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The Last of the Readings

Reading 14

Nature and the Idea of a Man-Made World

Geometry

The geometry involved in architecture is very apparent in all of the illustrations in this reading. Also, the quote "to the builder, the geometry of a building is not abstract" appears. It makes sense that buildings based strongly in geometric principles might create a more cohesive building. Also, a lot of geometry is based at least somewhat on nature, so buildings based on normal geometric shapes probably blend in better with the environment.

Influence

"We shape our architecture and it in turn shapes us." This makes a lot of sense. For example, the architecture of courthouses and city halls is generally very orderly and Roman or Greek revival style, and they promote order. However, more and more art museums are beginning to have unique designs, promoting creativity and freethinking.

How have you seen architecture influence people?

What geometric patterns do you think should be used more?

Reading 16 (already did 15 in another blog)

Biomimicry

Wonder

The wonder of nature is very much showcased here. The fact that so many things that were/are considered architectural feats already are present in nature is amazing. Also, just think of how much is still out there to learn...

Learning

So much can be learned from nature. Using this knowledge in relation to architecture and design can greatly improve building techniques. Also, great examples of energy efficiency (like the termite tower example) can be found in nature.

Where in nature do you think architects should look for inspiration?

How can biomimicry improve sustainable design?

Reading 17

Nature’s Numbers

Patterns

The logic of the honeycomb pattern is described here. If one thinks about it, honeycombs really do appear a lot--honeycombs, of course, snowflakes, coin packing, etc. I think this could be used a lot more than it currently is in architecture.

Caution

It is important to use caution when deriving/analyzing patterns. If this is done incorrectly, it could probably turn out with really ugly results. I’m sure this has already been done, but I guess I have yet to see it.

Which ways could the honeycomb pattern be used in architecture?

Where have "natural patterns" been used poorly?

Reading 18

Physics, Astronomy, and Mathematics

Creativity

Creativity is very important, even when dealing with fields not thought of as creative, such as math. One that really surprised me was structural engineering. Last semester, we learned about structural engineers that are architects, which shocked me a little, because that did not immediately strike me as a very creative, design-oriented field.

Skepticism

In mathematics, skepticism is apparently almost forced on students. I think that this is also very inherent to architecture studies, but that curiosity is even more important. I guess curiosity is a lot like skepticism, but a little less cynical.

Do you think there is a difference between skepticism and curiosity?

Which fields do you think creativity is not generally thought of as important to, but could use more of it?

Reading 19

Technopoly

Neil Postman

Consequence

All new technology has consequence. Some consequences are good, and others bad. Both are equally important to consider. Take, for example, Frank Gehry’s use of CATIA (described below)...

Judgment

The pros and cons of new technology must be carefully considered before implementing it. In a lecture I went to tonight on Frank Gehry, his use of CATIA software was described. While it made some aspects of design easier, it sometimes took away the spontaneity of projects and the ability to use drawings to describe how the buildings should be constructed. Once his office learned to use the software better, though, it allowed the creation of projects that would have been extremely more difficult and expensive on paper.

How has a particular technology been used well and poorly?

What do you think of the writing invention parable at the beginning of the reading?

Reading 20

Louis Kahn

Essential Texts

God

Unlike many architectural readings that seem to have an atheistic or agnostic undertone, this one mentioned God a surprising amount. At the end, it told a story about architecture being the manifestation of God, and nature what God has created. I found this a rather interesting way of thinking about architecture, which is not commonly associated with religion today. However, looking back, a lot of the most prominent early architecture is of churches and other religious buildings. In some cases, the architect was only considered the person who drew the plans, with God being the designer.

Light

Electricity and modern lighting has reduced the practical need for natural light incorporated in design. Natural light, however, cannot only save energy, but can also create a more pleasant environment. The concept of needing a sliver of light in a dark room to see how dark it actually is gave an interesting view of perspective and phenomenology.

What connections, if any, do you make between religion and architecture?

What is an interesting architectural way to juxtapose light and dark?