The Reflective Blog

Lecture One – 13th October 2015

Events from the 19th Century which impacted architecture and design

 

Our first lecture gave a brief summary of historical events in the 19th century to give an overall view of life, famous people and architectural influences of that time.

In 1919 the Russian constructivist Vladimir Tatlin, created a steel tower “Monument to the Third International” (Fazio, Moffett, and Wodehouse, 2013: 481), which can be seen in Fig 1.

 

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Fig 1, Tatlin Tower, Monument to the Third International. (Fazio, Moffett, and Wodehouse, 2013)

Tatlin took his influences from the Eiffel Tower designed by Gustave Eiffel in 1889 however according to Dillon’s report in The Guardian “He was building a solidly materialist affront to Eiffel’s airy commercial fantasia” (Dillon, 2016). Tatlin’s tower was never fully completed, it was meant to be 396 metres tall, 100 metres taller than the Eiffel Tower and would have been the tallest structure of the world, at that time. Trotsky applauded Tatlin’s rejection of traditional building methods and materials but stated that the Tower was not “unremoved from scaffolding (Dillon, 2016).

The spiral steel tower showed how innovative, light airy structures could be created from steel and glass influencing architectural designs around the world.

When I saw this structure for the first time I was intrigued by the design. The swirls look like a rolled up scroll of paper that have become loose. The cleverly placed steel form allow us to imagine how the building is constructed and realise that the frame of a building does not always have to be hidden to be beautiful.

I think that this controversial design allowed me to think beyond steel frameworks and concrete blocks and imagine how new, beautiful structures can be created with different materials. I am currently designing a steel and glass entrance to my industrial Art Gallery. Vladimir Tatlin’s Tower is a strong precedent for my design.

 

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Fig 2, ArcelorMittal Orbit, The Olympic Tower, London (PiedType, 2012)

The steel framework of the Tatlin tower provides inspiration and influence to many contemporary designs, it is especially evident in the ArcelorMittal Orbit that artist Anish Kapoor and structural engineer Cecil Balmond designed.

Bibliography

Beswick. H, 2016. Lecture 2. End of the 19th Century to Modernity. NOW online workspace. Available at: https://now.ntu.ac.uk/d2l/le/content/362391/viewContent/1681008/View (Accessed: 21 May 2016)

 

Dillon, B. (2016) Poetry of metal. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2009/jul/25/vladimir-tatlins-tower-st-petersburg (Accessed: 21 May 2016).

(Dillon, 2016)

“He was building a solidly materialist affront to Eiffel’s airy commercial fantasia” (Dillon, 2016)

 

Fazio, M.W., Moffett, M. and Wodehouse, L. (2013) A World History of Architecture. 3rd edition. London: Laurence King Publishing. (Fazio, Moffett, and Wodehouse, 2013)

“Model of the Monument to the Third International, 1919”(Fazio, Moffett, and Wodehouse, 2013) Note: Fig 1

 

PiedType (2012) London’s new tower not my cup of tea. Available at: https://piedtype.com/2012/05/12/londons-new-tower-not-my-cup-of-tea/ (Accessed: 21 May 2016).

(PiedType, 2012) “London’s new tower” (PiedType, 2012) Note: Fig 2

 

 

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Lecture Two – 20th October 2015

Art Nouveau and the Vienna Secession

 

Art nouveau stairs.png

Art Nouveau was very stylish era for architecture and design. The ornamentation of buildings was replaced by elegant curves and floral designs that were evident in England from around 1876-77. The images in figures 2 and 3 below of the Old Boots Building, Nottingham, designed by Architect Albert Bromley in 1892 are excellent examples of the movement.

 

boots.jpg  boots entrance.png

Fig 2 and 3, The Old Boots Building Entrance, Nottingham           Fig 3, Boots Entrance

Fig 2, (Harwood, no date)

Fig 3, (File: Love Art nouveau – Zara Nottingham (8469757357).jpg – Wikimedia commons, 2013). -formerly Boots

station railings.jpg

Fig 4, The Railings at Nottingham Station.  (Bradford-Harris, 2005)

 

Nottingham Station’s railings are another excellent example of how Art Nouveau was expressed in subtle stylish manner such as this “slender iron construction” (Fazio, Moffett, and Wodehouse, 2013).

I feel that British architecture benefitted from the Art Nouveau era even though it was more evident in other countries. I personally have benefitted from this era of design and used the influences of the elegant floral curves in the design of my staircase in project 2, the redevelopment and refurbishment of 23 Goldsmith Street. I was creating a design for Lock and Co, the oldest hatters in the country.

In contrast to this elegant beauty, Casa Battlo and Casa Milo in Barcelona, by Architect Antonio Gaudi, are rather quite ugly. The heavy natural stone facades, overly ornate balcony railings, roof sculptures and ornamentation, in my opinion make the building unattractive, however I may think differently if I saw the buildings in person.

 

casa battlo.png  Fig 5, Casa Battlo   (Frank, 1993)

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Fig 6, Casa Milo (Rufootage, 2015)

 

Beswick. H, 2016. Lecture 3. Art Nouveau and the Vienna Secession. NOW online workspace. Available at: https://now.ntu.ac.uk/d2l/le/content/362391/viewContent/1687112/View: (Accessed 21 May 2016)

Bradford-Harris, R. (2005) Original art nouveau whiplash ironwork. Available at: http://www.fotolibra.com/gallery/1192307/original-art-nouveau-whiplash-ironwork/ (Accessed: 21 May 2016). (Bradford-Harris, 2005) Note: Fig 4

 

Fazio, M.W., Moffett, M. and Wodehouse, L. (2013) A World History of Architecture. 3rd edition. London: Laurence King Publishing. (Fazio, Moffett, and Wodehouse, 2013) “Slender iron construction” (Fazio, Moffett, and Wodehouse, 2013)

 

File: Love Art nouveau – Zara Nottingham (8469757357).jpg – Wikimedia commons (2013) Available at: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Love_Art_Nouveau_-_Zara_Nottingham (8469757357).jpg (Accessed: 21 May 2016). (File: Love Art nouveau – Zara Nottingham (8469757357).jpg – Wikimedia commons, 2013) Note: Fig 3

 

Frampton, K. (2007) Modern architecture, fourth edition (world of art). 4th edn. London: Thames & Hudson.

 

Frank (1993) Antonio Gaudi (1852-1926). Available at: http://www.art-nouveau-around-the-world.org/en/artistes/gaudi.htm (Accessed: 21 May 2016). (Frank, 1993)

 

Harwood, E. (no date) The Boots Building Nottingham. Available at: https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=The+Boots+Building+Nottingham&espv=2&biw=1706&bih=931&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjDrN-8g-zMAhXJVxoKHYu1AasQsAQIMA#tbm=isch&q=The++old+Boots+Building+Nottingham&imgrc=KI5ThBlyhRnmYM%3A (Accessed: 21 May 2016). (Harwood, no date)

 

Rufootage (2015) BARCELONA. SPAIN – 2013: Casa Milo House Stockvideos & Filmmaterial 9234284. Available at: http://www.shutterstock.com/video/clip-9234284-stock-footage-barcelona-spain-casa-milo-house.html?src=rel/9234269:3/gg (Accessed: 21 May 2016). (Rufootage, 2015)

 

The Nottinghamshire heritage gateway > themes > boots > structural (no date) Available at: http://www.nottsheritagegateway.org.uk/themes/boots/bootsstructural.htm (Accessed: 21 May 2016).

 

 

 

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Lecture Three – 27th October 2015

Modernisms Agendas

 

“Modern man, who no longer dresses in historical garments but wears modern clothes, also needs a modern home appropriate to him and his time, equipped with all the modern devices of daily use” (Walter Gropius in western, 2002, 91).

This quote is relevant with whatever you are designing whether it is a home, office building or gallery space.

Many of the architects of the time such as Le Corbusier, Adolf Loos, and Mies Van der Rohe, believed that the classic principals of architecture, purism and classicism, Vitruvius’ theory and the change of materials would gradually alter the structures that were being designed.

 

bauhaus.png    bauhaus axo.png

Fig 1, The Bauhaus                                                                  Fig 2, The Bauhaus axonometric drawing

Fig 1, and Fig 2, The Bauhaus by Walter Gropius (Posts tagged ‘Walter Gropius’, 1911)

 

Walter Gropius started the Bauhaus because he believed that the Arts should be closely linked to design, whether it was product design or the design of a building. He wanted to revolutionise construction in order to reduce the gross housing shortage after World War One. He definitely made a huge impact on the world and even though other architects had their own opinion and made their mark in society, Walter Gropius in my opinion had a greater vision of things to come and the phrase “Form follows function” (Jett, 2014) is that a building essentially needs to be designed for the purpose that it will be used and the form of that structure although of primary importance is almost not quite as important. It is no good designing an amazing structure if it cannot provide the service that it was built for however in some instances the opposite may apply.

 

bauhause fig 3.png    bauhaus fig 4.png

Fig 3, and Fig 4, Photographic Images of the Bauhaus (Posts tagged ‘Walter Gropius’, 1911).

 

I do however agree with De Stijl in that the use of colour and material colours enhances a design and are a prominent part of everyday life, altering the atmosphere of a space immeasurably for the better. The design shown in figure 7 below, The De Stijl influenced interior design would be perfect for a primary school or children’s hospital, the colour makes the space feel welcoming and safe. I used this technique of the use of blocks of colour for my Dinner project for Design Studio where we created a portable dining experience. My design was primarily white and grey with splashes of orange and green. This use of colour made the scheme feel fresh, healthy, wholesome and inviting, attracting the customer and making the brand recognisable.

De Stijl colour.png

Fig 5, Painting by Piet Mondrian.  Fig 6, De Stijl influenced modular furniture.     Fig 7, De Stijl inspired interior Design

Fig 5, A 1921 painting by Piet Mondrian (A brief visual history of the utopian De Stijl movement, 2012

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Fig 6, De Stijl influenced modular furniture (DAS: Stijl modular display furniture design, no date)

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Fig 7, De Stijl inspired interior Design (Tully, 2014)

A place that is all white with no variation of tone, or all green with no variation, is not stimulating or provoking of thought and is therefore not a good design choice.

Bibliography

 

A brief visual history of the utopian de Stijl movement (2012) Available at: https://99designs.co.uk/blog/creative-inspiration/know-your-design-history-the-utopian-de-stijl-movement/ (Accessed: 22 May 2016).

 

(A brief visual history of the utopian de Stijl movement, 2012)

DAS: Stijl modular display furniture design (no date) Available at: http://daslv.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/stijl-modular-display-furniture-design.html?view=mosaic (Accessed: 22 May 2016).

 

Beswick. H, 2016. Lecture 4. Modernism’s Agendas. NOW online workspace. Available at: https://now.ntu.ac.uk/d2l/le/content/362391/viewContent/1708235/View Accessed 22 May 2016)

 

(DAS: Stijl modular display furniture design, no date)

Fazio, M.W., Moffett, M. and Wodehouse, L. (2013) A World History of Architecture. 3rd edition. London: Laurence King Publishing. (Fazio, Moffett, and Wodehouse, 2013)

 

Jett, M. (2014) Infographic: The Bauhaus, where form follows function. Available at: http://www.archdaily.com/225792/the-bauhaus (Accessed: 22 May 2016).

(Jett, 2014)

 

“Form follows Function” (Jett, 2014)

Posts tagged ‘Walter Gropius’ (1911) Available at: http://www.dailyicon.net/tag/walter-gropius/ (Accessed: 22 May 2016).

(Posts tagged ‘Walter Gropius’, 1911)

 

Tully, P. (2014) De Stijl inspired interiors. Available at: https://www.houseofhome.com.au/blog/mondrian-design-inspiration (Accessed: 22 May 2016).

(Tully, 2014)

 

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Lecture Six – 16th November 2015

Mies Van Der Rohe

 

“Mies Van der Rohe made his name in architecture in the 1920s for his use of industrial materials” (Wilkinson, 2010:128).  His early training was with Adolf Loos where he learned about the classic principals of architecture. He moved away from the traditionally classicist style and worked hard to promote Modernist Architecture through his work as an Architects with the Bauhaus where he became director in 1930.

I admire the way that he designed buildings with logic and function even though the aesthetics of his apartment block were to my taste too. The function of the buildings were his primary concern over the aesthetics however his apartment block at Weissenhof Siedlung  rightly became a permanent display of modern architecture.

 

mies plan.png  mies appt.jpg

Fig 1, Mies van der Rohe master planning Stuttgart-Weißenhof, 1927     Fig 2, Modern architecture

Fig 1 and 2, Mies van der Rohe Apartment Block Weissenhoff-siedlung, Stuttgart, 1927

 

The image in figure 3 below shows the apartment block as it is today. It shows how well the modernist design principals have stood up to the changes of time. The design is still as relevant today as it was when it was first constructed. The material choices and structural techniques have hardly changed over the years so have proved their worth in the modern world.

mies modern appt.png

Fig 3, The Weissenhof Estate Stuttgart, Germany 1927

 

High rise skeleton steel frame buildings began to be develop with flexible interiors, cantilever-reinforced concrete frames and brick facades were also a favourite of the time.  I am impressed that architecture evolved into a form that enabled sky scrapers to stand without fear of collapse and provide a multitude of functions over the lifespan of the building. It is a credit to the designers that they had the vision and foresight to see that their ideals were plausible.

 

Bibliography

Beswick. H, 2016. Lecture 6. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. NOW online workspace. Available at:https://now.ntu.ac.uk/d2l/le/content/362391/viewContent/1717548/View (Accesses 22/05/2016)

Fazio, M., Moffett, M. and Wodehouse, L. (2013) A world history of architecture. 3rd edn. London: Laurence King Publishing. (Fazio, Moffett, and Wodehouse, 2013)

Frampton, K. (2007) Modern architecture, fourth edition (world of art). 4th edn. London: Thames & Hudson. (Frampton, 2007)

Wilkinson, P. (2010) 50 architecture ideas: You really need to know. United Kingdom: Quercus Publishing Plc. (Wilkinson, 2010)

“Mies Van der Rohe made his name in architecture in the 1920s for his use of industrial materials” (Wilkinson, 2010)

Wolfe, R. (2015) Stuttgart-Weißenhof, 1927: Modern architecture comes into its own. Available at: https://thecharnelhouse.org/2015/03/14/stuttgart-weisenhof-1927-modern-architecture-comes-into-its-own/ (Accessed: 22 May 2016). (Wolfe, 2015)

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