kate donnelly

ARCH 304

Readings 3/28 March 27, 2011

Filed under: Readings — katedonnelly @ 8:57 pm


A Thousand Years of Nonlinear History, Manuel De Landa

Starting with the Universe

Emergence: the connected lives of ants, brains, cities, and software, Steven Johnson

Machine in the Garden, Leo Marx

The Rise of Systems Thinking


The above readings all had similar themes which related to the bottom up organization of systems and their biological influences.  The readings talk about how we should look at issues (whether they be issues of history, science, psychology, or design) from a bottom up approach, looking at the parts that make up a whole, rather than looking first at the whole made up of parts.  There were several discussions about the organization of systems in nature and how those systems impact the creation of technology and other man-made systems.  Buckminster Fuller often looked to nature for inspiration in solving a variety of critical issues.  I think these readings point out an important relationship between the basic understanding of nature/the universe and everything that we create within the universe.

Natural systems, such as ecosystems, are made up of a series of individual parts that work together to create a whole.  These systems are often self-organizing.  I think this is important to the practice of architecture in that the evolving structure of the profession involves a serious collaboration between architect, engineer, fabricator, etc.  These collaborations within the profession share a direct link to the organization of natural systems, just as the things that are designed and the tools with which they are designed are most successful when they draw upon ideas found in the biological, natural world.  From the readings, I have learned that these organizing principles and approaches can be applied to a variety of disciplines from science to politics to design and more.  All of these systems can be approached by looking at the individual components working together to make a whole.




Filed under: Videos — katedonnelly @ 8:50 pm

Koyaanisqatsi:   Life Out of Balance, Life in Turmoil

This video gave an interesting perspective on the world in which we live.  It began showing slow motion video of beautiful landscapes and transitioned into fast paced images of people interacting with their environment.  Although I spent much of the video trying to figure out what the message was, I think that it is in part a commentary on the negative impact that people have on their environment, with rapid consumerism and disregard for their surroundings.  As increased population and technology continue to impact the environment there becomes an imbalance in the systems that make up our natural world which at times creates moments of chaos.



The Art and Craft of the Machine February 20, 2011

Filed under: Readings — katedonnelly @ 11:50 pm

Frank Lloyd Wright talks about a society that is “made up of the people who are in the work – that is, the manufacturers,” and he says, “without the interest and cooperation of the manufacturers, the society cannot begin to do its work, for this is the cornerstone of its organization.  All these elements should be brought together on a common ground of confessed ignorance, with a desire to be instructed, freely encouraging talk and opinions, and reaching out desperately for anyone who has special experience in any way connected to address them.”  I think that these statements made by Wright in 1901 get at the core of issues we are still facing today.  With technologies such as digital fabrication and BIM software, we are creating a society that works together to manufacture a design with the collective input from the designer, manufacturer, and all other related disciplines.  Today, although the machines are much more advanced than the printing press that Wright describes, there is a desire to use machines and technology in the manufacturing process in ways that could never be done before.  I think it is interesting that 100 years later, we still see a need for collaboration in the architecture disciple among the designers and makers, yet that often fails to be achieved.


Studies in Tectonic Culture

Filed under: Readings — katedonnelly @ 11:50 pm

In Studies in Tectonic Culture, Kenneth Frampton states, “we may assert that the built is first and foremost a construction and only later an abstract discourse based on surface, volume, and plan… One may also add that building, unlike fine art, is as much an everyday experience as it is a representation and that the built is a thing rather than a sign.”  I think this statement draws attention to the fact that architecture, while it is an artistic disciple, also has to be very functional and serve the needs of its users.  Additionally, there must be significant thought put into the way that the pieces of the of the building actually go together, rather than just the spaces that are created.  I thought an interesting point that was made in this reading was that it is important to consider the expressive potential of construction techniques.  Looking at the entire process of architecture from design to construction, with a focus on the tectonics throughout, is a process that I feel is often overlooked in many projects.


Retooling the Architecture Machine February 18, 2011

Filed under: Readings — katedonnelly @ 4:24 am

Retooling the Architecture Machine: Innovations of Digitally-Driven Architecture

Much of the current literature on architecture discusses the importance of technology in the design process.  Retooling the Architecture Machine talks not only about digital technology that enhances the design but also the process of construction.  The fact that architecture can now be fabricated directly from a digital model is very significant to the potential of the architecture world.  These new digital tools allow things to be created that no one would have been able to dream of previously.


The Invisible History of Erasing

Filed under: Readings — katedonnelly @ 4:23 am

I found this reading to be very fascinating.  It provided many interesting unknown facts, for example, erasing pencil marks was once achieved using breadcrumbs.  It also brought to light the importance technology in design and the ability to make design decisions.  I came to realize how fortunate we are to have tools such as digital design programs that enable us to undo and redo drawings with the simple click of a button.


Futurist Manifesto

Filed under: Readings — katedonnelly @ 4:23 am

Architecture is breaking free from tradition.

This is a statement made by Antonio Sant’Elia and Filippo Tommaso Marinetti in their futurist manifesto.  I believe however, that tradition is a key component to understanding architecture.  In general, architecture has been a series of making traditions then breaking them.  One tradition that concerns the futurists seems to be that of ornament.  It was said, “The decorative must be abolished.”  Current trends of architecture value purity of form and structure as opposed to elaborate details.  While this seems to be a current trend, there has been little written to suggest that the decoration that exists on architecture interferes with its function, thus it would seem extreme say the decorative must be abolished to create successful architecture.

I thought that an interesting statement in this reading was, “The tremendous antithesis between the modern and the ancient world is the outcome of all those things that exist now and did not exist then. Elements have entered into our life of whose very possibility the ancients did not even dream.”  Again as mentioned in several other readings, technology seems to be a key component in architecture and the possibilities of architecture in the future.