October 14, 2006
I am currently working on a research paper on the subject of ramblers. The subject of the paper is that ramblers are an essential part of American domestic architecture and they should be preserved, as they are an integral part of our history. To be concise, ramblers are a uniquely American domestic architectural idea that seperates the ideals of the American family of the 1950s to the present. I can go into this concept more when I'm sober, but to get to the point, the rambler is something that should be preserved. It is an integral part to the history of cultural America. And we should preserve it, as it is an important part of us, the American public.Continue reading "Ramblers"
October 12, 2006
Brick Country House, 1923, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
I am infatuated with Mies' project, Brick Country House. I believe that it is the pure essence of architecture, and the pure goal of an architect, or design professional, in general. Many people look at the plan of this project, and think it is an abstract design. They do not see it as a plan. However, it is a plan; technical and concrete. It is a shame that it has not been constructed. However, perhaps it is best that way, as actual construction of the building would define it and introduce limitations. With it being merely a project, it still retains that mystery and require the engagement of the viewer's imagination.
But back to my point, this project is the very essence, in my opinion, of architecture. It contains all the comforts and necessities of human habition which is required in a residential structure. However, it is abstract, and foreign in many ways. I admire the ways in which Mies has used the corner in this project. Humans react to walls. We stand against them, sometimes leaning against them, for strength and solidity. They provide a reinforcement, both physicially and emotionally for us in the environment, which is naturally horizontal. They allow us to be embraced, much the same as being in the embrace of a loved one. However, the corner, comforts us even more. It provides a safe area, in which the human body feels comfortable and protected by. And Mies has included a comforting corner in each room of this project. These corners provide a sense of security and solidity in this project. In most rooms in this project, the corner is opposite an open wall, which provides a sweeping view of the surrounding landscape. This is a powerful statement; the securities and comfort of home, along with the views to the site, the landscape, which the occupant is part of. Architecture is not significant purely on its own right, it needs to interact with the surrounding landscape, which this project does. Additionally, the four projecting walls, confine the extent of the views from each room. In this way, the architect provides a guiding hand as to what the occupant should focus on. In doing this, the architect has created completely new forms, but still accomplishes the same goals of traditional architecture. He has found the basic elements in architecture and completely reinvented them in a new form.
This is another essential part of architecture: the architect has surveyed and captured the essence of the site for the occupant and shows them what is important, what defines the site. Finally, the project is to be built out of red, standard bricks. Mies's father was a brick mason. In Mies's day, the status quo suggested that one followed in the footsteps of one's father. If your grandfather was a mason, your father was a mason, and so you would be one day as well. The trade was normally passed on from generation to generation, and served as a way for one generation to pass its values and craft onto the next. In using traditional brickwork to build this project, Mies is bowing to his heritage, which is important. Those of you who have read Peter Eisenmann's theory upon the bow in mid-air, you will know that to look at an arrow in mid-air is pointless. You must know where the arrow was shot from, and where it is headed, to full understand it. And so we must do this with architecture. By building this completely abstract and foreign buildiing, Mies is still conceding to the essential traditions of building construction. While looking forward with his ground-breaking ideas, he is also looking backwards, and incorporating his past and his heritage, thus showing that our heritage is important to us and we are affected and inspired by it. This is rather surprising, as many see, very justifiably, that the International Style of modernism, popularized by LeCorbusier and Mies, discarded the historical traditions of the past in favor of a new architecture.
In conclusion, with the meshing of the new and the abstract, relying on the essence of the human experience and the needs of the human body, along with the integration of the tradition of construction, Mies has created a masterpiece, which defines the essence of architecture. And that's how I feel. Let me know if you agree.
October 11, 2006
I have alwyas wanted to film some event, or maybe a building, and match it up to a song. I love Christopher Wren's quote "Architecture in general is frozen music." Architecture, like music, has the ability to move the human spirit in ways which we can sometimes not even find the words to express. For example, Pachabel's Canon in D creates a feeling of elegance, ceremony, and sacredness, just as the facade of 17th Century English countryhouse may do. It is my theory that architecture, like music, is only successful because of its basis upon the human senses. Architecture relies upon the senses of sight, touch, and perhaps even sound. The placement of one's body, the sights of visual patterns and arrangements of physical constructions have the ability to affect the human mind just as the tones and patterns of musical notes in musical compositions.