The alterations unit is all about change and reformation. Coming from the foundations unit that was all about stepping-stones, this is about how to continue building, but at the same time continue changing. It’s all about figuring out how to break the rules and how to do well, because after all, one must know the rules in order to break them.
Moving throughout time, the Renaissance brings the simple geometry back into play. As seen in structures such as the Villa Rotunda, which becomes a template for many buildings yet to come, you see a common façade with a certain centrality about it. In class, we discussed the rules of the Renaissance, which include:
1.Reviving and revitalizing the classics.
2.A single decorated facade.
3.Separation of spaces.
4.Man is the measure.
5.Separation of spaces.
6.Patronage dominates building industry.
7.No building is one style.
8.Boundaries, edges, and borders are important.
9.Harmony through repetition.
These rules are the ultimate prescription for most places and spaces of the Renaissance. Many residential spaces, such as Palazzo Mediu in Florence, it is obvious in the façade what goes on in the interior. Textures are different, windows are different, and borders define level changes, which define status. This is just one example of the basic story-telling society the Renaissance was in comparison to the design styles that were about to come.
The Baroque breaks the barriers of the Renaissance and alters the structural element of design into a more sculptural piece. It makes things come alive and the person who led the transformation from the Renaissance to the Baroque is Michelangelo. When he painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, he took it to the next level by adding theatrics and fooling the eye, but keeping bits and pieces of classical language. A main theme in the period is water and fluidity. Michelangelo also played with this theme as well, creating the Laurentian Library Vestibule. These stairs make it feel as if knowledge is cascading down like it was water. He changed the rules in stair making in the details with the curvature and the details within and on the walls. The person who really took the Baroque into effect was Bernini. He really broke out of the box of classicism and made things come alive. He made stone and wood look like fabric or fluid materials. In his statues, such as David or the statue featured in the Ecstasy of St. Teresa, they are literally theater captured in stone. They magnificently portray the emotion and body language of the human body more so than any designer had at the time, or even today.
This image perfectly portrays the thoughts of the rule breaking design era that was the Renaissance, Baroque, and Rococo. The Cenotaph for Isaac Newton, though it was just a theory, was a ground breaking and rule bending idea that brought to life every idea that the great minds of the past stood for.