The Modern. Inspirations from art + good design for all.
Art Nouveau Dominance of Line + Tassel House, Brussels
Art Deco Streamline Architecture + Speed & Motion + New York Chrysler Building
New Kind of Design on the Horizon + Cincinnati Union Terminal
Good Design for All + Frank Lloyd Wright
Charles & Ray Eames
The In-Between. Humanity at the center, how the individual relates to the world and society. Religion + Technology + Ideas through drawings + Class Structures + Power + Borrowing
Testing Boundaries = Breaking Rules +
Reoriented City, St. Peter’s Boulevard +
French= Palaces, Versailles, controlling garden spaces
The Ancient. Marking Boundaries and vertical movement towards the heavens.
-Sacred Circles: Stonehenge
-Settlements: “Marking Boundaries & Movements towards the heavens”
-Egypt: Time & passage, Life after Death, Explore Male and Female through built spaces, Prototype for all following architecture; “Ideal, Strong sense of orientation with the Nile. Hypostyle Hall, Place order within their society and cosmos. Male and Female, pyramids=helioapolis, Mastaba prototype=burial, pyramid, Columns and walls, Circulation=How we experience those spaces
-Greece: Seeking Ideal Building Form, Archetype, prototype, hybrid=real and ideal
-Rome: Revival & Melting Pot, Public ritual of bathing, gathering place=colleseum, arches and columns as storytelling elements. Pantheon
As we experience environments, both the built and natural environment, we must ask ourselves how these elements affect our human behavior. How might they represent a culture and create a deeper meaning to sense of sustainability?
At the University of Kentucky, we are prideful of the exploration students and faculty have taken upon themselves to conduct tremendous amounts of research and prototyping to create such installations as the Solar House. As humans we have the ability to alter the landscape both positively and negatively. The Solar House is a perfect example of a positive impact on a local level that has global repercussions. Each architectural element and material was diligently selected to create this totally sustainable structure. It represents not only forward thinking, but an ode to the past as it reaches back to nature and the unique connection to the local environment. The Solar House looks to the future in technology and furthers pushes the opportunities for sustainability on a local and global scale.
As we experience our environment, people are able to identify with sense of place. Being able to explore sense of place through design has lead to some interesting findings about how humans interact with space and how place relates to each individual. One large take away from the article “What is Sense of Place” written by Jennifer Cross, is the idea that people will either identify positively or negatively with a place. Some individuals may have an extremely positive experience with the community park while other may have a negative experience that continues to haunt them. These positive and negative thoughts carry through with each person and help them identify with place in the future. Sometimes individuals will interact with the environment to change or enhance their sense of place as they see fit. It is important for designers to be aware of human behaviors such as this. It can influence current design issues and design in the future. It is imperative as designers to think about all the end users of a space and how their experiences may differ between each individual. Our sense of place is made up of a combination of physical and social features. Essentially, we make up our own sense of place. The image below depicts a pathway through the Arboretum here in Lexington, KY. This images exemplifies users experiencing place and having both physical and social reactions. They were able to alter the environment, create pathways, that would enhance the experience of all users as they experience this place, creating deeper attachments to the community.
As we experience space, often times the environments that are the most memorable are the environments with strong branding strategies. Successful brands are able to implement their concept in almost every aspect of their company. Brands such as REI are known for their unique identity, as their branding concepts are carried through their products, store designs, and business practices. For those not familiar, Recreational Equipment, Inc, commonly known as REI is a retail and outdoor recreation services corporation. They sell anything from camping gear, sporting goods, to travel equipment and clothing. The REI brand is unique in the sense that they are able to stay true to their concept values. Truly unique is their ability to let their branding identity shine through as their clients experience their stores. With the use of elements and principles, the store designers consider the exterior as well as the interior experience. By bringing elements of texture, raw materials including woods, stone, and metal, users are able to gain immediate connection to the outdoors and natural environment.
Branding can also be experienced through the principles of scale and proportion. The image below is an interior view of an REI location in Denver, CO. As you can see, there is emphasis upon a large climbing rock wall. Similar to outdoor travels, visitors can experience what it would be like to explore enormous rock formations and experience that relationship of human scale compared to the big open wilderness.
Anthropometry is the scientific study of the measurements and proportions of the human body. These measurements greatly influence architecture and design. With this vital information, the evolution of comfort status and craft is able to create innovative and dynamic designs. Anthropometrics also brings life to universal design. Universal design is the design for all, which encompasses ADA and beyond. The study of the proportions of the human body help better inform how designs can enhance comfort, functionality and accessibility.
Charles & Ray Eames have been on the forefront of innovative designs and the study of how the human body interacts with architecture and design. The classic Lounge Chair designed by Eames, addresses comfort, anthropometrics and ergonomics. The base is sleek and minimal to not hinder the functionality of the chair. Most commonly known for their manipulation of wood, the molded plywood is prominent in the Lounge Chair as it curves and forms to the human body. The seat base rests at the perfect seating position and allows users to recline to an appropriate angle to ensure the upmost comfort. The arms of the chair allow for users to rest their arms at the natural height while reclining. Likewise the head rest is at the perfect height for users to rest their head with ease. The ottoman also considers anthropometrics as it is slightly lower than the seat base to ensure comfort while users are propping up their feet.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs has various levels of needs that when you obtain each level you are then able to reach self-actualization. The first Level of need consists of Physiological needs such as food and water. The image on the left of various fruits, is a source of survival. A basic human need for all. Not until the second level of needs does Maslow introduce as Safety. The image on the right shows a thatched roof hut, vital for shelter and safety. At the basic level, there is no need of lavish furnishings and finishes. The hut shelter creates privacy, warmth and comfort from the harsh elements of nature. Materials such as straw and hardened earth or mud are used to construct the walls and roof structure. The large opening allows light and fresh air to enter the space. The finishes and furnishings inside would probably be consistent of the materials used on the exterior. The fruit and the hut, demonstrate Maslow’s first 2 levels of Needs, Physiological and Safety.
Stewart Brand poses the question, “What happens to buildings after they’re built, when users modify the space and use it how they see fit?” Some Buildings flow with time, they flow with us and some buildings do not. Many times, architects focus on the exterior aesthetic and appearance and there isn’t much priority on how the buildings will work, develop, or grow. Change is inevitable. If buildings are difficult to change, and adapt they soon will become obsolete and inhabitable.
Materials such as glass often hinder the life of the building in some cases. With the more modern approach to office buildings and skyscrapers, it is popular to utilize glass as the main facade material. Without research of the user and environment, these buildings are notorious for uncontrollable heat gain and loss, glare, foggy visibility, and even glass panels shattering. With the push to build and construct these popular types of buildings, these failures could have been avoided if there was more research of time and user.
Some architects pride themselves on their buildings not being functional, viewing them as art pieces. This mindset makes it extremely difficult as time goes on to keep up with repairs and maintenance. The cost of these services skyrockets and further creates a burden for the users.
Evolutionary design is more appropriate than visionary design. We need to Design for time.