Friday, April 8, 2011

IAR221- Unit Summary #2 Reverberations

In focusing on architecture and the elements it possess as well as the elements it gives to the earth, one can see that architecture has flow, rhythm, unity, and tone just as the way music does. One knows that music is a cultural thing, and that music works within a specific setting to come across appropriate. Architecture is the same way; it must work within the setting it takes place. In fact, architecture may be called “frozen music”. It is the “music in space, as it were, a frozen music.” (Friedrich von Schelling). An architectural “music” in Mexico may have a drumming tone, while one in India may have a harp like features and tones.

As the first millennium ends and the new modern world begin, we are approached with the “dark ages”. It is when the “maps” begin to unfold and the mental processing of location takes hold. People are beginning to acquire, code, store, and recall information about relative locations and attributes of everyday environment and use it to their advantages. One way in which this was made possible is through the importance of the church in the city, where it was located, and the features that make it stand out connecting it to the music like features. It is during this time period that the church is a large-scale communal ritual space overlapping with the message of imperial glory. It becomes the center of all around it and the most important place to be; the one location that links the people to the church and allows them to have connection with God. We see the importance of religious faith and the trinity in the combination of windows in groupings of three and the embedded material and carving to help relate and retell the stories of the Bible. The church is the place people can go for hope and light in a time that is “dark”. It gives a happy “noise” and rhythm and sound of security. This “light” and security is represented through the use of natural light directing one through the space and to the alter. It is also represented through the verticality of the windows, columns, and space uniting all cathedrals. By the rules being set through this structure people began to feel constrained.

People began to think that breaking the rules and having the church the main focus was no longer desirable and sought to go back to having rules. It was time for a “rulebook” to be established and for the classical ways of architecture be brought back. In the western world, the challenge was to re-link to the ancients. They begin to say that everything should be rational and clear, contain groves and stacks when possible, and place the man at the center. They started to focus on perspective drawing and the “ideal city” and look at the map of settlers travel. An example of the Westerns new theory of thinking of architecture and the “rules” in which they assigned is the Palazzo Medici. As one moves their eye vertical upward can see that the roughness of the structure get less and that the openings and scale does the same. Also, this is a representation of the use of groves and stacks. While the western world is focused on re-linking to the ancient world, the east continues to focus on the past. They continue to hold onto the same building forms throughout time, focusing on their importance. They replace the parts that are out rather than coming up with something new, they continue to layer in groves and stacks, celebrate the surface and materiality, and focus on nature and community needs. An example of this continuation cycle of the past and the “rules” they follow can be seen in the guwwat-ul-islam mosque.

Palazzo Medici


Now that the west finally has rules to follow, they begin to bend and break them. They start to play around with the different ways of doing things. The palazzo del te in Italy is an example of the breaking of rules. It also goes back to the idea that architecture is musical and like music “frozen” in time. We see the musicality in the columns and arches giving a since of rhythm. Another example of the new idea of breaking the rule is in the Villa Rotunda in Italy. We see the breaking of rules in that the building has four entrances/facades. This poses a problem with where to enter and with the direction of the sun in relation to the building.

Palazzo del te

Villa Rotunda

The cause of these new ways of designing is in part due to expanding the colonial world and breaking away. This colonial expansion brings ideas and people around the world together. It is because of an existing hidden set of rules and conventions that meanings to a particular social group are made universal. This allows the uncovering of everyday lifestyles and cultures which all posses’ value. It is now that one sees how persuasive architecture is. One uses objects, spaces, buildings, and places to “write” about these cultures and show how different they really are. People begin to incorporate and distribute architectural ideas, making the ever cultural world global and as one. We see this through the use of Roman architecture in our Capitol building in Washington, DC and in the plan of the city as well as our (US) contribution by the invention of the skyscraper. Though cultures combine other cultures ideas and designs they maintain their own unique designs making them ever more important and meaningful.

capitol building, washington DC: shows roman architecture being used in America
The combining of cultures and now being able to see globally without going away has brought cultures to advance. And it is due to this new knowledge of what is out there that a revolution in America begins to unfold. America begins to compete with others in making mass production faster than before. We start to make things advance technologically making everything modern and easier to build. It at this time that modernism arose and begins to dominate.

Factory during American Industrial Revolution
    Sources: Ching, Roth

No comments: