Without doubt. Although it was not possible for us to visit the Louvre in Paris, it would have been very useful to have done so. From a phenomenological perspective, there is no better way to understand a place than to go there. There is only so much that can be obtained from looking at pictures, reading, and imagining the place.
The critical thinking used in the patchwork essay has come into use quite often. The skills have been most useful in setting up my research and understandings in my other modules, especially the Design Studio module.
Academic writing shown me, above all, the importance of giving credit to others. If an idea belongs to another then it must be credited to them. The concept of intellectual property is the biggest part of academic writing that I have taken away. I understand the relevance of such writing and the risks of plagiarism are high if referencing is incorrectly done.
Research is an invaluable tool for a design project, or indeed any project. Looking back at history is a useful tool when designing for the present and future. This said, to design something completely new and different can sometimes require an ignorance of the past in order to avoid influence. Looking at history does not only mean looking at prior examples of architecture though. Looking at the past in other ways is also remarkably useful and I will be using my research skills to both begin and further my design processes in all projects.
What kind of museum is it?
In response to this, I went to the Nottingham Contemporary Art Gallery. This is a relatively new built museum/ gallery which has been built on an old, historic site.
Has the architect tried to introduce specific phenomenological aspects?
The interior of the building does not possess much in the way of architectural experience. There are some interesting features in the roof, but nothing which I would say were capable of causing an experience of their own.
However, the exterior of the building is a different story. The design is based on inspirations from the use of warehouses for artistic use, the outside is very industrial and irregular. Not only does the design use all the available space of the site, it also echoes back to a more industrial era for Nottingham. Further more, the outside panel were precast with a lace pattern as a direct reference to the city's lace market history. This, and more, all provides a small walk through the history of the site, and also provides something tangible for visitors to experience.
How does the furniture/ exhibits work from the point of view of ergonomics?
The exhibits are all positioned on walls, there are also partition walls which can be moved to provide extra space or cut off areas. Furniture is kept to a minimum but is present. The furniture is quite low and so does not provide the best viewing angles for the standing height that the majority of work is hung at, but the positioning of the furniture does provide a clear view of the majority of the artwork.
How about the circulation, is it clear, or is it more of a labyrinth?
The circulation of The Nottingham Contemporary is interesting. It is split into three gallery spaces, one of which has a partition wall. I do not however, feel that it works especially well. There is not a natural flow from the first space to the next, only from the second to the third. The arrangement of the rooms feels slightly awkward in layout.
Think about the design: is it a well organised museum, can you identify any design waste?
Structurally, the building has been made very well, particularly on the outside I feel that the design is very impressive. It could be argued that the materials used could have been less heavyweight, less materials could have been used if a different material type had been used, but the reasons for using the materials they used are justified by their concepts. Inside the gallery the layout feels more wasteful. If the gallery flowed better and was shuffled around slightly then the less space could have been wasted and meant that more art could be fitted in. Alternatively they could use any extra space gained for other means.
How does the gallery work with it's context?
The gallery really comes into it's own with the context. It is clear that the designers (Caruso St John) were very thorough with their research into the context of the site. They have created a piece of architecture which responds not only to the city, but also to it's history through references both bold and subtle.
What is the main problem Le Corbusier has encountered when introducing mass-produced housing?
The biggest problem was that it did not already exist. There were no set tools or methods for creating mass produced housing. There were no set guide lines. Le Corbusier had to start from scratch and equip the world for the mass production of houses.
How does Le Corbusier want to replace natural/ traditional materials in architecture?
Le Corbusier discusses 'old-world' natural building materials as being essentially risky and prone to waste. They can be temperamental, timber splitting under changes in temperature for example. He proposes replacing such materials with artificial ones which have been "proved in the laboratory". He favours the exact calculations of such artificial materials resulting in strong, precise and less wasteful buildings which are also ultimately less risky.
Do you agree with the statement: "A house will no longer be this solidity-built thing which sets out to defy time and decay, and which is an expensive luxury by which wealth can be shown; it will be a tool as the motor-car is becoming a tool."
I agree in part with the quote, but disagree elsewhere. The section about the house becoming a tool is something which I agree with. I think that in the modern day world, not every house is considered a home. As such, they can be seen as tools in which to live, a place to function, eat, sleep, even work. However what I disagree with is that houses will be less solidly built. It is true that we are moving away from heavy construction methods such as dense masonry structures towards lighter construction methods of glass and steel. Yet this does not mean that the buildings are any less secure or prone to decay. In fact, in some cases these lightweight structures may be able to stand for longer.
What is the Masion Citrohan?
It is a house designed around Le Corbusier's concept for creating a house as a machine for living in, it is made to be a tool for the inhabitants. The Masion Citrohan is designed precisely using artificial materials in specific dimensions to make maximum use of space and function.
Have a look at Le Corbusier's plan for a University Quarter. What do you think of his approach?
His approach to provide every student with the same level of living is an ideal one. He wants to give everyone a certain set of requirements, everyone should have good light, a warm living space and a place to look out of. He also thinks that every student desires self containment, they want to be able to have their own space. However he also plans for everyone to be able to interact with one another with ease. I think that his plan for this works well, it achieves it's goals well.
Le Corbusier identifies Architectural Schools as collaborators in the process of creating new architecture. Do you think that role has been/ can be achieved?
I do. Architecture is an art form as well as a science. Art is an ever changing trend which develops over time. Likewise, scientific discoveries are always being made. As such, architecture is always changing and advancing. Schools of architects are the studiers of this change and advancement. Furthermore they are often the creators of it. With so many minds exploring together there are usually discoveries to be made. However, architecture schools are not the only place in which architects learn. I do not believe that we ever stop learning, wherever there are architects, new architecture can be made.
Le Corbusier, (2008), Towards A New Architecture,
According to Salmon, where did most of the British architects go to study in Europe?
Salmon says that "almost every architect of note went to study in Rome".
Which Italian architect influenced British students through his approach to Roman ruins?
Giovanni Battista Piranesi.
What is the meaning of 'historiography'?
'Historiography' is "the study of the writing of history and of written histories."
According to Salmon, ancient Rome was a source of inspiration for the architects of the 19th Century since it was possible to draw so many analogies between these cultures. Do you agree with this statement?
I do agree. Ancient Rome and the architecture from it are inspirational. There is a great deal of well designed structures, not just aesthetically, but also structurally. The fact that the structures are still standing, despite so much, is testament to their impressive design, and their aesthetics are unquestionably beautiful. The buildings do more than this though. They tell stories about the past and about the ancient cultures. In this respect they act almost as a document which the architects could read and observe and understand to take forward into their own designs. There would have been no better way to do this than going to Rome, and there still isn't.
Salmon also explains how at some point these comparisons became simple pastiches or copies of Roman architecture. What is your opinion about using the past as inspiration in such a literal way?
I feel that taking inspiration to inform designs is perfectly acceptable. However, I feel that copying/ imitating work is not. I feel that to copy directly is to be unoriginal, uninspired and unimaginative. To a degree, whilst potentially complimentary to the original, it can also be considered disrespectful since the original has had so much thought and research and design put into it. The pastiche can be seen as simply taking other people's work and presenting it as your own.
Draw 4 details of Arkwright building showing the use of different materials and historical influences.
Research the Arkwright building: who built it? When? To what purpose? How about the new renovation? Has it changed the building or has it tried to keep it in it's original state?
Built between 1877-81, the Arkwright building is of Gothic design. It was built by Lockwood and Mawson of Bradford to be the house University College Nottingham, along with the city library and natural history museum. The building suffered bomb damage in the Second World War but has been restored remarkably well to preserve both the exterior and the interior of the building. The Arkwright building is listed and as such is not allowed to be altered beyond a certain degree. The renovation of the building respected this and the building has remained more or less the same as the original plans suggest. The biggest changes come from the joining of the building to the Newton building.
Salmon, Frank, (2000), Building On Ruins: The Rediscovery Of Rome And English Architecture,