Monday, February 28, 2011

Reading Response 7: Rajarajeshwara Temple

Happy Space and Place (Blog Post 7)

When thinking about happy places and spaces, I think one has to think about what brings one enjoyment in the living area that they are in. Here at UNCG, my group and myself went to the EUC to look for both a happy place, and a happy space.

For the happy place we chose the interactive wall in the EUC where you can play with the "beads of sand". We collectively thought that this area allowed us to truly experience a level of happiness. The piece has aesthetic appeal for it looks like a piece of moving art on the wall, but after exploring it further you realize that it is an interactive piece. Standing in front of it, I had an almost child like enjoyment playing with and manipulating the way that the "sand beads" would fall. I cannot say to much more then the fact that while I was there, I truly felt happy.

For our happy space we chose the Starbucks at the EUC. Starbucks is a company I know all so well., considering I have been an employee at one for almost three years now. The walls have brightly colored pictures of famous and classic novel covers which add a great deal of color and culture to the area. Plenty of people choose to sit in this area for hours on end just enjoying their coffee and working on school work. It is also set up to be a very functional area to get specific needs completed. I think that adds to the happiness appeal to an area, both aesthetically pleasing, and it has a functionality to it.

Happiness isn't always the same for everyone. For the most part, I feel like these two areas both have appeal that most could see. They are both visually pleasing, while they allow us to have a great functionally and interaction with them.

All photos made possible with the help of Randi Tollner

Monday, February 21, 2011

Cathedrals (Blog Post Six)

Cathedrals in the "dark ages" where seen as beacons of hope for people. The strong stone structures gave people a place to believe in the powers of god, in a sturdy structure that they felt was strong and safe.

When they were built in towns they were by far the largest structures around. When most homes and businesses around were two and three floors high, and made out of wood. The Cathedrals were 8 to 12 floors high at their highest peaks, and made from stone, and had huge stained glass windows. They were easy to spot to say the least.

 The Salisbury Cathedral in England, here you can clearly see how it was the largest and most seen structure in all the surrounding area.

Most if  not all of these cathedrals had large glass windows high up which allowed "god's light" to shine in. This was not only symbolic, but also aesthetics to these spaces.

Light and god, have been together since the creation of men. When the sun shines through these alter spaces in these huge stone structures it would light the space immensely. It was easy for one to feel safe in the eye of the creator in this massive "temple" built in his honor, a much needed place in such hard time as the "dark ages" of Europe.

Here is the Cologne Cathedral in Germany. The high lights allow the space to lighten greatly and has a very heavenly affect to the space. Since the structures were sow tall, the large, high windows allow for a lot of light to enter the space because there is nothing to block it.

This cathedrals massive size allowed them to be the symbol of the town. Each one had to be unique and be even bigger and better then the next town. It was important for these structures the be massive, they were more or less the hearts of the towns. Their location within the city clearly can show that. The diagram from the middle ages  shows the highest buildings in the city, with crucifix tops. Looks like cathedrals to me.

In such dark times, it was important for people of faith to have a safe haven to worship god, and these massive stone cathedrals allowed for that to happen. Few made it through the test of time, but the ones still standing, one can easily see how. With such detailed work, and such a strong building, it does seem as if god's very hand built the structure. They were the largest places in towns, and served as the cities heart and connection to the higher power. They were symbols of hope, and of salvation. These cathedrals power was everything over the towns that they were in.

Reading Response 6: Pisa Catherdral

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Design Manifesto of Cory Odell

manifesto... to publicly delcare policy or aims... that is how webster dictionary defines the word.

I feel to claim a design manifesto is to declare your policy on how you would design. i want to design from the heart. i see what i make as pieces of art, and i think we all should strive to have pieces in our house that we see as art.

i agree with a statement in one of the readings that said as designers "our job is to give the client... not what he wants, but what he never dreamed he wanted, and when he gets it, he recognizes it as something he wanted all the time."

i feel that the pieces we have in many homes now are cheap, disposable, and over all we don't like them, they don't inspire us, they are just cheap and serve for now... but not forever. we let ourselves get use to the idea that when it breaks, through it out... but it could have been sturdy, and nice, and could have lasted decades.

i hate this idea of our living pieces, not having a "heart" for lack of better terms.

i want to design with the idea of creating a piece to be lasting, like any painting on the wall from a painter.

not to say it should be total art, it should be able to function with one's everyday life.

design is a gift that humans were given, and to let it fall to the wayside with cheap made items, that we want to mass produce, for items that are unique and special, is a crime to who we are... we let the talent fall for the $.

i want to design with my soul and spirit in full.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Unit Summary One

When the semester started and we began our studies into the history of design, we picked the very best place to start our journey... the very beginning of humans and the buildings they constructed. One of the first main ideas we began to see is how early cultures were very consumed with the ideas of circles, stacks, and columns.

The entire ideas of this section were about the foundations of architecture, and how early people and civilizations first started to build, and the ideas that they wanted to convey to the world through the buildings and structures that they created. Many of these structures that they built, no matter where they were in the ancient world, had very similar ideals and concepts in the structures. Almost all of what we saw and talked about in the ancient world had connections to circles, stacks, and columns.

 The first is Stonehenge in England. There has been tons of questions and mysterious on what exactly this building was all about. It is a circular structure, that is perfectly set up to correlate with the movement of the sun throughout the year. This shows us that the ideas of the sun and the moon, and their movement and involvement with these people, was something that was important to their lives.

In ancient Egypt, huge stacked up structures were made, better know as pyramids. These were tombs for their passed on kings and queens. The way that these structures were built put a lot of focus on five distinct points in our world by representing north, south, east, west, and up into the skies. This also makes us see how their religion, which placed focused on higher gods, and the connection between the tomb and how it connected it with the afterlife that meant so much to them in their society. It literally is a standing representation of society and plays on the concepts and ideas of hierarchy through the way that the structure is built up. The slaves stand as the bottom all the way up through the priests and pharaohs, up to the top point which stands for the gods and their realm.

The ancient Greeks built many structures, and most had emphasis on these ideas of columns, or groves. Groves seem to resemble trees, or a grouping of things. It isn't a coincidence that they put many of these columns in front of gathering spaces for people such as temples or public gathering spaces. One of the best examples that I can think of that represents this, and we also spent quite some time talking about this in our unit is the Parthenon in Athens, Greece. It was very important to the Greek society and everyone in the Greek world would come to this place to worship the goddess Athena.

Next we began to study our very own UNCG campus and how many of these building concepts can still be found today in modern structures. We looked at many buildings and the ideals of how they now use circles, stacks, and columns. I came to realize many of the ideals that we hold today to these design ideas, are still very similar to how the ancient world used these same structures. We also discussed the ideas of firmness, commodity, and delight, and how they applied to the buildings here at UNCG.

Through our campus tours we saw so many examples of these around UNCG. It is like living and breathing architectural history on this campus. A living, breathing, and functional museum if you will.

Finally, we reached a point in the ancient world where we saw people had finally began to travel and follow trade routes throughout the world, like the Silk Road. Through this process, not only were goods traded to far off places, but so were ideals, and even architectural concepts. People began to see that no matter what the culture, we all have similar things in the buildings that we create.

By the end of the unit, we have seen how humans began to think about the world that they live in. We then we saw how they used this to construct buildings in their own cultures, and then people started to expand and travel, and people began to give each other ideas that they later applied to their own cultures.

This brings us up into what we now know as the common era, and many of the previous concepts we have seen in architecture will continue on, and even see how later cultures and civilizations expanded on these ideas, and even in ways, made them their very own.

A Story of a Dinner Party

Tonight they come, and they are coming to dine. My space will host a window to the world, and everyone attending is involved, even if they are far away.
I have 8 friends coming, all bringing a seat of personal choice to dine in, and a plate from their own dinning room collections. I want these pieces to speak to them personally and feel that these two pieces reflect some part of themselves.
Three of my guests, I have never even met. They will be involved with their own lives, at their own homes, but will be connected with my group all the same through computer-connected screens via satellites. My home will be open to them, just as if they were standing in my living room. They can speak, to us, and can hear our conversations.
The idea of my dinner is in the style of true potluck. I have asked my guest to bring dishes commonly given by the U.N, to starving nations. Rice, beans, water, flour tortillas, lentils, and chickpeas, fish, chicken.
The guests arrive and we begin talking, and drinking cocktails in the sitting area that no sitting furniture, everyone uses the chairs they brought for themselves. The screens have been turned on and our remote company has logged into the party. They are from all over the globe.
We all enter the kitchen to help prepare the meal. We all combine our brought foods, and help one another prep the food and help cook. The computer screens in the kitchen help us see ho our global friends cook their meals.
After the meal has been cooked we line up the food on the sideboard in the dinning room. Everyone puts their plate on the table and pull up their dinning chairs from the living room.
The centerpiece of the table has flowers and bright red colored vase, the lighting is warm, and an accent wall of Zebrawood can be seen across from the sideboard. Three chairs already sit at the circular table. The can be turned on, and now we can see our three remote guests, just as if they were at the table with us, and they have prepared their meal as well, and are ready to dine.
We sit and chat, though two of our remote members have limited English-speaking skills, they are included all the same. The meal, all though simple, was filling, and we all feel we have a better understanding of the meals given to the people of the world who need humanitarian help.
The night ends, we say goodbye to our global pals, and my guest slowly start to pack up their plates and chairs.
I feel a sense that I truly connected with the planet tonight in a personal, global, and understanding way.  I silently head off to bed, knowing that the world in some way, just got a little closer and connected, by both technology and social interactions paired with the age old tool of dinning and connecting over a meal.

Table design by Diane Von Furstenberg

Monday, February 14, 2011

Reading Response Five: Songyue Pagoda

Not only its artistic structure is at a very high level, but also its construction techniques are quite accurate. Therefore, the Pagoda of Songyue Temple has an important position in the history of Chinese ancient architecture.

all photos and beginning quote provided by

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Color Week

Poetry (Blog Post Five)

a rhythmic scale flowing up and down like the sun's rise and fall
waves cannot challenge a tempo of these sorts, for waves fall and break
sails try to mimic, but the style isn't quite their speed

up and down my eyes follow the ridges, a man-made mountain raising up into gods sky, but his hand didn't do so much for this creation

his order has been thrown. no longer is his unity in effect.

this is nothing short of visual opera, with highs and lows
with tones that give the skin chills

no beat or lyrics can be heard
but emotion pours out into my soul
and the very echos of the stone call to me to say
music is my legacy, and my existance is part of the worlds harmony.

and just like a clap of thunder, silence falls back into place
and i am left appulading all alone
within my head, and within my heart.

photo of a building in Kansas City, MO
photo credited to Scott Beck

Friday, February 11, 2011

Babette's Feast

I found the movie Babette's Feast to be a very insightful and inspiring film. It was about the bringing people together over a meal to connect, and celebrate in ways that perhaps they had never experienced before.

You could tell that many of the elders who sat down to this meal had never had an eating experience like this before at all, while to the French company, this was as common as any other meal.

Food has always been a tool used to bring people together and teach one another about our own cultures. A lot is told about ourselves through our food. It is a collection of our cultural experience.

Religion was another barrier that had to be jumped over this meal. Many of the older people of the village felt that to drink wine was to indulge in anti-religious ideals, while the French find drinking wine harmless and quite a necessity when it comes to great dinning.

I feel the climate and the location of where they lived caused them to have many different ideas on how to eat a meal and how the entire ordeal should run. They had little light of day, which I think caused much to be done in those few hours, and to dine for lengthy periods like that were just not possible, but the human contact and interaction that is needed to stay a happy and an interlocked community was neglected. This meal I think for a brief moment allowed these people to connect.

I liked the idea of the film, that something so simple like food, could bring people together and give them an experience never had before, and even bring people of a community closer together.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

EUC: Sacred Circle within the Hustle (Blog Post Four)

Standing under the high circle ceiling just inside the EUC one feels a sense of power and prestige. Thin slits of light creeping in against the wall and the floor. All round is the hustle of campus life, people going to class, getting a bite to eat, shopping at the campus store, or grabbing a quick coffee or sitting down to do homework.

It is the heart of the campus.

The area provides a very wide entrance into the building. There is a lot of traffic coming in and out of these doors, so a very wide room allows many people to come and go easier.

The roundness of the room allows also quick and easy access to both the campus book store, and the restaurants.

The light wood panels and the marble mural on the flower allows it to be a very warm inviting area that feels welcoming and inviting human usage.

One of the first things I notice when entering this area that you have both coming and going traffic and people who choose to stand and chat for a moment or two with friends either after a meal or before going on there separate ways heading to classes.

The ceiling top allows for light to reflect very well from both the sun and lighting that gives off a very soft and warm glow.

Since there are stores, eating establishments, and the connector to the library ahead, this dramatic entrance allows for the idea of it marking and important area for many campus life things are just beyond this room.

The EUC is an important building to the college life at UNCG. That is why I believe the circular entrance room is very fitting for the spot it has been placed on the UNCG campus. It allows for mass traveling of people, with a warm and welcoming area for also meeting and conversing. It fits with the functions and purpose of the EUC building.