one way used for something else, which is an idea that is in and of itself, modern. The idea of recycling rather than building fresh is one that is pretty recent in the grand scheme of things.
The picture I chose is outside the theatre by the box office on the way in. It incorporates the show pretty well - the whole show is like this. People are flying, lights are going, there is no shortage of things to look at or pay attention to. It truly is a modern take on some classic music in an older space.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Musical Reverberations - Unit Summary 2


Music is within our absolute souls. For many of us, it drives us. It is the passion that leads many men to their greatest achievements. It is also a part of architecture. It is a part of what the architect desires, hears deep within.
Music reflects the surfaces that the architect decides to use to convey the music that is inside of him. It is intertwined with it all.
But, all of this is not a steadfast rule – none of them are. Even as the rules are becoming realized and are being made, we are setting out to break them from day to day. The rule that music is what it is to architecture will change overnight, and the next decision will be arbitrary.
Even with things being arbitrary now, however, everything is still interconnected. As we progress forward and make new rules and find new things, we are still making connections everyday to the things of the past. Everything goes back to the classical. Every time.
But this is only really the story in the west. We are really the only ones that have such an intense desire to bend and break the rules – we are the only ones who want to make everything that has been before, not be again. In the east, there is absolutely no push to bend or break any rules. In the east, there are really no rules at all. They have decided to stick with what they know works. And it has continued to work.
As time goes on, the world is growing. Europeans are moving west, and America is found and founded. And the whole reason for coming west was to become independent. However, up until then, the basic rule for design that had not been broken yet was that we were still looking at the classical and using it for the “modern.”
This presented it’s own set of issues. We couldn’t follow the classical style directly without maintaining the European ways. So we, as Americans, had to figure out how much of the classical style we could get away with using, and how much we had to add to it and modernize it in order for it to become our own.
With the American Revolution comes some more revolutions, all of which make us question the architecture and design that we have known.
Revolution changes everything, even the music. And this is where the reverberations bring us back around in a full circle. The reverberations of design have been going on and on for many, many years now. The music of then has a great influence on the design of now. The designs of then inspire the music of the now. Everywhere we go, it is all intertwined, the reverberations are still happening, and we are forever learning from what has happened, and making the best of it for the learning of tomorrow. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Blog Post 12 - Good Design For ALL

Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre in Charlotte is a place that I consider to have been designed well for all.

As a person who is a concert goer, I have been in the space many times on the public end of it, and marvel at how well put together it is. However, I also marvel at the backstage part of the space as someone who has done many load ins and load outs on that stage for many shows. Although the space is set for many many people to walk around, it's also set up to be useful to those of us who have to do other things in the space. I have parked multiple 26' box trucks in the space to walk around so that we could set up merchandise, unload food into booths, etc. There is ample dock space for 5 trucks to be, a grid that means that hanging points doesn't require tons of bridles on the high steel... All of these things that just make it a space that crew, performers, and attenders can genuinely appreciate.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Blog Post 11 - Modernism

Design is almost always looking forward. Unless the obvious is that it's looking back. But, at the beginning of the 20th century, there was a brand new push to be modern. We as a people wanted to be looking forward rather than back. There were some calls to the past with the designs that were being made, but for the most part, as technology improved especially, we were looking forward.

I was recently in Long Beach, California for a conference, and while I was there, we were in the Long Beach Convention Center. It is a building that really does take a stab at a "Modern" look. However, it was a modern look when it was first designed however many years ago. As you look at it now, it is a little less modern looking... But, this is because as we have come into the 21st century, the push to be modern has remained, thus putting us into a postmodern look, making the modern look classical.

This need to be modern stems from our need to always outdo our previous generation - and is something that we can say that we are doing well. But, in our need to be modern, we are promptly forgetting the classical, and even some of the modern - something that we as designers especially need to be careful of.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Revolution - Blog Post 10

The cordless drill.

Or, in the parlance of the construction industry - a gun.

One of the most commonly used tools in what I do, yet one of the most commonly overlooked.

Starting from the ground up - the battery. The battery is what makes this tool even possible. And the advancements in them have simply continued to move forward. From NiCd to LiIon, 12 to 14.4 to 18, 19.2, and 20v systems. The life improves pretty constantly, the power too. And the portability is without question a huge selling point - before this, it was no big deal to keep a long cord with us to make things happen. However, now it is only necessary to have a charged battery.

Coming up the grip - corded drills were, and still are, kind of bulky - not very comfortable to hold. But, with the advent of the cordless drill, ergonomics were suddenly in the picture. And, oddly enough, once cordless drills began to look at ergonomics, comfort, and ease of use, so did other tools. Suddenly hammers were made to fit your hand rather than being big and slick (a much safer option, I feel...)

Next is the trigger. Named as such for the gun like stance the drill takes. Some of the larger, bulkier corded drills were hard to pull the trigger, but with the cordless options, it is a much easier design to use. They are also smaller, now occupying the real estate of one finger rather than the previous 2, or more aggravating 1.5.

Beyond that, much of the drill is unchanged. But, the revolution that happened from the trigger is enough to have revolutionized much of the construction industry for the better.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Language of Doing - Blog Post 9

The city of Charlotte, NC, is a place that very much speaks a language all it's own. It is a city of Doers. It was a trade route, marking a crossroads in the state, and later the crossing of rail and road. Even today, the product that goes through Charlotte is incredible - almost never ending. There is never a quiet moment in Charlotte - This photo was taken after 11 pm one night. Yet, in all that is going on, it is always something that is being done - something speaking the language of doing.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Gothic Cathedrals

 The Salisbury Cathedral in Salisbury, England was built between 1220 and 1258 AD, or CE. It was erected on the site of another cathedral that was brought to ruin during a storm that was originally built during the Roman Empire. However, regardless of how long it may seem that it took to build the Salisbury Cathedral, it was actually a remarkably short build – it fit within one generation. This is in stark contradiction to the cathedral at Amiens, which took nearly two centuries – closer to three or four generations. This is similar to the cathedral at Florence, which also took nearly two centuries.

It’s amazing to think that there is such a difference in the times that it took to build such incredible structures that are so similar overall. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Unit Summary 1 - Foundations

Unit one of this course is called foundations. The name says it all, really. This is the unit that sets the foundations for the rest of the course, and shows us that the ancients gave architecture and design a foundation to build upon. 
A part of that foundation is the concept of there being objects, spaces, buildings, and places. These four elements are where we see design manifest. There are objects that were designed very thoughtfully which have been passed on through time, and either modified to suit what we need them for now, or left in use as they were created.
Spaces are next up the tier – essentially what we think of as a hang out of sorts in today’s society. These spaces are sometimes inside and sometimes out – they can be rooms or gathering areas. These spaces are utilized for many things.
Buildings are the next up – larger than spaces, and sometimes containing them. Buildings are where we start associating architecture and design as a collaborative art. This collaboration between architecture and design is one that is most fascinating – and the one that begins to show as we get away from looking at societies older than Greece and Rome, and their respective empires. The Greek empire is where we begin to see buildings with purposes other than living. We begin to see holy places, gathering places, and political places.
This is where we get into the next tier – places. Places are where many objects, spaces, and buildings come together. Sometimes they are as large as an entire city, and other times, smaller. A college campus would be a modern day example of a place – though they are not always as thoughtfully designed, as we would hope. An ancient place would be the Parthenon in Athens, Greece – a place that was a cluster of buildings that each had a purpose, and a place for gathering as a people.
As we move away from the most basic foundations of where we do design, we moved into the foundations of how we do design. A lot of design is given to us by the world around us – in ways such as circles, groves, and stacks.
Circles are a very basic design element – not one that we see in many natural formations, but one that we can’t escape, nonetheless. Everywhere that we stand, as we look around us, we are the center for a radius of a circle.
Groves are the most commonly seen element in nature – they are everywhere. We see groves as trees, bushes, and vegetation. We see groves everywhere in our design too – columns in buildings, gatherings of globules outside movie theatres, etc. It is not uncommon to see groves in design at any time.
Stacks are the last piece of this gathering. We see stacks as everyday parts of architecture – they are not always common in nature, but they are natural to us – we see things, and stack them. It makes sense.
Design has many foundations on which to build, and as we have moved into this new unit of reverberations, it is becoming clearer that the foundations really do give us something with which we can make sounds into the future. The image I chose is one that I took that I feel shows this unit very well. It is downtown Charlotte, NC. The buildings are all great examples of stacks, and the Bank of America Building is a great example of a circle, also. It is also a summary of its own about foundations – the foundation of Charlotte is the banking industry, which took over as agriculture and manufacturing were on their way out of the area. This foundation is the basis for which Charlotte is now able to make it’s own reverberations; as we are able to make reverberations now with the bases for design that we have covered in Unit 1.

The Durham Cathedral - An Inspiration for a Durham We Know More Locally - RR 5

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Music as an Aspect of Design - Blog Post 5

Design: Everywhere.
Music is too. It is life.
It is what we do.

This is my Haiku about how everything we do relates to design and music. This artery is one designed for us all. It connects us to one thing or another. It's truly amazing to see how it all relates, and how it is designed, and how it can carry music to us all.

Monday, February 6, 2012

The West Precinct of the Horyu-Ji Temple - Pagoda - RR4

The Japanese Pagoda is a symbol of religious sanctity and power. It is a place that the people hold in the highest regard for the honor that it shows to Buddha. The Pagoda on the complex of the Horyu-Ji Temple is supposed to be the oldest wooden building in history - the center pillar possibly dating from 594 BC. It is even more interesting to me how the pagoda is a structure meant, not for function, but rather for inspiration. It's commodity is virtually nonexistent, but it's firmness and delight are both clear - as well as it's symbolism as stacks.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

A Day On The Campus - Blog Post 4

I would argue that the new School of Education is the most prime example of Commodity, Firmness, and Delight on campus. It's function is met in a way that is effective, but not flashy. It's Firmness still has yet to be proven, simply due to a lack of time standing as of yet. But, it is still standing a year into its life - a good sign. As for Delight, it is not the prettiest building that we have on campus, but it is not the ugliest either. It doesn't give mu much enjoyment, but I don't mind seeing it on a daily basis. So, as far as Delight is concerned, I would say that it is mostly a success. 

It doesn't incorporate circles anywhere in its design except for the entry area - the sidewalk has some circles at one of the entry areas (which is where I feel it fails - the entryway that is marked by the circle is the one that is not used by most people. This pretty strictly violates the way that we understand circles in our society. 

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Blog Post 3 - Xiangyang as a Symbol of Power

I think that the Xiangyang palace is arguably the better representation of architecture. It is a firm example of power - using the examples of stacks and groves. I personally feel that it is a better example of power than the Acropolis - however it could be simply my monotheistic views that would explain why I view it as such. It is a symbol of a truer power than that of the gods, as I view it. There is also another type of power to be beheld in the fact that the palace is a place of intimidation and power that was feared, rather than simply intellectual. 

It is an awesome and awe inspiring example of stacks and groves - all the columns and steps are truly a sign of something amazing. I find it to be much more intriguing as an example of architecture and symbolism than the Acropolis. 

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Skinny - Or Not So - On Columns : Reading Response 3

This week, the Hersey reading was about columns, and the origins thereof. It was intriguing that they were started as trees - it is wondered if trees weren't even modified at the very beginning, but instead used as they were where they were. Over time, they were cut down and modified to hold up tarp like things, other sticks, etc. That basic shape was then taken and carved out of rock for what we recognize as columns now. They became more decorative over time, and are now used for a little bit of everything.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Reading Response 2

Circles, Stacks, and Groves

Friday in class, we went out and looked at examples of Circles, Stacks, and Groves. Following are some examples of them that I found on campus.

This is my example for a circle. It is the circular entry into the Jefferson Suites building. The significance of the Circle here is that it symbolizes a place of importance. The circle is used to draw people in to the center, as one of my classmates decided that he was going to do. 

This is my example of a grove. These are just some plain stone columns, but they are grouped together as a grove of trees would be. As someone with some experience in landscape architecture and design, it is not uncommon to have trees that would do the same thing if the columns weren't here, thus reinforcing the representation of the Grove. 

This is my example of a stack. The Bryan Building is very much an example of a stack. the way that the building is put together actually looks like a bunch of individual pieces placed one on top of the other in a rather haphazard manner. 

These are all examples of the environment that we exist in as college students. This environment can either shape our rituals, or we, as people, can let our rituals shape our environment. And, I firmly think that there is a solid element of both in life. As an ex-smoker, I know that I let my rituals shape my environment by having to go find places that it was acceptable and out of the way to go smoke. I now let my rituals shape my environment by not going to the smoking areas, and instead having more time and going the more direct path to where I need to get to. But, my environment still shapes my rituals. As a theatre major, I spend a lot of time in the theatre, on campus, etc. Thus, my rituals revolve around that particular environment that I have put myself into. So, I think that it is a combination of both that make up who we are and what we do - we change our environment, and let our environment change us - it is a give and take. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Reading Response 1

This is my first attempt at a reading response. Hopefully, it's up to par. 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Lane Ellison Photography: School

Lane Ellison Photography: School: I'm taking a class on architecture and design. I have to keep a blog for it, which can be found at I may als...

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Blog Post 1

Below is the image that I am using for this first blog post - or design autobiography; whichever it is, or both.

So, there might be an argument that I cheated, or skimped, or something on my object. But, I feel that it more than adequately fulfills the requirements. The requirements state that we must choose an object that is meaningful and well designed. My hands are very much meaningful and well designed. I certainly have no argument that a man designed my hands, but, a Creator did. And whatever the design process was for them, they seem to work pretty well. 

How they fit for me in the way that I view design is also a bit interesting. I actually work in construction. My major at UNCG is Technical Theatre Production, and I'm a general contractor on the side. Thus, I get my fair share of designs thrown my way. I rely on the designers of shows to give me what it is I'm supposed to build, and the same goes for architects or interior designers when I contract. Thus, my appreciation for design is one of how to make it come to fruition. How do the designs come to be after they have been seen on paper? How they get from the designer's head to the page is fascinating to me, but more my speed is how I make them happen from their head to a reality. I use my thoughtfully designed hands to in turn build someone else's thoughtfully designed (insert name here). 

It's a pretty cool trade off. 

This is Only a Test

In the real world, that's a relief. In college, those words can strike fear like no others...