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.

1 comment:

  1. lane, i'd sure like to see your synthetic writing on archetypes, prototypes, hybrids, as well as commodity, firmness, and delight tied into this terrific start of the essay. i like your unusual choice of a photograph of charlotte to amplify your essential point that the elements of design are everywhere...and have been with us since the dawn of time. an archectype conversation would help explain so many imperfect artifacts across scale, and the notion that commodity/firmness/delight gives us a "test" to measure success of designs might also have been instructive. but the writing that's here....first rate.