Thursday, March 31, 2011

RR 11


Friday, March 25, 2011

RR 10

The Taj Mahal.

One of the more iconic images representative of Indian culture.
    Shah Jahan was an emperor of the Mughal empire during the golden age of Mughal architecture.  He had inherited a prosperous empire and in an age of peace, Jahan was free to indulge in the cultural arts: poetry, literature, art, not to mention architecture.  After the death of his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal, he began the construction of the Taj Mahal.  Starting in the year 1632, it took a solid 21 years to complete.  

     The base of the Taj Mahal is octagonal in shape with chamfered corners and vaulted arches lining each of these sides.  The idea was to have the vaulted arches imitate the chamfered corners.  From here, it is only natural that the dome should be addressed.  It the most unique feature of the structure.  Given its shape, this style of dome is often referred to as the onion dome.  It is decorated with a lotus design to accentuate the narrowing towards the very tip.  The centrality of the dome is further emphasized by the four smaller domes placed in the formation of a square to the immediate sides of the larger one. 

The domes of the Taj Mahal.

      The Taj Mahal also features four minarets, each towering at more than 40 meters tall.  These show the designer's need for congruence and symmetry.  However, more than aesthetics, the minarets have a practical use.  They are a traditional aspect of Islamic architecture and are used to call Muslims to prayer. 

One of the four minarets, depicting the perimeter around the structure.

Monday, March 21, 2011


The U.S. Capitol

Plan from which Capitol's foundations were laid.
      Beginning in 1793, the construction of the U.S. Capitol was overseen by architects William Thornton, Henry Latrobe, and Charles Bulfinch.  Despite its obvious connections to Roman and Greek architecture, as well as universal geometry, it was difficult to accomplish since there is no concrete predecessor for its design.  

Here, we are able to look into the past and see the US Capitol under construction. Pretty cool shot.

     Modeled after the Pantheon, the entrance is reminiscent of a columned temple-front.  From this central area, there are two symmetrical wings which extend far out to the sides.  Inside, however, there is no attempt to continue this duality; an idea going against neoclassicism of the time.  Not too long after the wings were completed, the War of 1812 began and the British partially destroyed the building.  Shortly after, reconstruction began and the structure was topped with a Pantheon-style dome, which is noted as being far too large for the actual structure.  However, this building is clearly one of importance and, naturally, does need to be immediately recognizable.

     From a modern perspective, it seems that our U.S. Capitol is tethered to outdated ideals when considering its Greco-Roman architecture.  While this is true that it will always be as a link to the past, that should not suggest that we are opposed to change and modernization.  According to Architect of the Capitol (AOC) website, sustainability, a fairly new idea, is being taken seriously.  The AOC boasts improved energy, water efficiency, earth-friendly materials, as well as recycling and renewability.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

dining togetha day - finale.

My initial thought when I first started thinking about this project was light.  With this dining space, I wanted to make sure that throughout the day, there would always be a sufficient light source.  On the east wall, I put large window that wraps around onto the south wall.  This would serve to emphasize the softness of the light early on by not allowing direct beams of sunlight into any of the patrons' eye level.  Later on, however, the sun would pass by the west wall, which features two similar wrap-around windows, but rather than trans-versing the walls, they go up through the ceiling.

Through building the model, I quickly realized that light distribution was a secondary concern; I wanted to come up with something that would truly make my dining space unique.  In the end, my inspiration became the idea of a treehouse.  It's essentially a lofted space that holds focus and interest because, of its elevated position.  

I worked up from the base.  I chose a simple box form initially, but that was a bit too mundane for my taste.  The final version features an indentation that is reminiscent of the double wrap-around windows sitting above it.  That was just the continuity I needed to have my base fit in perfectly with my space. 

The stairs and furniture were the last things I added to the space.  As for furniture, i didn't want anything too extravagant that would take focus away from the orientation of windows, because, really, that's what I'd like people to focus on.  I settled for simple glass tables for both my dining and side tables. 

Monday, March 14, 2011


The Spanish Hacienda

     Starting in 1529, the hacienda system became all too common in many regions of present-day Mexico.