Tuesday, August 31, 2010

IAR 222: Reading Comprehension 1

1) Frank Lloyd Wright's Falling Water possesses commodity, firmness, and delight. Firstly, it is a useful structure because it has all the elements of a shelter and a comfortable living space. Secondly, despite some complications over the years, Falling Water has proven to be remarkably structurally firm given its location: over a waterfall. Stone, concrete, and reinforced steel are some of its construction materials. Thirdly, Falling Water is aesthetically delightful. Its location is integral to the structure and offers lovely views, fresh air, and the peaceful sound of a flowing waterfall. Windows throughout the house open to let the soothing sounds in. Falling Water's floor plan is informal and flowing, with characteristic built in furniture. Also inside are richly colored fabrics and various art pieces.

2) The first contemporary textile image given (I was not able to find the image online) reflects the Japanese focus on geometric pattern and repetition. Stripes and swirls, strongly illustrated in the textile pattern, are included in Japanese motif designs, as are elements of nature such as flowers. Bright colors are also used in Japanese design as symbolism or an element of surprise.

3) Americans, unlike citizens of many other countries, feel a strong need for personal space and often become uncomfortable when faced with situations in which they must be in very close proximity to strangers or even casual acquaintances. Especially uncomfortable are situations in which physical contact is likely to occur. In the IAR 222 classroom, the individual seats are connected side by side and there is very little room to walk between the rows of seats. Sometimes empty seats are hedged in by people seated on both ends of a row, and it is nearly impossible to move down the row without awkwardly brushing against other classmates or stumbling over book bags on the floor. Attached to each seat is a small writing table accommodating only right-handed individuals. When using one of these tables, one's arm may bump against the person on his/her right-hand side due to the tightly space seats. This awkwardness is probably felt more acutely by males, who typically desire more physical space between themselves and other males.

4) Alain de Botton brings up an important point in the passage from The Architecture of Happiness; that is, nothing physical (architecture or otherwise) can in itself produce true and lasting happiness in a person. This is because physical things, simply put, do not last. De Botton says, "It can be hard to walk into a freshly decorated house without feeling pre-emptively sad at the decay impatiently waiting to begin: how soon the walls will crack, the white cupboards will yellow and the carpets stain. The ruins of the Ancient World offer a mocking lesson for anyone waiting for builders to finish their work. How proud the householders of Pompeii must have been" (de Botton, 15). It is interesting that human beings seem to be hardwired to yearn for something above and beyond the physical world in which we live. Cultures around the world and throughout history have practiced various religions to satisfy this basic desire. This all is not to say that the production and enjoyment of architecture is a bad or even foolish thing. Architecture, in addition to its obvious virtues, can point one's thoughts toward what can bring a person ultimate satisfaction: spiritual peace that exists despite physical circumstances.

The yellow salon of Hotel Matignon seems to exude happiness. Several large doors open upon a scene of foliage and sunlight. A warm golden yellow floods our vision as the color of the walls, ceiling, and curtains is enhanced by an abundance of natural light. Everywhere, there is illumination and lightness. Even the massive chandelier appears to float with its delicate glass and gleaming filigree. The space feels so completely open and at the same time so comfortingly private. One would think that no hint of dark sadness could follow oneself to such a place. But even this physical beauty in all its glory is no match for the ills that can torment the human mind.

2nd year project 1, part A

Gesture figures.

Left hand, full scale.

Presentation board of drawings.

First arm model.

Second arm model.