Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Between Silence & Light

I did not go on the trip to Monticello and Falling Water, however, in discussion with the class, it was noted that the craft of the two buildings was great.  I recall someone talking about how the original door hinges were still in place and working just fine on at least one set of doors in Monticello.  Craft was also very important in our last project.  In this project, we had to use ¼” MDF.  We had to be able to cut our design out of this material and put it together while maintaining a level of craft.  Mine I feel was lacking in craft.  Some pieces were too short, the cuts were not all even, and there were glue spots from where I had had problems getting the artifact to stay together.  Craft is important in every design, whether it is only made to last a couple days or hundreds of years.  

Over the semester, we have learned many different ways or techniques of doing things.  In drawing, we learned how to use watercolors, markers, colored pencil, and other types of media.  We are now learning techniques for using MDF such as how to hold it together and what to cut it with.  In my precedent analysis project, I have found that I.M. Pei had to use new techniques in construction and innovation to get the Bank of China Tower to stand and be able to withstand typhoon winds.  

Public and private can be defined through many different means.  At Falling Water (I believe), there was the long, narrow, darker hallway that led to one of the bedrooms.  Public would be more along the lines of the living room/family room, kitchen, and dinning room.  The bedrooms and bathrooms are more private.  In my house, this is separated by the stairs.  Downstairs is all public space, while the upstairs is private. 

I felt that there was a lot this week that I could have related better to the field trip had I gone.  There seemed to be a good deal that related back to the detail or the structure of one or both buildings.  Monticello and Falling Water, both, have something that can be talked about for every word, but I also found myself thinking back to my own home and comparing it to these to buildings.  Craft, public and private, and technique have all changed over the many years.  My house would not be able to last quite as long as these two.  Looking at Monticello and Falling Water and hearing the discussions in class, have really shown how things have changed in the way of architecture, both private and commercial (public). 

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

PA Essay

Bank of China Tower, Hong Kong

            Construction of the Bank Of China Tower in Hong Kong was begun on April 18, 1985.  It was not until May 17, 1990 that the official opening ceremony was held.  The building’s shape was achieved by “grouping four triangular glass and aluminum towers of varying heights to form the shape of a granite podium” (Bank of China Tower).   The shape of the tower was actually modeled after the structure of bamboo, making it symbolic of strength, vitality, and growth (Bank of China).

            At 369 meters tall (1,210.63 feet), the BOC tower was the tallest building in Hong Kong and Asia until 1992.  It rises a total of 70 stories and was the first building outside of the United States to break 1,000 feet.  It is now the fifth tallest building in the world by height.  The tower goes from a square base and changes with use of large triangular pieces (Bank Of China).  The architect, I.M. Pei is responsible for creating other buildings such as the East building of Washington’s National Gallery of Art, Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the John F. Kennedy Library, and the expansion and modernization of the Louvre Museum. “It is said that I.M Pei designed the Bank of China Tower to ‘represent the aspirations of the Chinese people yet also symbolize good will toward the British Colony’” (Bank Of China Tower).  The tower used triangular bracing and step-backs to adapt the building to the high winds caused by Hong Kong typhoons. 

            This building has an atrium that stretches 14 stories.  Visitors can take an elevator up to the 42nd floor to see the view off of the skydeck.  This deck can actually be entered without admission, making it a great spot for tourists.  The building adds parking in its four basement floors.  This is due to the lack of space for parking in the city of Hong Kong.   This building could be compared to a gem, because of the way it shines when the sun hits the four prism-shaped shafts of the tower (Introduction). 

            One thing that I.M. Pei had to grapple with in designing the building was the idea of feng shui.  Feng shui means ‘wind and water.’  In Hong Kong, one cannot get away from the idea, because it is a form used in most, if not all, of the city’s buildings.  He had to look at the placement of the building on the site and it’s shape.  When the idea for this building was first presented, it was looked down upon because many felt that the sharp corners of the structure would bring bad luck to its neighbors.  The next challenge was the size of the site.  It was extremely small, but did not have any height restrictions because it was out of the airport’s flight path.  The final challenge Pei had to consider was making the tower structurally sound.  He, however, managed to overcome these challenges in the design and create on of the most popular and amazing buildings of its time (I.M. Pei).


"Bank of China ." Cityscape. Cityscape. 7 Apr 2009.   

"Bank of China Tower." A View on Cities. 2009. 7 Apr 2009.   

"I. M. Pei / Bank of China, Hong Kong." Designboom. 2000-2008. Designboom. 7 Apr 2009. 

"Introduction." Bank of China. 2009. Bank of China. 7 Apr 2009.   

Tuesday, March 31, 2009


During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, there was much exploration going on.  From exploring new lands, to trade, to the industrial Revolution, there was much movement in the literal way, but also in the way of design.  “By the mid-nineteenth century, Britain led the world in terms of trade and enjoyed great prosperity” (Massey 7).  Also during this time, people began to build with glass and steel.  Some amazing buildings, such as the Crystal palace, were created during this time.  

In design, we tend to look back, or reflect, on the ideas and styles of the past.  If you look around at some of the buildings in American, our capitol for example, go back to the style of the ancient Greeks.  Then there was the Gothic Revival. “The Victorian Gothic Revival was mainly inspired by Pugin and his interiors for the new Houses of Parliament building designed by Sir Charles Barry.  The style continued in use into the twentieth century, feeding into the Arts and Crafts Movement” (Massey 9). 

Not only does source go back to where an idea originates, but since we have been studying perspectives, I have found that source can also refer to the vanishing point, the source of the drawing, where everything seems as if it could have been pulled from that point.  I feel that is the effect, because every line that is not horizontal or vertical goes to this point, which makes it seem like they came from this point.    

Rotation, I believe, would have to do with the rotation of ideas from country to country.  This is why we can find the same style in different places all around the globe.  As people explored, they took their ideas and styles with them.  When the British began colonizing the Americas, they brought with them the style of architecture at the time. 

Illuminate: In Studio, we have been working with light and shadow.  We had to create something using ¼” MDF.  It had to show the relationship between light and shadow in a creative way.  I started out with a box that had little “windows” in the sides.  From there, I added six slats into the box with the same design as the outer panels.  I then went from six slats to four.  Finally, I ended up with something that looks kind of like a bookshelf, but it still uses the same pattern as the original pieces.   When put in the light, it causes the shadows to crisscross and form a checkerboard pattern. 

Monday, March 23, 2009


[re]visions:  Revision is going back and looking at the work one has done and changing it and manipulating it to make it better.  With architecture, this could mean making something of a different scale or style or simply changing a design for structural purposes. 

audience:  In design, the building or space needs to fulfill the characteristic of delight.  This means that it needs to appeal to its audience.  For example, if you were to design a space meant for children, it would need to appeal to them.  This could involve things to climb and play on and bright, fun colors.  Another example would be Versailles.  It was designed to please the King of France and to show that he had the most money and the most fabulous house.  It was to be large and elegant to show his power and his royal status.

Character:  Every piece of architecture has it’s own character.  Patrick was talking about how, in France, all the houses in parts of France were connected together and all shared the same basic fa├žade.  This was character of the whole complex, but not of each individual house.  With houses today, we see a similar case.  Many houses, especially in developments, tend to look basically the same as all the others.  However, on the insides, each home has it’s own character.  

Transition:  Throughout time, architecture has been through many transitions.  From the early civilizations to modern day, architecture has been revised and changed.  Transition is also very important when creating a presentation because you need to be able to move form one thing to another.  The project need to be understandable to those who look at it so that the information can be put across in a neat and readable fashion.

Datum:  In our last project for drawing, we had to set up project boards.  My group chose to run two datum lines through our boards.  We had a larger red datum line running on the top that went from a solid line to the brick layout of the floor.  On this was the title of our building and our names.  Under the diagrams, was the other, smaller datum line.  On this one, we wrote our statement about our building.  The datum lines were used to establish order and boarders within our project

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

P Week

Periphery refers to the edge of something, such as the edge of a building.  I would associate this word to the walls of a space.  In Drafting, this could refer to the boundary created around the edge of the paper.  

A portfolio is very useful in showing a person's work.  It is used to keep the artwork or other things together and in a place where the person can go back later if they need a work.  For Drafting, we keep all of our assignments in our portfolio.  A portfolio, however, does not have to be paper copies of everything, it can also be found online.  Our blogs are like online portfolios.  They are a place for us to keep our work and be able to talk about it and let others look at it.
Every good project starts with a beginning model or drawing, but through a Process, it is developed and made better.  It is always important to be able to show your process, show how your ideas have changed through trial and error or the thoughts of others.  A person's portfolio is a good way to keep track of a project's process.  One example is the process each group had for the pathways project.  We began with drawings, throw up sheets, and ideas.  We took those and made many more drawings and models.  Through the ideas of our fellow students and the teachers, we created our final ideas and began casting.  We had many critiques and will be installing the final pieces soon.

We have been working with perspective since last semester.  We looked at one point, two point, and three point perspectives.  In Drawing this semester, we did perspective drawings for our group project, where each group had a building.  My group ended up choosing two perspective drawings per person for the final presentation boards.  Now we have begun again with perspective drawings in Stoel's drafting class.  

For the project for drawing, with the buildings, we were to create final presentation boards.  These boards were to present the information about our group's building in a functional and professional manner.  It is important to be professional when presenting your design and your ideas, because you want the client to choose you and your design over all the other choices.   

Monday, March 16, 2009

Name:  Bank of China Tower
Where: Hong Kong, China
Architect: I.M. Pei
Built: began on April 18, 1985

I found this building interesting, and for it's time, it was a true innovation in architecture.  For a few years, it was actually the tallest building in China.  

Saturday, March 14, 2009

these photos were from the DATS symposium in High Point, North Carolina.