This week we discussed two methods of analysis that architects use to construct a building. The first was that of Traditional Methods where the architect uses different design elements, a series of hierarchy, and artistic ability to come up with a building. Using a series of connections between the elevation and the floor plan the architect creates a model for a building in which he/she begins by analyzing and answering the following questions.  What is the overall concept? What are the building’s elements? Where does the site exist? How are the elements juxtaposed next to one another? What is the symbolic allegorical meaning to building elements? How does the facade develop a visual play of rhtythm, movement, harmon, and balance? How do all the elements above tell a story?chair Once the architect has theorized about these questions he begins to examine his response to each design element. An architects best tools are his ability to analyze and his ability to create layers. The architect will look at orthographic representations and will understand the difference and connection between horizontal and vertical positioning of an object. he will understand it’s form in 3 dimensions. He will look at the strucure of the building, and analyze the amount of natural light he wishes for the design to contain. He will decide if he wants to use massing, or if he plans to section off elevations, and how he wishes to use repetition, random, or unique placement of walls and structure. He will view the design as a whole and decide if the use-space within the sturcture is placed in the order he wants it to be, and if the use-space connects with other use-space. He will look at the symmetry and balance of the building, and geometry. If he is not satisfied with the building he will add or subtract areas to change the dimensions of the building. He will look at all these different aspects and decide which is most important to him. A hierarchy will then be created and using that the building’s design will be guided. Although some general idea is initially conceptualized, it later becomes revised and reviewed ensuring that the building has good flow and rhythm. This is the traditional method of designing a building.

Now we will look at a new model for constructing and designing a building. Introduced at the Tedtalk in California by Joshua Prince-Ramus, REX’s president, we begin by looking at the needs and use of the building. The companies approch to design is simple, using three ideas. First, the project is no longer seen as an individuals work, and more of a collaborative project where the project is nurtured by multiple architects and is the design of a “head” architect. In this way the project is allowed to grow and become less complicated by the ideas of a single individual. Second, REX places responsibility back on the sholders of the architects in order to demand good ideas which are viable and fit within the constraints of the project. This notion makes the task of designing a lot harder but will ultimately result in inovate group collaboration, especially now that there is no longer a head architect, each architect has to individually step forth and take accountability for his work. Finally, the architects and the clients must take their time to conceptualize and identify the needs and core questions that the client is looking to meet and answer. This process of thinking along side the client enables the architects to truely identify and visualize the clients needs, and will later prevent the architects from having to go back and re-design the building.  The first building he discussed was that of the Seattle Central Library where the needs and function of the building are first analyzed. The square footage of the building is divided up into sections depending on its use, and is re-grouped to show the buildings uses. This will help organize how the building will need to be constructed. Then each section is devided into the sections that are most likely to remain the same over time, while other areas that are likely to change are grouped in a different category. The architects then use these ideas to conceptualize something viable. Unlike most librarys where the architect use generic design to fit and contain the changing levels in most librarys, i.e. the copy room looks identical to the book room, and to the labs, the building is created to meet the changes and the non-changes that might occur within the building. The end result is the Seattle Central Library.  Next Prince-Ramus quickly goes over the development and construction of the Dee and Charles Wyly Theater and the design concept. The design was created by turning the functions of the building upside down. Where most theaters would have their most important section, the theater hall and concert hall on the top level, the REX design has made it so that the hall is at its base where the walls are divided into sections that can be elevated to allow for performances to include larger objects, such as planes, to enter. Walls may even be removed, along with interior dividers to allow for it’s context to be viewed from the outside, expanding the theaters uses to include perhaps a vintage car show. Finally Prince-Ramus goes over the construction of a large multi-use building, including the Museum Plaza. The design for this building began with understanding the location. First looking at the requirments and space the building had to sit on. One of the problems inherite with the location of the site is its distribution to two separate locations. Also, other problems, such as a street that crosses the site, a freeway that runs along side tbe building, a walk way the city wants to stay open in order to connect multiple parks, city water systems below the ground, and the building must not block a view the city want to remain visible. With all these restrictions on the building’s design the architects must find a way to satisfy the client and produce something viable that the city will allow. In order to do so, the architects begin by taking the usual concepts for design. They produce squares that are all of equal size and equal value. These squares are then placed directly on top of the given space. These given spaces are then viewed and are analyzed. Once a new set of values for each of the buildings needs, the redistributed blocks are rearranged to fit a more modern look where the center of the building is used as a community center and a Museum plaza where the Museum is allowed flexibility to show case art work in new areas, such as displaying exibitions in water or near large windows that face out into the city or into a near by shoreline.


Week of October 20th

During today’s class we discussed the ideas of every group and were asked to draw the six squares that depicted our group’s idea on the chalkboard followed by the sentance our group had come up with. Next we were asked to sketch out an isometric view of our design. To the right is a quick sketch of our concept. This is a very rough draft but it gave our group an idea of what were were going to construct. Although we were asked not to create a square, we decided to contradict the teacher and go against everything. Also, this figure translates what we, as a group, decided our design should include. The shape of our design shows the density of our idea, but the open sides reveal the free flowing and ever extending freedom of the wind, a strong element in our site. This design is constructed using material found in our area, such as twigs and branches, which in turn reflect the growh of the trees around our site. Analysing our location we are able to see the collision of vertical structures and flatten plains. Also, the use of geometry reflects the building on the outset of our site.

Creating Work On Campus


Rock Analysis
Rock Analysis

This past week, we discussed how Andy Goldsworthy would create something on our campus. The class was devided into groups of 6 students, and I along with the rest of my group were given a section of the school that over looks the parking lots infront of the Science Building. We studied our location and sketched different parts of it, to get a general idea of what were had to work with. We were asked to study the area based on what it consisted of.  To the left is an analysis of a rock i found on the site. This small rock at one point was a small portion of a larger rock. This rock helps us understand the site and its break down. Similarly we were to do this for all of the site and conclude with several sentances which described the area. In my interpretation of the site i came up with the sentance, “Contineous Energy flows through tactile uncertain time.” Other sentance with in my group also arose, and we were able to come up with a sentance that was left open to change depending on what we decided to do. This flexibility would allow us to morph our design to fit with our sentance, which in turn reflected our site.

Andy Goldsworthy

Goldsworthy Working on a Project

Goldsworthy Working on a Project

Two Weeks ago we discuessed Andy Goldworthy’s works and viewed a video, which went into his process of creation and how he viewed everything he touched.  His connection to the world he worked in was immideately noticed. He expressed his disconnection from the world everytime he stepped on a plane and would fly to a new location. His strong connection to the Earth and all the natural elements around him gave him deep insight to everything he worked on. Using only materials around him, he would created elaborate projects which seemed almost artificial. Not an easy task, but he was able to make it look simple and easy. Using mostly only his hands, he was able to break and bend and mold rocks, twigs, leaves, and everything else to come up with beautiful designs. Goldsworthy began by describing how he would begin to work immediately upon arriving to each location in order to feel “grounded” and feel rooted once more. Using what he already knew already he would create ice sculptures without the use of any tools, other then his hands and teeth. Beginning by finding dozens of pieces of ice and using water and snow powder to mold the two together, he would turn and twist the flow of the ice to make it appear to go through objects. Of course, the use of ice would begin hours before the sun arose in order to keep it from melting, but as soon as the sun did rise, it would illuminate the clear ice and bring it to life. Goldsworthy stated that often the thing that brough his pieces to life was often the exact same thing that destroyed them. In this piece the sun gave it life, making it light up, but at the same time, the sun destroyed it by melting it until the rock wa sthe only piece left. The video went further to express more and more of his ideas, and showed his approch to his work. His passion for his work brought him around the world. Even when everything did not go as he wanted it to, and his work would collapse, he would find the energy and motivation to start from scratch and begin a new. Through out the entire video he also discussed his use of the serpentine flow. His love of the flow has lead him to create walls like the one above that stretch for hundreds of feet. Using the world around him and making the curves and shapes melt into the world around them, they become a link from one place to another. A river of rock and shape that extends from here to there. Goldsworthy dove deeper into the idea of a serpentine river and discussed its independance from water. A river does not need anything but to flow. His work he says, ” is a layer after,” those who came before him. He is simply another layer, and after him there will be more layers, just as there are many layers before him. He is just adding to the Earth. Often taking his work to its very edge, he pushes to reach new levels of understanding inorder to better mold his materials. His work is truely inspiring. Here are more images of his work.

Leonard of Pisa, also known as Fibonacci, was born to Guilielmo in Italy. He learned mathematics in Bugia and studied in North Africa, where his father Guilielm held a diplomatic post. He hand wrote many books, which unfortuanately did not all make it through the passages of time and are lost. Books that survived are Practica Geometriae, Flos, Liber Abaci, and Liber Quadratorum. His ingenous ideas and mathematics even awarded him a salary by the Republic of Pisa for his distince contribution to Pisa. He is thought to be the smartest mathmatician of his time and his writings show his understanding of mathematics. In his book, Liber Quadratorum (the book of squares), which is his greatest work, but not the work he is most known for, he comes up with a way to find Pythagorean triples with out using a calculator. His impressive work has been studied over and over again. He also introduced Hindu-Arabic numerals to England, but his most successful and most recognized work is his work with rabbits. He postulated that rabbits, given the ideal enviroment, will produce in a sequence, which is titled Fibonacci Sequence. This phenomenal squence also shows up over and over again in nature and was used to create the Golden Number, Phi = 1.618 0339 887…. This number has shown up in nature, and much like the number Pi, it is a number which has infinite numbers after the decimal place. The Fibonacci Sequence begins with the numbers Zero and One. The next number is defined by the addition of the two previous numbers, thus the following sequence is created: 0,1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21,34,55….etc, and the ratio between each number approches the Golden Number.


The Fibonacci Sequence shows up in nature, for instance this Nautilus sea shell we see similarities between its size and the Fibonacci Sequence, where each next section seems to be an addition of the previous two.

Rigorous Geometry

Week five of Arch 48 revolved around a reading assignment given to the entire class. The reading, Rigorous Geometry by Peter Turchi, discussed the importance of mathematics as viewed by a writer. The writer discusses the importance of how mathematics can be used to create patterns with in the writing. It begins by analyzing how numbers and mathematics have always been around, and that measurements are a way people can put distance into perspective. Eratosthenes, the first man to calculate the girth of the Earth used simple geometry, along with multiple observations and approximations. This perspective of the Earth lead others to imagine the Earth as a sphere, which in turn lead to globes and maps based on a sphere. Although the Earth is not actually a perfect sphere, we think of it so based on what we know about geometry. We also add in lines that don’t really exist, such as latitudes and longitudes. But by adding in these imaginary lines, we are able to calculate exactly the distance from one point to another, or locate certain areas. Our understanding and experience with these calculations give us context for words that might otherwise not make sense. If I were to say I live at a height of 37⁰ 56′ North  and 122⁰ 21’degrees West, you would not know where this was unless you had had some previous experience with this time of notation, and for me to go into explaining how it works, takes away from the simplicity of the information being give. Similarly, a writer expects that the audience should have some experience with the world, with writing, with tone, patterns, and so on. Thus, he eliminates the need to explain what irony, foreshadowing, tone, etc.., mean. The audience has a map of English, which allows him to better identify what he reads.

Turchi goes on to discuss mathematics in literature and the difference between modernist and post modernist. He quotes Francois Le Lionnais as he discusses Oulipo’s Ideas and shows the audience that although many might find that adding structure and rules to literature can take away from human creativity, Turchi argues that it can equally force the writer to think beyond what he knows and at the same time liberates him. Sometimes freedom of creativity can lead a writer to obscure his ideas in meaningless text that follow no form, and by creating rules and structure the writer is liberated from his own desire to use every form of writing at once, allowing him to focus and truly free his mind in new forms. The idea of mathematics within writing has lead to forms of writing such as the Belle Absente, the Cento, Eye Rhymes, the Heterogram, the Lipogram, and many others. This can also correlate with mathematics and strucuture in Architecture. An architect might use mathematics to create systematic patterns, which could lead to various complex designs. At the same time, the architect might set up rules for his work to follow, which could eventually revolutionize architecture in the future. Take LEED for example, if the architect decides he wants to build an enviromentally safe building, he’ll use the rules within LEED to design his building.

Later, Turchi discusses the ideas of Realist and Post realist work. He begins by going into post realist work and it’s emphasise on the discovery of the structure our thoughts take, becoming abstract and ridgid. Although stories like that of “The Library of Babel,” and “the Garden of Forking Paths,” by Borges explore the possibility of having all the stories and paths that could ever exist, Turchi tells us that “Not only can we not have every book or one book of infinite possibilities, but Borges says we don’t want it.” Post realist work takes us to extremes, giving us abstract characters and situations.

Turchi compares these ideas to the boardgames we play, such as Monopoly, Risk, and Chess, were none of the figures in the game actually represent true reality, thought they are named and titled after many. Rick, although not accurate, gives the player an idea of our abstract world an allows him to conqure it section by section. Monopoly allows the player to engage in realestate and purchase streets.  Neither of these are detailed and completely accurate, yet their abstract paintings and drawings allow us to play with the full function of the game. The lack of detail does not prevent us nor hinder us from playing. Even further abstract, chess is game played by two sides, where names and details are completely removed. The rules with in the game allow the players to come up with elaborate and complicated solutions. The very rules that restrict the players allow them to formulate and theorize new answers to solutions that can be seen as beautiful. Turchi tells us that even to the extent of our thought process, we as humans, think at “high levels of abstraction”. Take for example the animations of Chuck Jones.

His unrealistic and fictional cartoon of Wild E. Coyote and the Road Runner follow rules where rules are only what the writer writes. Jones never repeated the same footage and always created perameters for the characters to work in. He used 14, not 13 or 15, frames for the coyote’s inevitable fall of the cliff.  Other rules such as, ” The road runner cannot harm the coyote except by going ‘beep-beep!’,” and “The coyote is always more humiliated than harmed by his failures,” and so on, give the creators and the audiance variations with in each cartoon and allow for new and different ways of come up with the same result. Thought the senery is the same and both characters hardly change, we are engaged by the cartoon and go into dialogue with it.

Turchi then goes on to better explain realist and realism. “…if we are to practice [realism], we need to keep in mind the distinction between realism and realisty. To confuse the two is to lose sight of the difference between art and life.” Just as artist use perspective, a false perception of space and distance to depict 3 dimensional objects, so do writers use words to create what in our minds we perceive to be real. Turchi goes into the first perspective painting. This idea of three dimensions on a two dimension paper was revolutionary, giving the viewer the sense of realism. Although in real life lines and parallels do not extend to a point and vanish, we perceive they do and so our painting must also reflect what we see, not what is true. Similarly realism literature must be the same. “Realistic work may be amoung the most deceptive, as they go to great lenths, heights, and widths to conceal their geometric underpinning,” Turchi says. We use triangles to create a direction for the tension in the story so as to have low and high points. We use rules that are not real in order to make the literature seem more realistic.

Turchi goes on to further use mathematics and geometry to explain and depict literature, but after reading the sections I’ve seen how two completely different subjects, such as Geometetry and Literature, can relate and depend on each other. These same rules and ideas, which Turchi writes about, can be used in architecture as well. They can be carried over and used over and over again. We need not have the full image or everydetail of the architecture in our heads, but we can use rules and abstract figures and shapes to come up with complex solutions to problems that may come from the landscape or from the region. Similarly, we can come up with rules grids to come up with something, though not accurate, appear to be accurate. Our realistic architecture might use material that has a brown surface to give the side of a building the feeling of it being made out of stone, yet it could be completely metal. By understanding the way in which Geometry affects Literature, we are able to understand how both can relate and corrilate with the ideas used to design a building. Do we use everything we know on one building alone, or should we eliminate tallents and ideas that cloud the design. Should the room look like a room or should it look like the surrounding enviroment. All these ideas, rhythm, angles, etc…, must be understood at their basic levels to understand how it is that they interact with everything else. Architecture also must be understood fundamentally before we are able to see its interaction with the world around it.

“Hard” vs. “Soft”

ARchitecture by Antoni Gaudi

Casa Mila by Antoni Gaudi

Our assignment is simple: “Draw an object or a landscape with “hard” and soft” surfaces in your journal. Look at relationships between a hard surface and a soft (curvilinear) surface/edge.”

For a “soft” object I have chosen Casa Mila started in 1906 and finished in 1912 by Antonio Gaudi. Its unique structure has made it known around the world and its unusual shape gives it the look of a waterfall. Its curvalinear surface and its seemly random shapes are unlike most buildings that surround it. Its biomorphic and organic structure give the building a soft texture. Although it is composed of hard materials, the way in which the materials are combined gives it a more natural feel.



Like the trees around it, Casa Mila seems to have just sprouted from the ground and has grown into what we now see. Notice how the waves that follow the roof seem to echo to the base of the building and the small openings on it’s roof also give an appearance of vertical motion, as though water were seeping over the edge of the building’s top and falling downward following the curves of the building.

Doorway to La Casa Mila

Doorway to Casa Mila

At the base, even the doorways seem to move.Their organic lines web into the doorway and allow light from the outside to penetrate through the organic bubble like shapes. These shapes also continue the rhythm of the building. At the base of this “waterfall” are the bubbles created by the crashing waves of water that fall from the roof and smash onto the rocks below. The collection of organic shapes, lines, and movement on the building add on to it’s
“soft” appearance and give the building an organic feeling. Its lack of ridget and straight lines and shapes disqualifies it from being categorized as a “Hard” Structure.

Lever House by Gordon Bunshaft

Lever House by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (Gordon Bunshaft)

On the contrary, the Lever House started 1951 and finished in 1952 by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (Gordon Bunshaft) is very ridgid and gives the viewer a sense of a “hard” structure. Its rectangular shape gives it box like dimensions that seems almost completely static and without random or uncalculated sides. Its linear edges and flat sides leaves no room for biomorphic shapes. The base of the building, although it is not identical to the rest of the building, shares the same design concepts and similarly has a hard and ridged feel to it. Though this building has glass panels for exterior walls, the metal beneath them is easily seen. Unlike a child’s building block, this is one shape that almost seems to cut your finger by looking at it. Its razor edges penetrate the viewer’s eyes. Almost completely identical on every floor, the audience might even be able to bisect the building vertically and find that both sides reflect each other. Though this structure is “hard” it allows for a greater use of natural light and lowers cost of using an internal light system. The panels are also heat resistance and reduce the amount of heat within the building. This might be one of the reasons the building has taken this geometric form. It also allows for those who occupy the building to obtain a greater connection to their surroundings. The inhabitants of the building are able to view the outside world and are not completely shut off from the streets below. Unlike Casa Mila by Antonio Gaudi, this building blends in well with the surrounding towering skyscrapers that make up the New York City skyline. At the base the building has a court yard, which at its time was unheard of. This building was the first building to have included this feature and though other buildings have been said to have started the movement for plazas, the Lever house outdates them.

Sketch of the Lever House

Sketch of the Lever House

Sketch of Casa Mila

Sketch of Casa Mila

In comparing both, we see that linear based buildings tend to give the audience a sense of hard ridged texture, and curvalinear based buildings give the feel of a more soft and natural texture. The tones in both give different senses; Gaudi’s Casa Mila has a greater use of Earth tones, allowing for a softer feel, on the other hand the Lever House uses more metalic tones giving it a much tougher feel. The comparison between both also gives us a chance to see how some architecture is created with a greater sense of art and natural movement, while the other is created using more functional and practical design applications.