Thursday, April 16, 2009

[Reflections] |||||| Unity Summary

The reflections unit of our history and theory of design class covered a range of topics ranging from the industrial revolution to “east meets west.” It covers the Romanesque Revival and the main principles of it, including social change, need for meaning, romantic past, and other things in the past that can be studied.

The idea of cities and traditional structures were being modernized and constructed with newer, stronger, and more sustainable materials. The Trinity churches in New York and in Boston are prime examples of this. Concrete, metal, and glass were discovered and combined to create a new technique. Architects and designers discovered that metal strengthens the concrete as well as cast iron and glass in terms of verticals. There are many buildings and structures around the world that portray these materials in an effective way. The Brooklyn Bridge, the Eiffel Tower, and the Crystal Palace are among the most famous structures that bring together the new combination of materials to create the newly constructed formations.

Frank Lloyd Wright had a very impressive and innovative way of using concrete, glass, and steel. The majority of his more recent designs particularly displayed new techniques of combining these materials whilst still returning to the roots of basic design as he did in his own personal home and studio. Other homes and buildings he has designed, however, use the concrete, glass, and steel in an innovative way as well as taking advantage of the landscape around it.

Fallingwater is a prime example of the way concrete and steel comes together to support glass. The large cantilever over the waterfall supports itself from the reinforcements in the concrete by steel and incorporates the nature around it. The reflections unit revels on several buildings of this nature by Wright and other designers and architects of the age.

The Monadock building introduces bay windows in skyscrapers to add a hint of visual interest as well as a view of the city and allowing for light to enter in a large amount. Another interesting feature of the building is that the exterior façade supports the entire building in an expensive manner as apposed to the Home Insurance building that introduced the freestanding façade for the first time in design history.

The reflections unit covers many different examples of skyscrapers, industrial buildings and homes that bring together new materials and techniques that gain influence from the Romanesque Revival and other eastern ideals. 

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