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.

1 comment:

  1. nice connections across the weeks. think about how you might weave evidence of the readings in there, too.