So you want to be an architect – Part 4

Learn design with Doug Patt at his live virtual webcam studio.

Hi. I’m Doug Patt and this is So you want to be an architect, Part 4. What does an architect use? Aside from the wide variety of items an architect uses to physically create the drawings, specifications, models, and paperwork necessary to make buildings the architect uses elements of style to create buildings. Narrowed from a gamut of items I believe you could say the elements of style, when it comes to buildings are scale, form, complexity, and material. Lets look at examples of each. Much has been made throughout the history of art and architecture over proportion from DaVincis canon of proportions to Le Corbusiers modular man. How buildings reflect & accommodate human scale is a key component of architects work. From the beginning architects like Palladio used ratio and proportion found in nature to create harmonious buildings. From Frank Lloyd Wrights cozy interiors to the grand palace of Versailles. to the Hancock skyscraper of Boston who’s scale overwhelms the famous trinity church but was designed to reflect it’s beauty nonetheless building can be scaled to the human figure or scaled in a more ambiguous manner. Ambiguity is key for Jean Nouvels Arab world institute where the elements of the elevation make scale extraordinarily vague. So scale is one way architects relate a building to the user. In the last few decades architecture has increasingly been able to take advantage of advanced technologies that have allowed them to build with incredible freedom of form. From Norman Fosters Hearst tower in New York city or his Gherkin skyscraper in London to the Millau viaduct in France, from Rem Koolhaas seattle central library to his CCTV building in china. From Santiago Calatravas Milwaukee art museum to his Hemispheric in Spain. With Herzog and de Meurons birds nest arena in China or Renzo Pianos Nemo museum in Amsterdam, architects today work within a realm of form perhaps never imagined before. A buildings aesthetic complexity is also an element that portrays a certain idea or ethos. From the classicism of Bernard Maybecks palace of fine arts, or Louis Sullivans intricate ornamental stone detailing, the work reflects the spirit of an era. Theres detail that might emphasizes verticality as in Raymon hoods Chicago tribune building or Cesar Pellis Patronis towers in Malaysia, or horizontality as in Frank Lloyd wrights prarie style homes. A building can also be ornamental in a unique way like Antonio Gaudis buildings or simplified to only steel and glass as in Mies Van Der Rohs aesthetic. They can also be free of detial like Le Corbusiers La tourette or Louis Kahns Salk institute. Lastly, every building ever made is made from something. The material an architect chooses to build with is affected by both cost and intent. From IM Peis Louve pyramid and Hong Kong towers of steel and glass to the concrete work of Zaha Hadid, from the cold steel exteriors of Sir Richard Rogers in the Lloyds of London to the cool white porcelain tiles of Richar Meier or the stone facades of Herzog and de Meuron. Architects continue to work with great freedom in the realm of material, which only promises to become even more advanced and unlimited. Its up to the architect to take the meaning and intent of their commission and have the architecture reflect that in some way. Using scale, form, complexity and material the architect creates a framework for style. And that concludes the fourth part of the video series so you want to be an architect. Im Doug Patt. See you next time.


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