December 12, 2006

Eliel Saarinen: Search for Form

Corrolated Order

Let's stand on the hill and look at the landscape benaeth our eyes. We see fileds surrounded by woodlands and groves. We discern groups of trees and bushes bordering lakes and reflecting their verdant masses into the watery mirrors. Our eyes follow the rhythmic outline of hills and forests against the sky, the playful contour of the meadow, th eplastic display of light and shadow. We observe flowers spreading color, animals and birds bringing in movement and life.

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In starting my understanding and response to the reading of Eliel Saarinen, I'm going to break up my response into three parts:

--Form as a part of Art

--Form as a part of Nature

---Form as a part of Man


I'm going to talk about the relationship of form and art, of form and nature, lastly, of form and man. The simple dictionary definition of form is;

1. basic structure: the nature, structure, or essence of a thing, considered apart from its content, color, texture, or composition
Encarta ® World English Dictionary © & (P) 1998-2004 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.


That is our basic understanding of form. But form in my understanding is much more than that, its expression, its art, its whatever a primitive man needs it o be, not want it o be. Form is both purposeful and accidental, both ways it constructs "FORM". There is no exact way of explaining the true meaning of form for their is many different definitions according tot eh topic that you research. I will be talking about form in perspective of architecture and nature, how both interacts and correlates with each other to build what we call "FORM".



Form as Art


When I think of form, the first thing that pops into my mind is everything. Why everything? Because in our world everything is translated through a man's "instrument of apprehension"(Eliel). "[M]an is able to see, to hear, to taste to smell, to feel, to know, to understand, to think, to sense-mentally, intuitively, instinctively and imaginatively-and to be influenced by what he sees, hears, et cetera"(Eliel Saarinen p. 24). Eliel explains that only through these senses do we understand what 'form' is and that we understand the world around us only through our senses. So I ask, What if 'form' is of something that can not be detected by the senses of man, then how do we know what that 'form' is? Our senses gives us oppurtunities to the outside world but also they limit the ability of man (Eliel Saarinen p.24).
Art in 2006 is still considered a 'form' of expression and man is free to express themselves through it. But its not what it use to be anymore. When an artist paints, draw, design, they have to take into account regulations and laws, fundamentals of art and form. Many things add up to the production of a single piece of art. What happened to expression? How about art as an expression of one's feelings and not of one's must? What I'm saying is that, man should build and form expression instead of doing art for the 'price' of it. 'Form' in art is expression, technique, brush strokes, material, everything that is a neccessity to make art. Art itself is way to broad of a topic to cover but we can analyze the form of it. We can look at the types and ways people use art to express themselves. Eliel explains that primitive man; equivalent to a caveman; uises 'form of art' to survive and get by in life. But in return the primitive man obtains a piece of art in a form that if man were to recreate, man would not be able to recreate the spiritual quality of the art but just the object itself.

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Form as Nature


As soon as I thought og 'Form as Nature' Biomimicry shot into my head. Biomimicry is a fantastic example of 'form' in nature. Man uses natures law's and fundamentals to better survive everydaylife. Nowadays its less common for man to actually follow nature law's accordingly because now there is knowledge, and for that comes man's desire. Like in the article Essential Texts by Louis Kahn. Kahn says "[d]esires bring the new need" and thats true, the more man wants and desire , man will seek a way to find and accomplish.
Biomimicry is the imitation of nature's life to still life structures for man. When one takes the design from mother nature, one only does so much as to keep the design of the object itself but lack to understand the consequences. By consequences I mean that man wants to build an opera house that has the fundamentals and construction like a flower(lotus, rose)the layering upon layer. But does one take into account the price of building a structure like that? Where will this building stand to not interfere with natures course? Some people have managed to do Biomimicy and envelop the surroundings greatly, but what of those whom do poorly of it? What price does mother nature have to pay by the construction of this structure, what 'form' or part of nature needs to change in order to still be correlated like it use to be before the structure?

An example of Biomimicry (good)..

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Form as Man

Man is 'form' at its best. Menaing that, a MAN is part of nature, and that A MAN is the most complicated form on earth, well at least I think so. Because part of a 'man' is not just the formation of his body but, the form of his brain, form od his lofe, his form of expression, form of love etc...the list can go on. Man has personality and characteristics, the human mind itself is more colplicatd than the stem of a plant because man can feel and be heard. The language we speak the things we hear are what man can do. Man is expressive thus a complicated formation of knowledge. I think the most complex and confusing form is the form of emotions that man can show. Sad, happy, angry...and so on, not definite ever, always a changing rythm to every feeling.

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December 10, 2006

Neil Gershenfeld words vs. Louis Kahn words

Neil explains " The purpose of bringing tool-making back into the home is not to recreate the hardship of frontier living, just as its not to run personal scream-container production lines out of the family room. Rather, it's to put the control of the creation of technology back into the hands of its users." He's saying that technology is brought back, and more advanced for the purpose of one's desire to build and create not to make something better, or build a better source of it.
Neil says that "personal fabrication is fulfilling individual desires rather than merely meeting mass market needs." He points out the obvious to us that companies and factories build better material, build better computers on their desire to have a very high-tech system but they build it only on their desire to build. Is that good, useful to us the commoners? Is it good that the technology of our world is getting very high-tech and complicated but yet simple? Neils seperates the machines and products, according to that the machines are what make the product possible. But who builds the machine? What use is it if the machine was only to produce what ever input it recieves? What happens to the craetor of the machine? Is it man, or machine that builds the machine to create the product producing machine? Neil response to this problem is to focus more on the desire to learn how to build the machine that can produce what WE want ourselves. Instead of relying on others to think of it for us. He argues that man is what builds the machine so why not let man learn the knowledge to BUILD the machine to his PREFERENCE?


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For example, this man above is assembling or touching up on a car. The car is assembled by machine power, a machine that has directions programmed into it to do what it muct do. The program is inserted by man, the knowledge that is inserted into the machine is man knowledge, so Neil is saying that if man has the knowledge then mass production, or production of anything is possible.

Louis Kahn has sort of a similar approach. Kahn says that "What natur makes it makes without man, and what man makes nature can not make without him." Louis explains how the tools and things that are part of our space can not do without one another. Nature produces trees and soil, without the help of man, in rainforests and woods. Man creates machinery that uses the resource of nature. Kahn says that "desires bring the new need", which is what Neil was expressing also. That because of one desires there must be new needs. For example a man desires a program to monitor his house and record information around the house, or the chores that need to be done. In no time there most likely would be a in-home sytem that is sort of like having a maid. You open your fridge and ask, what do I need to buy at the grocery store and the fridge scans your fridge for he input of items you put into the program, when an item is missing it states that you must purchase so and so. It sounds complicatd and confusing but Neil and Kahn explains that man's knowledge is what machines produce. With the knowledg of man and teh right building materials, man can prodeuce anything and everything.




Below is an example of man's creation to his desires.


A sewing machine, sewing can be done by hand but man is too slow and not precise enough. Thus create a machine to sew for them.


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But sewing wasn't enough man DESIRED to have many types of stitches and technique. Thus the creation of a more advanced sewing machine.

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But that still wasn't enough, man DESIRED a sewing machine that they can take anywhere and use anytime at their convienence. Thus the handheld sewing machine.

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So as you see man's desires are what makes the new needs(KAHN) and that need leads to knowledge to create something to their individual interest(NEIL).

November 27, 2006

Technology: Now Vs. Then

Nowadays in our human inhabited world, we have machines instead of human force. We have screwdrivers and hammers, laser cutting machines instead of regular sharp edges to do the cutting for us. From the caveman days where they use rocks and wood to make utensils and weapons to the year 2006 where eveythng is manufactured by factories and inspected by machines not the human eye.

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Back then caveman used rocks to cut and sharpen things, regular rocks that were sanded down to have a sharp ege. And that did the job, it can cut hide, leather and many other things back then, but why is it now in 2006 people need to make things so much more complicated? Cuttery is an art now, there are millions of knives produced and there are too many kinds of cuttery that you can use to get one single cutting job done. In my opinion technology complicates things but does not change the natural order of a certain object. Like cutting objects, back then it was a stick with a rock on top or just a sharp rock. Now we have numerous styles of knives and cuttery but they still keep there function, to be able to cut.


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Technology complicates things but at the same time simplifies things. Sounds confusing...?And it is confusing when you come to think of it. The process of creating a knife in the caveman age were so simple, just sharpen a rock and it cuts. Now you have machines that produce stainless steel knives that don't get rusty or dented, but they still cut and more efficiently. They even have knives that are pocket sized to your convienence.

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Assorted colors to your liking, they were made to cater to your liking, preference. But is the process of producing this small, compact knife simplicity or just plain confusing? To create something so nice and simple, but you find that it is the difficult, winding part that we overlook. Thats why technology seems to make things more simpler for us but truly its a trick to the eye. You see the end product, something so simple that you can imagine yourself producing something exactly like it. But do you know the whole process of producing this object? The machines that are needed to cut the material, the knowledge needed to build the machine itself and the tools to make the machine, in order to produce the cute pocket knife.

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So I question, has technology changed our world to simplicity or just made it more complicated?

November 5, 2006

Mathematics in a Peristyle Garden

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Architecture consist of plenty of mathematics. There would be no architecture if there were no mathematics. Mathematics is what makes a building grand, or a house that is well proportioned to the person or clients needs. Above are a series of pictures of a peristye garden. A peristyle garden is seen in Roman houses, "peristyle" means surrounded by columns.
Peristyle gardens is a very good example of mathematics. In a paeristyle garden there are many different characteristics of mathematics, such as symmetry and ratios. The first picture is a column which is an example of mathematics as a form-towards transformation. The basic column is a tall cylindrical solid, plain with no designs. The column above(first pic) is carved so that there are groves going vertically all the way around the column. We further shape the old to be new. The sculpture-looking top, on top of the column is also a form of transformation, this piece of carving use to be a block of stone or raw material but with the works of design and proportion by a pair of hands, we have a marvelous piece of art.
The ratio of the column is human to grand(2nd pic). The human is average height but the column is about 3 times bigger. Implying that the building that the column was made for is not ordinary or average, there is a certain significance to it. To represent the power or majestic lifestyle of the inhabitant of the building or just the building itself. Mathematics gives the bulding a size, ratios and characteristic. Without mathematics to give it dimension we'd have a column that looks just like a straight line.

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Another unique thing about a peridtyle garden is how it redifines a persons perception of space. Peristyle gardens have paintings on the walls that surround the garden. These paintings often consist of nature, animals, fake architecture; which is fountains and statues, or sometimes they are just regular paintings. The reason that there is painting on these walls is to create an illusion, to give the garden a sense of size, making it look bigger than it actually is. Rather than having solid walls with no painting, just a plain wall would give the effect of being enclosed. Mathematics changes your perceptioon by giving depth in a picture, adding more space to a place than there actually is.

Continue reading "Mathematics in a Peristyle Garden" »

October 23, 2006

Architects: Bernard Tschumi and Kenzo Tange

Bernard Tschumi

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Bernard Tschumi is a Swiss architect. He was born in Lausanne, Switzerland on January 25, 1944. He is a swiss architect, writer and academic. One of his major works and accomplishment is the Parc De La Villette in Paris.

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Tschumi's theory is that architecture's role is not to express an extant social structure, but to function as a tool for questioning that structure and revising it. He combines film and literary theory with architecture. His designs are more modern and geometrical. His designs are based off more of ahpes with definite sides. He doesn't do much with round shapes but he focuses more on fundamentals of squares and triangles etc.

--Acropolis Museum, Athens(below-miniture model)
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Acropolis Plan
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Kenzo Tange

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Kenzo was born in Imabari, Ehime Prefecture on September 4, 1913. he passed away in march, 2005 at age 91. He is a Japanese architect, Kenzo Tange demonstrates that unique regionalism can be developed and recognized within the circumstance of international style. His work is very intensely Japanese. His style is more cultural, he does encorporate modern and cultural designs into his work. He is known to be more modest and simple. He mostly does big projects in China, Italy, Japan and some ohter places. Below is one of his bestest work before he passed away. But it is not well known.

Ise Shrine in the Lumbini Sacred Garden

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This buildings design is very traditional, the crossing roof encorporates this building into the surrounding environment. The Lumbini Sacred Garden(below)


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Nature as opposed to man

Some oppositions in our community are crime on campus. If you don't want to get robbed then stay inside after hours. Lots of crime happen at nightime because its dark and there's not as much people around. How would we resolve that? By simply adjusting ourselves and routine. There are many solutions to this problem.
--Always have a group of at least 3-4 people
--Avoid walking alone after dark

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--Avoid places with no people

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--Try to finish your business earlier
--Work out a transportation solution, who, where and how are you going to get from here to there.

So as opposed to carrying a gun or mase around, always worrying what may happen. We can just resolve the problem by changing ourselves and our habits. Thus making us more comfortable with our surroundings and also avoiding robberires, possible threats and harm.

For every opposition theres a resolution, it may not be in the simplest form and may not be the most understanding and clear. But we can derive from the circumstances some possible solution that will benefit us, humans, rather than keeping it the way it is.

Like such: Trees, this is one of our major resources. Without tree's we would have no paper, no wood to build our homes, no sap to make syrup etc. Sometimes all we think about is how we can be better than natural resources. Manufacturing, factories and artificial materials...things that don't require natural resources but can be as good. We oppose natures ideas, but wouldn't it be much more easier to base off of nature? Since nature is already there?
Like Biomimicry, be one with nature. Ideas of Biomicry is based off of our natural resouces, designing with nature as our main partner.

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Professor Saloojee's example of opposition-resolution: a safe city: no river; no flood: no mountains; no falls of rocks: no ocean; no flood, twisters etc.
Thats true, we humans always try to resolve natures problem. But how come we never thought of working with nature instead of against it? Floods happen, no prevention of that is possible. But we can work with the flood and learn more about it and research it, study it so that we know more about it, so that we are able to come up with a solution that will benefit us and also not have it end up in a totoal natural disaster. Maybe brainstorm a flood project and ways to avoid their destruction, such as building techniques and materials, city layouts etc.

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As a solution we can learn to be peace with nature and have nature run the way it does but instead of us humans trying to be better. We can be partners and work with what our natural environment gives us, and try to make the best of it.


October 9, 2006

A Natural Phenomena

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Minnehaha Falls is a great phenomena. The Falls itself is a rhythm, the water falls on a beat. The flow of the water curves and contours according to its own energy. The framework, the degree of consisitency that the water runs. The patterns of the forest and natural life around it. The whole place; Minnehaha Falls has its own sense of life and rhythm. Every beat of the rhythm consist of the things that are around Minnehaha Falls. Such as the the path of which the water flows. Without it the water would have no destination and no sense of pattern or spirit. No character would be given to the water becasue it has no contoured path to flow among.

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The clockwork of the Falls, its physical matter. It is frozen in the winter time, then its fluid in the summer time. No matter how many repetitions go by, the characcter of the Falls will always remain the same. the Falls "go through changes in a periodic manner and keep returning to the original set of relationships" (Prof. Ozayr Saloojee). The cycle of the falls: running water with green life in the summer time, running water with falling leaves in the autumn season and frozen water with frozen life all around in the winter. That is the basic cycle of the Minnehaha Falls then once summer comes around again the clockwork begins yet once again.

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There are many "things" that wraps around the Falls, the life that lives within the surrounding forest. The trees and plant life that grows in the area, all the characteristics that define the Falls are part of its phenomena. To be more clear, the atmosphere and place of the Minnehaha Falls is the phenomenon. This phenomenon impacts the whole Minnehaha Park. Without the Falls there is no sense of belonging for the rest of the place, because the Falls characterizes the park.

October 2, 2006

Motion and Life: Downtown Minneapolis


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Downtown Minneapolis is a place that's full of character and energy. From the people on the streets to the tall buildings that lay upon the concrete block on the ground. In downtowmn Minneapolis there are plenty of tall buildings and plenty of lights that illuminated the streets at dusk. But they aren't just there, just to be there. Such as Nicollet Mall.


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The area around Nicollet Mall has a different Genius Loci than other places. The street that runs through the middle of the mall area is different from those that run in and out of downtown. The street itself is more smoother and more well fitted to the area than others. How so? The street is more well paved and contoured than others. The contrast between the sidewalk and the stree. The sidewalk is a light reddish/copper color, very light. The sidewalk sort of draws out the street. The energy around downtownis just full of life and motion even if there were not to be a person in sight. The lighting posts that line the streets and the tall buildings that you see here and there, that is already energy itself. For example at dusk, the lights would come on and illuminate the streets, glimpse of lights flickering here and there, dancing with the wind. When light hits the buildings, the building then springs up with motion and energy, with the help of the lights. The overall structure of downtown is simple, downtown just consist of plain and simple squares. But yet the place has such a fun, wonderful feeling to it, just the little trees and bushes that go through the middle of the road gives life to the area. The color of the the trees and shrubs shows that downtown may be a place full of commotion; people here and there, cars running everywhere, buildings and factories. You wouldn't think that there would be any natural life there but the trees show that even though this place is industrialized there is still a glimpse of nature and that downtown is just full of man-made creations but there's also natural life blooming somewhere in there.


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