Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Point: Foundations.

Foundation can be constructed in many different ways. We have learned that throughout time, forms mold into more developed systems of design. All the way from Stonehenge you see a progression from circles, to lines, to stacking systems, to columns and so on.

My perspective of the foundations unit is that the buildings we have discussed are the prototypes or archetypes for the buildings that we still continue to use today. For instance, the Theater of Epidaurus acts as a template for current day theaters. We use the same sloping effect of the risers, and try to emulate the acoustic techniques. Epidaurus is an everlasting structure, considering that it is still used today in Greece by performers. This just shows that the foundations that these buildings and structures laid out have lasting impacts on the world around them.

It’s crazy to see that even in today’s city’s we can see direct similarities to cities like Pompeii. When we look at the city plan of Pompeii, it’s all laid out like a typical city today would be. With all the major business districts centrally located, then comes the residential ‘neighborhoods’, and then the things that are used for entertainment purposes, but you don’t really want it broadcasted, on the outskirts…like the amphitheater in which killings occurred in ancient times. Ancient cities laid the foundation for our cities, buildings, and other various structures that we still use in present day. It’s remarkable that these traditions, for the most part, are still used.

The structures that began to develop were very diverse with many different uses, compared to simply the residential and religious structures that we started off the semester with and even the beginning of the foundations unit. The bath, aqueduct, arch, road, dome, colosseum, etcetera… are all examples of how vast the design world became with the Roman Empire and the expansion of civilization as a whole.

As we move forward in the foundations unit, we see the progression of the basilica into the grand cathedrals such as Salisbury, Cologne, Amiens, and Duomo. What these cathedrals bring to the table are new ideas to bring the religious message. They promote the verticality factor to further exemplify how grand God is and how small us, as humans, are. These structures point towards heaven. They represent the religious experience in every way, including the typically crucifix plan and the clerestory windows to divert light into a more divine way. These structures evolved from temples like the Hypostyle Hall, which used columns and clerestory windows to create a religious and majestic experience.

In conclusion, the foundation unit taught me that architecture used in the ancient times, beginning with circles, lines, and stacking systems, still continues today and that these early structures laid the footing for the time to come, and basically every building type has evolved from the buildings we learned about in this unit, which simply amazes me. This is why I chose this image to wrap up the unit. I thought it was a comical metaphor to show the building blocks and evolution of design. As architecture has progressed from these basic, and sometimes not so basic designs, it has become more intricate and elaborate like we’re beginning to see in the Cathedrals of the Gothic era and the castles of the Middle Ages.

Find this image here :)


  1. I really enjoyed reading your essay. There were nice examples you linked to class and your personal take on the unit. I like the image you chose. It is comical yet still portrays the meaning of this unit.

  2. Cute image (thank your for sighting). I value the links you made between structures throughout your writing. I further appreciate your introduction and conclusion to the project. Lovely work Caitlyn!

  3. Your work reads and explains the unit well. Your image summarizes the unit (and is sited-thanks) maybe add another image portraying a specific you spoke about in your writing. You flowed from place to place well within your writings reaching various point within the unit, Good job