Monday, November 8, 2010


As America develops, so does its architecture. Revival of classicism, Palladian, roman, and Greek styles are heavy among the designs of the building of our country. Many capitols being built were remnant of the Parthenon and other Greek temples, to show the importance of the independence and strength of the new United States Government. Also around this time period industrial buildings became more popular, especially with the emergence of glass and iron.

In 1851, the emergence of new materials and technology came on the scene. Places like the Crystal Palace paved the way for new types of buildings to manipulate iron and glass in a way to expand the amount of area a building can cover. The Crystal Palace showed many different design languages and through that, it was apparent that this building was looking both forward and backwards. This idea was new to the people of London, but it caught on like wildfire. This translated across to the United States to various train stations and public buildings around major cities. The use of iron was pushed even further into the interiors of spaces, using the material in furniture and other decorative pieces, as well as interior structural focal points.

As the emergence of materials and technology effects design, so does the influence of other cultures. The impact of the east on the western cultures brought on a whole new design language. The Royal Pavilion brought to the scene something people have never seen before in Europe. This building was highly polychromatic, with many layers of decoration. Also it looks like someone picked it right out of India and dropped it in the middle of England. We know now that this became such a distraction that the Queen had to change buildings and make that specifically a tourist location. I wonder if that’s what’s holding back creativity. Maybe people don’t want to spark distraction among the town, or don’t want to pave the way to some new design language and things don’t get created.

When the east influences the west and America begins to develop, designers all around attempt to push the envelope and begin revolutions. But that brings up the question…what starts a revolution? Revolution can begin with things such as politics, the booming of new materials and technology, clothes, music, literally anything. These things start a stir in the architectural and design world and we are still seeing revolution in today’s society as well. The reflections unit has solidified for me; the notion that revolution is forever present in our everyday lives and our standards of what is modern is never a sturdy ground to walk on.

I chose this image of a rubix cube to represent this unit because, in my opinion, I think it represents how the different design languages can come together to create something very cohesive. But at the same time, you can mix it up, turn it all around and view it from different angles and perspectives…just as the designers of the time were doing.

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