"Overhead the albatross hangs motionless upon the air and deep beneath the rolling waves in labyrinths of coral caves; the echo of a distant time came willowing across the sand and everything is green and submarine"

Pink Floyd

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Let me start by expressing how much I enjoyed this class. Even though the readings were long and tedious it presented a wealth of knowledge. I engrossed myself in the readings as I began to look forward to doing the assignments. I wish there had been more chairs to learn as I see the connection of interior artifacts to commodity, firmness and delight expressed by each architect. I see the use of these chairs much like paint on a wall as each one brings out a specific context and meaning to a space. I also wish there was a bit more specificity to the models assigned as several times I drew the wrong model chairs that possessed the same name. However I enjoyed drawing them as you imbibe the chairs essence in a way.
I also came to realize the point of the class in general; that we are searching for a new revolution and a new motion in design. Present day designers have not yet found the right process for revolution. Certain responses to modernism will never fit in when they stand with other moments in history. Some must stand alone in the separate communities to be appreciated in the whole. Instead designers must incorporate elements of modernism in with classical design, certain aspects of Art Nouveau did this well. This is a long term theory that cannot be accomplished within a single lifetime. It is a gradual change.
Take for example, environmental design. Case in point is the rebuilding of New Orleans. If stand alone modernism were inserted into the Historical Broadmoor district the juxtaposition would become an eye soar and architectural change would become a failure. To elaborate on my point; providing on odd single pitched roof where a gable would be more appropriate or pronounced stacking on foundation where there is very little within the community; or an odd wrap around curtain wall that is not present in any other structure in the area. The sudden shift to incorporate sustainability with revolutionary modernism in a historic district is a failure.
NC Triangle Student Finalist

An appropriate response to this would be to mimic the architecture of the surrounding homes and hint at modernism aspects while incorporating sustainability. This can be seen in the use of proportionate transom windows instead of glass walls and a slanted rock wall embracing the Spanish arch and hiding the oddity of a stairway. The gabled tympanum also tops off linear windows and leads to a single pitched roof matching the pitch of the gable. The interior is well defined with undulating heights and creates two connecting channels to ease motion while not providing a hollowed shell interior. This provides a foundation for modernism, as one home hints the others then have footing to change more and more. Then all of the sudden a revolutionary modernistic design does not look so odd. This concept takes time and that is why very few wish to grasp it. Sustainability and environmental change takes time and cannot be forced down the throats of the population through a global warming fa├žade, carbon credits, cap and trade, and excessive taxation. Revolting will occur and change will not happen or will be postponed as perception becomes negative.

Jon Pearl, design

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Machine - counterpoint

To clarify what is taking place within this image; there is fluidity from the Art Nouveau period in the upper left corner, then passing through Finland; and influenced by the machine through Eero Saarinen and transfomed into the TWA Terminal. Finland is represented as mechanical gears. The influence from the machine is that such fluid firmness can not be accomplished without mechnaical components.

The text reads, upper right, "Welcome to the Machine", as a way of displaying the entrance to a mechanical revolution. The lower left text reads "Embracing mechanical fluidity through Eero Saarinen's TWA Terminal". I chose Swedish text because I can not pronounce Finnish and it also connects Scandanavian influence.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Reading Comprehension 7

The artwork of Susan Mullhally and Elihu Vedder display several themes of modernistic views. The “Study for the Heart of the Rose”, by Elihu Vedder displays characteristics of an implied aedicule where as the boundary of the rose offers a protective commodity for the body to lie in. The rose is a feminine flower and the symbolism of the naked female body in the fetal position can be linked. The fetal position is to display the curled innocence of a child and subconscious necessity for security and safety. The lack of clothing exhibits the insecurity of the adult form in its bare state. The femininity of the rose is to resemble the security of the womb; as the flower represents the personification of the plant’s female reproductive parts. It is if the flower has given birth to the feminine form. The connection to modernism is evident in the artwork. “Seeking forms that echo images dwelling deep in the human subconscious” (Roth, p.587). Mario Botta displays his “need for images, for emotion in architecture” (Roth, p.587); in the Evry Cathedral in France. The walls blossom upwards surrounding the centrality of the temple and provide the flower for the geometric rigidity stemmed brickwork below. This is a protective form providing purpose for the building to house its most important part; the people inside.
Elihu Vedder, “Study for the Heart of the Rose”

Mario Botta, Evry Cathedral

Susan Mullhally’s “Olivia”, displays its connection to late modernism through linear form, motion and space. The geometrical shapes formed by the swing echo the concepts of Richard Meier displayed in the Meier Furniture Group. Meier, “Who has stressed purity of form and sleekness of surface while increasingly exploiting the expressive power of the irregular form” (Roth p. 569). The geometric proportion of the swing and connected arms gives birth to Olivia’s irregular bell curved dress blowing in the wind as she swings. The legs on the chair in the Meier Furniture Group give rise to the proportionate linear lines on a curved backrest. The space below Olivia’s feet is absent of a connection to the ground as she swings. “The modernist impulse to appear to defy gravity” (Roth, p.568). This theme was evident in the aerial atrium walkways in the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Kansas City Missouri before the collapse. The artwork displays a primitive machine, the swing, to produce motion and fluidity. “Endless technological development that swept away any tedious connection with reality” (Roth p.567) This is displayed in Eero Saarinens Tulip Pedistal Group as the curves create constant fluid motion only attainable through mechanical mass production. (I will make the visual connection to Nordic Scandinavian influenced fluidity in my Counterpoint- Machine). “Eero Saarinen, Jorn Utzon, even Le Corbusier and others reshaped modernism as a means of highly personal self-expression” (Roth, p.567).  

Meier Furniture Group

 Susan Mullally, “Olivia”

Eero Saarinen, Tulip Pedestal Group

“Venturi found a way to combine abstract references to traditional ornament and Classical form and yet accommodate function to a building that endeavored to become integrated within its immediate environment” (Roth p.569). This diagram attempts to combine the modernistic qualities of the artwork of Mullally and Vedder into one fluid birthing of shape. The circular commodity protects a centralized space that mimics the rose protecting the bare woman; and can be extruded out from the flat plane as a column or skylight. The angled lines protruding from the polar ends of the larger circle mimic the swing and give birth to the bell shaped space at the base of the diagram. This space could be used as an entryway into the space leading to the circular flowering space above.


Diagram Extruded: