Monday, February 2, 2009



Primary Readings

Aldo van Eyck, "place and occasion" (reformatted excerpt) Team 10 Primer, ed. Alison Smithson (Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press, 1968) 101(also available in other publications)

Aldo van Eyck, "Wasted Gain" Architecture in the Age of Scepticism; compiled by Denys Lasdun (New York: Oxford University Press, 1984) 234-236

Aldo van Eyck, "The Interior of Time" Meaning in Architecture; edited by Charles Jencks and George Baird (New York: George Braziller Inc., 1969) 171

Aldo van Eyck, "Building a House" (excerpts) Hubertus House (Amsterdam: Stichting Wonen, 1982) 43-65

Samuel Mockbee, "Rural Studio," Architectural Design : A.D Volume: 68 Issue: 7-8 (July 1998) 72-79

Samuel Mockbee, "The Role of the Citizen Architect," Good Deeds, Good Design: Community Service Through Architecture, edited by Bryan Bell (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2004) 151-156

Secondary Readings

Robert Venturi, "The Inside and the Outside," Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture (New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1966) 71-89

William Willoughby, "'. . . place and occasion mean more.' -- Contested Divisions between the Inside of Occasion and the Tempo of Place" ACSA West Regional Conference, October 11-13, 2001 (Bozeman, Montana)


Proportion is something that is instinctual for so many people, we immediately know when something is off, or does not look right. We recognize symmetry, and use it to determine if something of someone is beautiful. However there are many measures of proportion, we could probably count forever trying to get an exact number, some of the more well know proportioning systems architects refer back to are the Vitruvian Man, Golden section, and the Fibonacci Spiral. That's all well said and done, but what is proportion?

Proportion is often said to be relevant. Out of context would you recognize the worlds smallest man, or the worlds tallest man? Probably not, but as an architect or a student of architecture shouldn't we have our own individual proportioning system or the ability of 'guesstimate' with in a reasonable degree? Architects that actually sketch freehand, may have the ability to make rough drawings that are nearly accurate (meaning a bathroom is proportionate in size to a living room or bed room), but in that process does the proportioning or measuring of the drawings need to come in before or after the sketching starts? And if proportioning and freehand, creative sketching must be separate in the initial design process when should they come together?

Video: smallest man, and tallest woman. (when you watch the smallest man look for his shoes on the window sill.)


aaron said...

I believe that proportioning our drawings just happens as we draw. We know that the bathroom is going to be smaller than the living room because of our memorized precedent. In our own homes growing up, in public spaces, in schools, the restroom is always smaller than the public space. Proportion is learned in the early stages of life and can not be ignored after that point. Well, I guess it could be ignored, but it wouldn't seem right when inhabiting that space. The inhabiting person would notice something is off.

So, proportion is built in to all of our designs and drawings. We think of it as we're drawing. If we're doing a bubble map of program, we aren't going to draw a circle that is supposed to be a closet two times as large as the circle that will be the living room. So I believe both design process and proportion go hand in hand.

JWash said...

When the design process and proportioning work had in had we get a building that feels right, but what about those buildings that feel wrong to us? I'm sure some architect some where used his proportioning in the design process, but the building still turned out wrong. Is this a case of proportioning gone wrong, or is it just bad design?

It's easy to say that proportion is learned, that it is something that we all recognize and instinctively know if it is wight or wrong, but what if a child were raised in an environment where the bathroom was bigger than the bed room. Would that child think/know that that proportion was right or wrong?