Sunday, March 27, 2011


BP10...Messages of Revolution

The flag of the United States of America

The American flag is an everyday fixture which we see on TV, in front of government buildings, on the uniforms of service men and women, in front of schools buildings to mention a few locations.

The original flag of the United States of America had 13 stars arranged in circular pattern with 7 red and 6 white stripes. The stars represented the original 13 colonies which were British territories during the early colonization period. After the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4th 1776, the flag of the United states was flown for the first time.
There are several different theories about the origination of the flag design.

  • Grand Union flag
  • George Washington's family coat-of-arms--white shield with two red bars underneath three red stars.
  • Sons of Liberty flag--nine vertical then thirteen horizontal red and white stripes which represented the thirteen colonies during the American Revolution.

The American Revolution was a reaction to the British rulers harsh imposition of taxes to fund the French and Indian wars the British were fighting and the lack of representation for the colonists in the British parliament. "Taxation without representation" was a revolutionary cry in the new colonies which ultimately lead to the independence of the original 13 colonies from the British rulers.

The original stars are arranged in a circle and I believe that it signifies equality among the 13 states. The color red signifies passion and white signifies purity. The possible interpretation of the colors could be the birth of a new nation, pure and equality for all unlike the British empire.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Theory 4... A Pattern Language


For our fourth theory reading, the focus was on the importance of gradients in a space and the importance of implementing pattern language when designing any type of space.

The challenge in respect to designing a Writer's Retreat will be to successfully incorporate the theories into the space which has both a very public and a private component.

Intimacy gradient:

The intimacy gradient is very important when designing a space. As a designer, it is important to define the public entrance, semi-public, and the private areas of the space. The public area needs to be at the center of the space.It also needs to be accessible within a straight path. In the design of my writer's retreat, I have placed the public area on the South side, the kitchen functions as a semi-public space, and the sleeping space as a very private area. The public area and the kitchen areas are easily accessible via a South-North axis however, the sleeping space requires a different orientation to access it in order to provide an intimacy gradient.

Indoor sunlight

According to our theory reading, the most important rooms needs to be oriented toward the South because it is the the room with the most amount of natural light. The rest of the building needs to be spread out along the East-West axis. For my writer's retreat, I placed the public reading area to the South which captures the most amount of natural sunlight and the rest of the other spaces radiate from the main gathering area.

Common areas at the heart

The common areas of a space need to be centrally located. If the visitors or residents who are using the space need to walk a long distance or it is difficult to get to the common area, it will not be well utilized and could hinder conversations and interactions. The placement of my common area which is the public reading space is centrally locally, along the East-West axis.

Entrance room

Entrance rooms are easily an overlooked part of the space. The entrance needs several considerations. First, the entrance needs to have windows in order to be able to see who is standing in front of the door. In addition, the entrance needs to provide some kind of shelter for the person standing outside from rain, cold, heat etc. From the inside of space, the entrance needs to provide a measure of privacy by not allowing a direct view into the common area or the private spaces. Also, the inside of the entrance needs to provide an area for storage such as coats, umbrellas, gadgets. For the Writer's Retreat, I created an entrance with partial walls to provide privacy and an easy orientation to the public area.

Flow through the rooms

The flow from room to room is very important. In the design of my Writer's Retreat, I avoided creating long and narrow passageways in order to enhance circulation in the space.

Short passages

The challenge with the passages is to create spaces which feel alive compared to passages which are not alive. In order to enhance human interaction, the passages need to be short, preferably have some furniture or carpet to make it part of the living area. In the design of the Writer's Retreat, I incorporated short passages with furniture to make it more intimate and conducive to conversation.

Staircase as a stage
In order to make a staircase more successful, it is important to have the bottom of the staircase flare out. Majority of the time, if people sit on a staircase, it is the first five steps. If staircases is available, it is important to consider the view of the person sitting on the stairs.

Zen View
According to our theory reading, the Zen view was an interesting consideration. I believed that if a space provides a spectacular view, why not maximize the usage by having constant access to the view? I learned that by placing a path that provides glimpses or occasional view is more useful than having constant direct view. If the view is more obvious, it will fade away, however, if the view is indirect, it will keep it's novelty. In the Writer's Retreat, I designed the spaces in such a way that it provide limited and at times full view of the garden.

Tapestry of light and dark

Human beings are photo tropic and will always gravitate toward sun light. It is very important to design spaces which provide an abundance of natural sunlight in order to enhance conversation. In contrast, darker rooms hinder the intimacy gradient. For the Writer's Retreat, I created spaces which allow maximum sunlight into the space. The Southern part of the retreat has a lot of natural sunlight and I added additional windows on the North side to allow more light to come into the darker areas.

Overall, the theory reading provided a road map for the design of the Writer's Retreat. I was able to incorporate most of the elements of the Patten Language to make my space more functional and pleasing to its users.

A Pattern Language, Alexander/Ishikawa/Silverstein/Jacobson/King/Angel, pages ix-xliv and 609-646

Friday, March 4, 2011

Eradicating Hunger Day...

Dining Space

Plan Oblique/Plan View

For our mid-term project, we designed a dining space to host a biannual event around the world to eradicate hunger. The paremeters of the project was to design a dining space, dining table, and a sideboard. I used a carpet as an inspiration and placed my dining space in SE Florida. I used many windows to keep my space open and bring in natural light. The biannual event took place during the summer and winter solstices and hence, light was an important consideration in the design of my space.

To control the light during the summer solstice, I used natural wood blind, glass block and for the winter solstice, the open space concept would allow light to come in during the darker winter solstice.

In addition, we had to provide a venue for social networking to be part of the dining experience. I created a projection screen in order to allow my diners to interact with other diners around the world via skying.