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December 12, 2006

Bruno Zevi- Architecture as space.

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The ideas presented by Bruno Zevi in the assigned reading “Architecture as Space� clearly define the architecture as an experience and not just the dimensions and “structural elements that enclose the space but the void itself�. Architecture has been depicted through out history as a series of elements or facades put together to create structures. History has treated the different elements independently and analyzed the parts separately instead of look at a structure as a whole. The true understanding of architecture comes from experiencing it; being within the form whether it is an interior or exterior space. There are some comparisons of architecture to art and Zevi’s description is very to the point when he stated that architecture is “a great hollowed-out sculpture which man enters�. Architecture is an art that surrounds you and involves all of your senses while art only can be experienced by one or two. The true real meaning of a church or other religious buildings can not be experienced in photographs, drawings, descriptions or the plans; it also cannot be experienced by the wealth of its contents but by walking around in it and viewing the structure from different points. The sprit of a building includes the light and shadows, windows and column, floors and ceiling and many other elements put together in one package.

My personal experience of this phenomena happened first in Belgium at a cathedral in Antwerp. This was my first experience in a cathedral and the beauty and mysticism overwhelmed me. I sat in that cathedral for over an hour trying to absorb all that I could and I do not believe in Christianity. I later thought how the Priest and monk that worship there can concentrate on the written words in the bible when the true spirituality surrounds and engulfs them. I finally came upon the painting of Pieter Pauwel Rubens “Descent from the Cross� and it was truly stunning sight. After taking this class I wonder was the cathedral built to frame the painting or was the picture painted to enhance an already beautiful church.
My next experience was with the Taj Mahal and it was equally impressive. Here love was the motive for the building but my reaction to the site was no less. I could not have felt the same magnificence seeing the Taj Mahal in a photograph or capture the splendor of the surrounding gardens from a painting; or look upon its misty presence from the distant Red Fort.
Since my first experience I have gone to many other place and experience structures as Bruno Zevi’s has described.

December 11, 2006

Khan and Gershebfeld

There are many parallels that can be made between the Khan and Gershenfeld readings. There is truth to Khan’s claim that “the language of man is art� and “art being the language before� any other languages because man has an innate need to create. And Gershenfeld with the personal fabrication (PF) program put that power back into the hands of the person that needs the thing the most. If the need exist for just one person than why should that person not be the designer and the user at the same time? However, the PF can also dissemble and reuse materials and this is very prudent and teaches to consume only what we need. Furthermore, the students in the MIT class on “how to make anything� were willing to share there knowledge and leave there findings behind for the betterment of others. So many time designers (meaning all designers not just architects) tend to be proprietary with their knowledge because of the big payoff at the end $$$ or recognition.
But if necessity is the mother of all inventions than is need inspired by imagination? Khan’s thought on inspiration, as I interpret it, was that when we let go of the common means of solving a problem we will be inspired to find or imagine a unique solution to every problem. Khan also mentions the need to be an architect is instinctive and when the designer finished design a space for someone the design should be thrown away and not reused and in this way keeping the design personalized

A short digression
Science fiction has played a part in inspiring invention, think of the female character in the Star Trek series with the portable computation device and now think of the portable workstations used by large companies with radio frequency (RF) technology to download data to their super computers. And my favorite is in the Back to the Future I movie when the professor uses garbage as fuel for the time machine which just happens to be a Delorean. Do you think that will ever happen? Finally, from the Matrix the down load of information needed to fight off the bad guys or do some thing outrageous can be compared to the “just in time� learning process in Gershenfeld’s reading.

December 4, 2006

Technopoly: Good or Evil

The Neil Postman reading is very thought provoking and we can clearly see how the ideas he presented about technopolies can be applied to most aspects of our lives today. Our lives are so dependent on the technology that sometimes we are not even aware that we are using them. The reading also brought up the point of the intent of the inventor and the manipulation of the invention by those who control it. Furthermore, the affects of technopolies on the evolution of our culture and a good example is Alexander Bell’s telephone. With the invention of the telephone everyday life changed for ordinary people everywhere. The change started slowly and took about 75 years from the time it was patented in 1876 to the time most home had a phone during the 1950s. Communication with friends and family was easier and quicker than the mail. So, we went from:
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Sure it’s has made communication with family and friends easier but the invention has also been used as a sales tool to invade our privacy by the telecommunication companies.
How many times had dinner been interrupted by a salesperson calling to ask if you need a new mortgage? Now my pet peeve is when I am with a friend in the middle of a deep conversation and their cell phone rings. Or even worse, when you are at dinner and someone at the table next to you is having a loud conversation. So the intrusion to our lives as far as phones are concerned is 24 X 7 now. This is not limited to phones but also instant data communication. In the past we would plan ahead but now we have an artificial need to remain connected at all times. So my question is do we really need to be this accessible all the time???
And how does this accessibility affect our culture?

Please do not misunderstand my point of view; I too own a cell phone and need it to be available for my children and my elderly mother.