April 13, 2008

Discussion Questions #19

Neil Postman

Keyword 1: Advancement.
He spoke of how culture has advanced from the basic tool making culture to the more technologically advanced culture. I thought it was interesting that he looked at the basic tool making culture as almost a pure culture up until the stirrups were made and yet he made the argument previously that anything created has pros and cons to it. I also thought it was interesting that he thought that new technology was at "war" with old technology like television with printing, photograph with painting, etc. To me, it rather seems like they have simply displaced the old technology and forced it to create a new way to reveal itself. I can think of very few technologies that have been conquered or killed off totally that his word "war" symbolically seems to portray.

Keyword 2: Truth.
The first time Postman brought up truth was when he said, "Technologies change what we mean by "knowing" and "truth". He dedicates the last few pages towards the revolution of the church and the truths the philophers of the past have presented. Meriam-Webster provides the definition of truth as "a judgment, proposition, or idea that is true or accepted as true." It is interesting to think that our perceived "truth" hinges around what has been proven in the past and what surrounds us in the present.

Discussion Question: Postman said that technology could be a danger in that it could alter our memory. One way he mentioned was that technology would require us to remember new words and would also modify old words. In what other ways could technology interfere with our learning? How can we compensate or can we compensate for these difficulties that it causes?

Discussion Question: Postman also said that technology forms a "kind of conspiracy against those who have no access to the specialized knowledge made available by the technology." How does this affect countries where economy prohibits them from accessing technology? How does it affect behaviors between each other? Between their state or country? Between other countries? How would accessing technology change their situation?

March 24, 2008

Discussion Questions #16, #17 & #18

Article #16
Janine Benyus
Keyword: Adaption
Nature has a profound way of being able to adapt to its surrounding for its survival. This was shown in the intricate way that the mollusk was able to create a new shell, the way the spider used it silk to attract mates and food, and the way the mussel was able to use its arm to connect to a surface and uses the tide to feed.

Keyword: Imperfection
Despite man’s effort to duplicate nature’s chemistry, it can often come to a dismal ending such as that of the mussel. It shows that even our extensive knowledge sometimes just can never replicate the natural abilities of nature.

Discussion Question: Paul Calvert told the author, “Nature loathes fasteners-instead it blends gradients so that the fiber has no single vulnerable point.? It seems as though we, as human in this day and age, love the opposite. How can we draw from nature’s love for gradients in what we build?

Discussion Question: After all the effort that was put into finding an adhesive from the mussels, they said all they got was a “brownish flocculent [a wooly mass at the bottom of the beaker]? and “in the meantime, a group in Massachusetts…is simply chopping up mussels foot and selling the purified protein?. If all this effort ended up with the actual product just being used, what use can nature actually be to us in the use of its prototype?

Article #17
Nature’s Numbers
Ian Stewart
Keyword: Pattern
It’s amazing the number of patterns that are seen in nature. Patterns were presented numerous times in this article, from the 6 planet theory to the number of petals on a flower.

Keyword: Strategy
In the same way that pattern is found in nature, it seems that strategy must also be placed. Even if two worlds were created and organized in a systematic way, they also must be cohesively placed so that one cannot run into the other’s path. It’s amazing how coordinated nature is in addition to it’s perfect patterns.

Discussion Question: Architecture deals primarily with what Stewart calls “Fractals? or “geometric shapes that repeat their structures on finer scales?. How can architecture also deal with “Chaos? or the “apparent randomness whose origins are entirely deterministic??

Discussion Question: Stewart says, “talking of ripples, the flow of fluids provides an inexhaustible supply of nature’s patterns. There are waves of many different kinds-“ and then he goes on to describe those. In Mr. Polomer on a beach, it was said, “?each wave is different from another wave, even if not immediately adjacent or successive; in other words, there are some forms and sequences that are repeated, though irregularly distributed in space and time?. Based on these two texts, what is the waves relationship to fractals and chaos?

Article #18
Physics, Astronomy and Mathematics
Timothy Ferris
Keyword: Loneliness
This was a keyword for me because the author had one of his focuses on the life of a mathematician. When he spoke of a mathematicians life, he spoke of it in a way that indirectly and directly pointed out this word. One indirect example is when he spoke of the mathematicians getting together. He said they had no specific things to talk about, but they instead went on to talk about a series of various things. He also directly spoke of it claiming that “the insanity and suicide levels among mathematicians are probably the highest in a professions? because they have no choice but to “turn inward?.

Keyword: Unchangeable
This also applied to the professors and mathematicians. He spoke of the inability for mathematicians to be able to function in any field besides being a professor or a serious mathematician. It’s almost like the laws of math and change are applied also to those who understand mathematics: It can only be added upon, but not changed.

Discussion Question: My immediate thought upon reading this article was how does this apply to us? How does the principle of being a mathematician and being limited in what they are able to do apply? How do their gifts and lack of recognition for them apply?

Discussion Question: What can we do to make a person with strong mathematical abilities be more of value? In the field of architecture? What do you think they need to be successful?

March 10, 2008

Discussion Question #15

Search for Form

Keyword 1: Art. This was the key component to this piece. Although he highlighted form as his central definition, it seemed as though his emphasis was placed upon creating artistic form and how that has been seen through history rather than form itself.

Keyword 2: Intention: This came to mind because it seemed as though the artist needed to have specific intensions in order to achieve what he considered art. If those intentions were spiritually driven, then “art? would be created. If, on the other hand, the “artist? had the intention to simply duplicate history, another piece or simply erect a structure without the use of creativity, then “art? would be divulged from its form.

Discussion Question: Saarinen states that, “form is something which is in man, which grows when man grows, and which declines when man declines.? What arguments can you make from examples in past history of prime examples of form that support or decline this argument.

Discussion Question: Saarinen also said, ?increasing sensitiveness to these mysteries (of nature) by means of intuition, instinct, and imagination, is the essential thing in the search for form.? What do you think he means by this? How do you think this can be accomplished?

Discussion Questions #11 & #14

The Web of Life

Keyword 1: Grounding. Capra really brought the feeling of pushing us to ground ourselves again and finding a way to resolve issues that may stand in our way of achieving our true deep ecology.
Keyword 2: Law. I like this word because it seems to me like he is almost trying to oppose the laws that most of us rely upon. Two examples are physics and changing our thoughts by changing morals.

Discussion Question: How does shallow ecology and deep ecology pertain to Crowe’s view of mobile versus immobile dwelling?

Discussion Question: How would integrating Capra’s Integrative thinking and values in our society benefit or hinder it?

Geometry and the Primacy of Dwelling

Keyword 1: Interaction- In one of the lectures we had, the professor spoke of two components that make up interaction with architecture: individual domain and the physical realm. This article seemed to pinpoint both of those properties.
Keyword 2: Construction- He also seemed to want to emphasize how the house was created. The nature of the material is what would determine the width and height of the walls, the shape of the roof would determine the rain drainage, etc.

Discussion Question: Crowe gave three examples of primitive houses: the tropical house, the Hogan house and the igloo. He told us about their environments and how they adapted to them. If we were to build a primitive house in Minnesota, what primary environmental characteristics would we need to keep in mind and how would we translate those into a primitive house?

Discussion Question: How does Laugier’s primitive hut represent his surroundings? How are his views similar or different from Crowe’s?

March 3, 2008

Article 12 & 13

Architecture as Space
Bruno Zevi

Keyword 1: Space. This article re-establishes the idea of space and what it means in architecture. He spoke of the dimensions and how they are typically interpreted when an architect shows his building to the client. He then goes on to tell how architecture should also be interpreted.

Keyword 2: Composition. I interpreted balance from the article in the following way: When art is applied to architecture, it no longer is a building composed of an exterior and interior with a floor, ceiling, and four walls, it then becomes a three-dimensional painting where the viewer can see the dimensions change with the elapse of time. If correct composition is not employed, the viewer cannot follow the natural transitions in the project and a (what looks like) perfectly established two-dimensional plan and drawing will then be ruined.

Discussion Question: Zevi says that "whenever a complete experience of space is to be realized, we must be included, we must feel ourselves part and measure of the architural organism." If this is the case, what is the best way for our clients to understand the space of their unbuilt project?

Discussion Question: Zevi claims that space is the "protagonist of architecture." What does he mean by this?

Nature and the Idea of a Man-Made World
Norman Crowe

Keyword 1: Environment: This is what the article seemed to be primarily about. It aimed to interpret how architecture includes the natural environment around it.

Keyword 2: Contrast. This word came to mind because the architecture he was talking about that created a proper balance with it had a certain amount of contrast. As with photography, too much or too little contrast creates an improper balance in the picture and this is what Crowe seems to emphasize also. Living in the environment only, such as the jungle people, creates problems. Living with the environment overtaken also creates the same. It is a matter of including and contrasting both.

Discussion Question: Crowe discusses the primative people and says they "live closer to the natural world and are beter than we are at seeing their presence as integral with nature." He goes on to say that "we are envious of the respect they hold for the natural world." What would our environment be like if we lived primatively again? How does the order we make with our architecture help or inhibit us in this way?

Discussion Question: Crowe talks about the differences between the Villa Savoye and Fallingwater. He says that both illuminated the "ideals but also the ambiguities that are inherent in the conscious determination of "a correct balance" of human intervention in relation to nature". If a client were to ask for a home that had nature included in it, how would you clarify what they wanted?

February 25, 2008

Article 9 & 10

Article 9: The Image
Keyword 1:Sensation
Sensation was the first word that came to my mind because the five senses make up our immediate experiences, or our immediate "knowledge" as he would call it.

Keyword 2: Expansion
Expansion was the second word then because he takes this simple immediate perception and broadens it to how we view the world at large, our "values" and the "facts". These two then draw or paint a global image and all its details, flaws, and missing components.

Discussion Question: Boulding speaks of a knowledge structure that is created through a variety of images that create our distinct viewpoint of what is around us. He also spoke of new images that either collaborate with this viewpoint or oppose it creating resistance. What is to be said about those that are open-minded or close-minded then? How does biology play a role in our image perception?

Discussion Question: Boulding also said, "The problem is made still more complicated by the fact that a group of individuals does not merely share messages which come to them from "nature." They also initiate and receive messages themselves." How does this or doesn't this fit into his concept of image?

Article 10: Mr. Palomar
Keyword 1: Changing
Taking from the understanding also of the previous article, the word changing came to mind because it was not simply about seeing how the environment is at a single moment, but how it also changes as a person observes what's around him or her.

Keyword 2: Interaction
Interaction came to my mind in this article primarily because of the interaction described with the environment, but also because of the interaction he had with the woman on the beach. As he was observing the waves, I thought about what could potentially make a perfect wave and realized that that would entail the perfect wind, the perfect water, the perfect solace under the surface, all of which was impossible. It was the interaction of the environment that created those waves, so none could ultimately be perfect. He described the interaction with the woman. "The dead weight of an intolerant tradition prevents anyone's properly understanding the most enlightened intentions."

Discussion Question: When grazing over the womans breast, Palomar thinks, "but couldn't this grazing of his eyes finally be taken for an attitude of superiority, an underestimation of what a breast is and means, as if putting it aside, on the margin, or in parentheses." Palomar had obviously established value to her breasts, but what other objects did he establish value with or did he?

Discussion Question: Boulding says that a certain image is formed, experiences arise which either challenge or reinforce that image and this is how we create or reinforce a new one. Does the article that Calvino wrote support or oppose that theory? Why?

February 11, 2008

Discussion Questions #2

I am still not understanding what's expected of the required discussion questions. I have read five articles this week, but are two words per summary required and how many questions are required? For this week, since I don't totally understand, I'll do two words per article and then three questions and then I'll get a better grip on it next week....

Winhall: Representational, powerful
Fisher: all-encompasing design, practical
Fisher: time-restraints, pressure
Anderson: necessity?, education
Chochinov: Goal-oriented, helpful

What qualifies as a "good" education? How much is a person willing to pay and how much is an employer looking for?

What does a person think an architects priorities should be? How should his time be allotted and how is it typically allotted now?

What roles should the architect take on and what should he be able to pass onto others? Budgeting? Finding contractors? Finding property for the client? Searching for material, etc? How would this change in the case of specified architecture? Green architecture? Smaller buildings/larger buildings? Time frame change also if client desired?