Wednesday, February 25, 2009


these diagrams are from mike w. lin's drawing and designing with confidence(1993, wiley).

Monday, February 23, 2009

parts : wholes : and everything in between

up for week 4…
haley preston, riley smith, aubrey loyd, neal mickey, charese allen….

haley preston starts our odyssey (get it? it’s about greece) through the week 4 material independently defining each of the vocabulary words, with her greatest success in bringing pat’s chair into the description of ARCHETYPE : PROTOTYPE : HYBRID. her closing summary does little to move forward the discourse of parts to the whole, though her idea about three scales…details, parts, and wholes….makes sense in light of our study of the built environment and the artifacts within it. her careful annotation of images and inclusion of citations both deserve mention.

image courtesy of riley smith

riley smith attempts a more synthetic view, characterizing masculine and feminine qualities in the greek ORDERS in the first part of her entry. she turns on the gas with stellar images from her own trip to rome, bringing to bear her direct experience of those buildings in helping the reader to understand HIERARCHY. good words about greek and roman architecture as SOURCE. nice photos, riley!

up next, aubrey loyd achieves synthesis, particularly when writing about SOURCE, drawn from the greek and roman worlds, and bringing to bear on her own experience in drawing class. linking SOURCE and ARCHETYPE : PROTOTYPE : HYBRID, aubrey reminds us that the great traditions of design rest on the traditions of the past. in this way, we carry sources on our shoulders as we continue forward in our designs. remember the nautilus shell from the first week of class?

image courtesy of neal mickey

neal mickey weaves a narrative that demonstrates a fine command of the various vocabulary for the week, summarizing in diagram form, his “big bang theory.” the bang comes, not so much in the final diagram but in neal’s wise use of images throughout his post. in this way, he creates a HIERARCHY for the post, with the visual images shaping and explaining his argument, even without a read through the text. but don’t let that stop you from his constructed and convincing story.

charese allen's thumbail sketch in the euc.

charese allen is all about collection and speculation and we see in her blog post this manifest in her clever writing and her salient drawings and diagrams. reminding us that we all seek order, she then goes on to carefully explain how ancient civilizations embraced this and other concepts for their buildings and artifacts within them. through careful annotation and ample reference to the assigned readings, charese shows skills as a master weaver from many SOURCES across the first year curriculum. she distinguishes between out and out copying versus inspiration from the past. this is a smart view worth considering by all of her classmates.

in all, this week’s summary statements lean more toward a synthetic view. every author’s goal in the class should be to strive for seamlessness and for observations like charese’s connecting the unlikely juxtaposition of the egyptian hypostyle hall and the elliott university center. given that the goal of all this OPUS activity is for every student to more confidently speak AND write about architecture and design, charese and neal show insight and originality beyond the expected…a very good thing and much more interesting to read than simple definitions of vocabulary words.

wrapping up week 3

in defining SECTION, many of these students took the most basic understanding of section as a vertical slice through a building to have a look inside. remember that at different SCALES, section cuts yield significant information. for an artifact or a wall, a SECTION might explain how technically materials come together, detailing our understanding of the FIRMNESS of the structure proposed and the fitness of the design opportunity. for a building, a SECTION provides information for the reader of the drawing to understand architectural space and how the various elements within a room come together as an architectural UNITY. in a city, a SECTION might tell us how component neighborhoods and elements within the community begin to shape human experience on a grander SCALE than a single building. in considering this cross SECTION through life, we get a way to compare buildings and spaces…and to understand better some of the thinking by humans to shape the built world. by considering a LONGITUDINAL SECTION of a city, however, we come to understand the impact of time on the landscape and the buildings that populate it. this idea of TIME seems incredibly useful in the history course as we continue to take the LONG VIEW of all of the built world and the objects within it. as we continue to think about all of the various SCALES at which we might consider an object as mundane as, let’s say “pat’s chair,” we recognize the raw power of the designer to transform the world one building or object at a time, as the resonances that echo outward from each design opportunity have ripple effects to the neighbors in immediate CONTEXT but across and through time to the present. by removing the BOUNDARY from SECTION, we unleash a powerful way to understand and talk about the built environment.

PLEASE NOTE : unfortunately, ellie grigg and rebecca pryor did not post this week so they couldn’t add to this dialogue.

linkages from week 3

hailey granetz boldly steps forward in her synopsis to suggest that all of the words for this week can be linked if we only understand them each as a system, a way of looking at the world around, first by defining BOUNDARIES as a form of limitation for a project, then by considering the SCALE of the human experience that should happen within the parameters designed, then by thinking about how all of the parts defined come together in a UNIFIED whole, utilizing both VIGNETTES and SECTIONS as communication devices to tell others about designer intentions…..if only it were this easy…and linear a process. design is much more about all of those BOUNDARIES and SCALES remaining in flux until the right balance comes forward (with intense work, some significant consumption of caffeine, and some sheer luck) to a UNITY worthy of being brought into the world. if we are to consider design as the socially-responsive re-allocation of resources, it behooves us as designers to be sure that we remain open to the possibilities without quickly setting limits. we think that’s what happened at the ACROPOLIS where the designers continually manipulated SCALE and refined and refined and refined AGAIN the relationship between all of the buildings and spaces into the UNITY considered by many to be the great ARCHETYPE of all buildings emulated through the ages to our very own.

From Inspiration to Your Own.. Tips for Success!

Here are a few examples from second years when they did this same project last year. This level of detail and attention to different styles is what we are expecting with this assignment. We also chose these due to the fact that they lack any color. It is imperative to know that color can't be used as a crutch; if your initial drawings are not well developed, the color will not improve them. Work on the basics before you move on to color because color can be rather tricky.

Ben Adams
Ben's drawings show depth through line weight as well as a good variety of different styles. His moves are bold, but they parallel his inspiration drawings. 

Kurt Huizenga
Kurt payed attention to his inspiration. He perceives the drawings on various scales, from the most detailed, to the composition itself. As a result, his drawings captured the essence of his inspiration. 

Lauren Thore
Lauren excelled in use of contrast. Her drawings stand out because of their distinct resemblance to her inspiration. Tip: if the inspiration has high contrast, be bold! Go equally as dark.

Anna Will: Inspiration & Drawings
A good drawing isn't always the traditional one. Anna used different media for the backdrop, creating a dynamic and interesting piece of work. 

More scale figures...
Images from Rendering with Pen and Ink by Robert W. Gill

Let this be a reminder that, from now on, scale figures should be incorporated into your drawings. They evoke an emotion that is difficult to manage without them. Just as line-weight or shading aid in creating depth and reality to your work, scale figures make your drawings come to life (no pun intended!) It is also important to make sure the types of scale figures you include in your drawings fit within your drawing's context, the reason we chose these pages filled with many different poses.
On another note, we would like you guys to explore the resource library as well as any other library. They are full of examples and techniques that can further help you develop your style, so check them out!

What You Should Take From This:
The point of this assignment isn't just to "make a drawing," but to get you to celebrate the different buildings and spaces your group will be presenting about. At the same time, exploring different styles of rendering will help you develop a greater sense of your own style for the future.

One final note.. Don't forget that the 2nd years did this same project last year, and we are always here to help. You can browse our blogs here, or just ask!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

part deux of opus reviews : brian peck...

drawing courtesy of brian peck writing of the elusive
UNITY, brian peck suggests that “including a design element that isn't seen or detracting from the design but accommodates comfort is just as important as the design element you can see,” reminding us that as designers and appreciators of design that we have to look for the hidden as well as the obvious messages intended and received, looking far beyond the surface of any designed artifact, space, building, or place. the UNITY, then comes in considering the totality, without BOUNDARY. we find this a very provocative idea…and one that students should consider more as we move through time and space in iar221.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Annotate Everything

Hey guys,
As we were checking the thumbnail posts, we found amazing drawings, with no annotations to accompany them. Yes, the drawing is the key element in the post, but there should be some form of writing as well. Verbal and visual go hand in hand when conveying your art. So please annotate every post from now on. It does not have to be formal; just something to further evoke the emotion in your drawings. 

patrick ruminates on opus three

as part of our regular weekly posts, we will select five students at random to feature for some evaluation on their opus project. we provide this feedback as a way to indicate to the whole class the patterns that we see in the opus project generally and some alternative ways to think about and write about design. remember, above all, that the opus project allows you the intellectual space to synthesize all that you are learning from the various classes into a seamless entry. the “summary” post is a good place to be sure we understand that you can link all the PARTS together into a well-considered WHOLE. without that summary, it’s very difficult for us to reasonably situate the other annotations within a sense of your growing understanding of design.

the opus three random selectees: chey shelton, brian peck, hailey granetz, ellie griggs, and rebecca pryor.

drawing courtesy of d. chey shelton

with chey shelton’s post, we discover his characterization of parts to the whole in as a UNITY in design… though he mentions entourage as an alternative way of providing vignettes, he does not make explicit the connection between vignettes (collections of objects to tell a story) to this idea of unity. in nailing the idea of SCALE and tying it to several civilizations we have studied thus far, we see that he has begun to understand that all buildings have some relationship to the humans inhabit them. whether they are used to “induce a feeling of unworthiness in commoners and an ego boost in aristocrats” or whether they act as “a veil to outsiders,” buildings and their components (porch, court, hearth) and the walls that inscribe them represent some of the most basic elements used by environmental designers to shape the world for human experience.

student spotlight : carlos smith

Thought you might enjoy an encore presentation of Pat building a stone wall. See more of Carlos' fun animations here.  Did you know he creates these mini-movies using his cell phone?

drawing on location

We spoke a little in class this morning about the difference between drawing from photographs and drawing from life.  To me, nothing beats working within the environment one is attempting to capture...soaking it all in...the smells, the sounds, the textures, the people, etc.   These are things you miss when drawing from photos.

Take a look at the work of Salvador Castio via his blog for great examples of drawing on location. In particular, pay attention to the way in which Salvador describes his process and environment. I think we can all benefit from the advice Salvador includes in the top left corner of this drawing : "Draw ceaselessly and do it with resolve; draw things your way and do it brilliantly."

Friday, February 13, 2009

Monday, February 9, 2009

pathways, edges & boudaries- revised groups

Passageway Groups

The Desert Squad List:

1. Carlos Smith -- Group Leader

2. Christie Wallace

3. Erika Anderson

4. Kristin Willis

5. Sydney Gaskins

6. Catherine Maynard

7. Kalani Gonzalez

Mirage Group

1. Tracey Wright

2. Katie O'Boyle

3. Meghan Kaufmann

4. Kelsey Rhode

5. Young Moon

6. Haley Grantez

7. Brittany Stiles


1. Iliana Menendez

2. Paris Williford

3. Lindsey Frost

4. Nicole Robert

5. Aubrey Loyd

6. Arnis Boschulte

7. Nicole Fowler

8. Rachel Cash


1. Allison Wilson

2. Hope Talley

3. Rebecca Ladd

5. Phillip Snider

6. Danielle Waye

7. Kristin Sylvia

8. David Harril

9. Haley Preston

10. Ellie Griggs


1. Kristina Ragan

2. Clarissa Anderson

3. Damon Chey Shelton

4. Kinsey Jones

5. Charese Allen

6. Greg Hickman


1. Wes Shamlian

2. Rebecca Pryor

3. Sharon Frazier

4. Hailey Sudderth

5. Cara Schwall

6. Brenda Foust

7. Hannah Samper

8. Brian Peck

9. Tristan Olarti

10. Neal Mickey

the delicate art of using citations in your work

the following is excerpted from the UNCG writing center guidelines on using the APA citation guide...

Writers have an obligation to give credit to the source of any opinions, interpretations, or specific facts that were the result of another person’s research when they “borrow” that information and incorporate it into their writing— whether they quote the exact words of the source or restate it in their own words, and whether the source is in print or online.

The system for citing sources that is used in many social science, education, and nursing courses (among others) is the APA (American Psychological Association) system. It consists of two steps:
  1. parenthetical citations within the text, which give an abbreviated reference to the author, date, and page number of the borrowed material; and
  2. an alphabetical listing of all References, which appears at the end of the paper and gives full bibliographical information.

choices for short quotations OR paraphrases:
  • Identify the source’s author by name, followed in parentheses by the year of publication, in introducing the material.
  • The page number is required when you quote the source directly. It is not required in APA, but it is helpful to a reader, to include the page number when paraphrasing the source.
  • If you don’t identify the author by name in your text, you must include the last name, the year of publication, and the page number in your parentheses.
  • If the text has no author, use a shortened version of the title plus the date and page number to identify it.
citing indirect sources:
  • When you read a source that uses material (which you want to use) originally published in some other source (which you have not read), you should identify the original author(s) and in your text, and include the words “as cited in” with the author, date and page number of the secondary source—the one that you actually read--in your parenthetical citation.
altering a quotation:
  • the use of ellipses . . . to indicate that you left out some words of the originalquotation, and the use of brackets [ ] to add an explanatory word or phrase that was not in the original or to indicate that the form of a word has been changed to make it fit into the sentence.

...while these are just a few helpful hints for using citations within your text, we highly recommend you further explore the proper formats for references and citations further. for non-majors in the class, please use the respective style of citing for your department or major.

the single most important thing... that architecture is more detailed than i thought. we really have to stand in between a doorway when were trying to look at both the inside and outside... dajana nedic

...learn to look for key ideas in a lesson and apply them to other things i am seeing, hearing, & learning... damon c. shelton to use words everyday to compare + contrast + discuss... david harrill

...[is] to tie together artifacts, events, and cultures in order to see the bigger picture. one should understand what is happening in music, philosophy, etc. to understand architecture... molly jacques the importance of being able to convey your thoughts & ideas - through drawings and words... sydney gaskins look at architecture as an art form because it requires skill, it is physical, and it is expressive... paris williford is amazing how much [architecture] is reinvented and not remembered... antonio moretz

...the way all things in architecture/design history and past cultures work together to create the world we know and live in today. makes me wonder how things will change and what new ideas are yet to come in my lifetime that will be important and unimaginable... jeff linn look at your design in a multi-view sense because what you design will hopefully be around for generations to come... gregory hickman

...our history reveals, as reflected in architecture, the most honest reflection of our values [and] meanings over time... sharon frazier

...architectural history uses many of the same techniques of analyzing as anthropology (my 1st degree). I knew artifacts need to be understood in relation to their culture but not that theories are universal... tina digiampietro to think not only about the literal differences between things (who a building was made or who made it) but also what the meanings behind things were and their differences... julie dean

Friday, February 6, 2009

student spotlight : greg hickman

there were many nice artifact photos, but with this one greg really caught our attention.  this is the quality of photo we are expecting when we ask you to document your work.  be selective about the angle at which you shoot your designs, the lighting, the cropping...  the photos you take can make or break your portfolio. see more of greg's photos here.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

people in spaces : stephen gardner

Stephen Gardner is a great example of drawing people in spaces (they are vignettes, too!). Though he has a very "sketchy" style, he still has a great level of detail in the parts that he wants to highlight most.

Link about Links

Here is a helpful link to successfully posting links on your blog. Using a title or word for your link will clean up your blog, eliminating long and unsightly urls.

student spotlight : jeff linn

like many of you, jeff showed wonderful water color technique by leaving white space right next to the darkest part of the background , which adds depth. compositionally he used the blue on the other objects to guide your eye across the image. keep up the good work!

scale people [in spaces]

The more examples the better :)
Scale people in architecture are the best because it's sometimes okay for them to be scribbles and blobs (All in all, the main focus is the architecture). They, along with other "entourage" make your drawings of interior (and exterior) spaces come alive. What's a beautifully designed space with no one using it? Design is for people!




Prash Art

Enrique Flores

Greg Betza

Pete Scully

Claudio Lagos

Gabi Campanario

F.M Costantino Inc.

9 Gates Studio

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

stonehenge ruminations

stonehenge "cropped" from a certain history professor
's sketchbook (and it's in pencil and edited further in photoshop)...this is what we mean by being selective in your opus online. see the full stonehenge post.

The Cromlech of Stonehenge connects closely to other stone circles on the British mainland, dating from the same time period. Perhaps its closest “relative” is that of the Cromlech of Avebury, though Avebury is much larger. There are other stone circles in Africa, Asia, North and South America that may
signify a unity among prehistoric peoples not often acknowledged. As many of these similar structures are created of stone, this is further evidence of the resonances.

Stonehenge clearly has religious overtones and connections, most related to the observation of celestial phenomena. Stonehenge’s size suggests that the central circle was for a leader while others gathered in the outer circles. Certainly, this speaks to a hierarchy of religious “institution” echoed in the architectural space. A slaughter stone is but one feature of the cromlech and this indicates the offering of animal or human sacrifice, somehow connected to the other rituals of the time and place.

Due to its design clarity and appeal, Stonehenge has been emulated many times over in almost every time period since its construction. Perhaps even the circular temples of Greece and the early round churches of Rome stand as testimony to the impact of Stonehenge on design far afield from England.

The Cromlech of Stonehenge, quite useful in its careful expression of focus in design, applies to any centralized space I might undertake as a designer. Because of its meticulous attention to details, connections, alignments, Stonehenge provides a terrific example of simplicity in design.

What structure might best embody Mies van der Rohe’s notion (some twenty five centuries later) of “less is more” than this prehistoric fabrication?

reflect : deduce : speculate : observe for success

the fabric from which we tell the world about our stories comes from multiple lines of thread. each thread stands as an artifact on its own but when woven together signifies the ways that every aspect of our life – our place in the world, our classes, and our observations – completes the picture. many of you wrote in your blogs “the whole is a sum of its parts” (or something similar), it becomes evident that the observations you collect in your opus should tie to what’s happening in design, your life (at many scales and contexts), and your work. each week’s prompts provide a framework for viewing | speculating | deducing what you find relevant | thoughtful | significant.

the opus project and your individual blogs offer your voice and ideas as one more layer or thread in the many voices and stories you will hear this semester. how you frame those thoughts and images illuminates to those who read them what you make of it all. be careful how you draw your reader’s attention to your work…what makes the most sense to include as an illustration, as an observation, as a through-thread in all of your work. not every illustration should be a scan of an entire journal page nor just a single image. not every annotation should be merely description nor synthetic sweep…strive to represent all kinds of layers in the warps and wefts of your design fabric as you select, edit, and re-tell the stories that you have lived each week in history class, and in your other courses.

rebecca pryor links iarc to psychology through a pictorial dialogue of good + evil. yes, there is life outside of iarc...and, yes, you should acknowledge that in your writing and in your images. now that's unity.

a sure bet to make us happy would be to utilize your reflection to do the difficult work of thinking deeply and sharing those observations, speculations, and deductions. a well-written conclusion for the week is fine, particularly if it is one in which you consider areas OUTSIDE OF but CONNECTED TO class that tells something more about what you are thinking…but does not simply regurgitate the assigned vocabulary in dry and unfeeling prose.

jeff linn's post on multi-view connects outward from courses to his own work : a great example to emulate.

what would be better than a weekly conclusion would be writing that moves beyond the prompts and tells your readers how the material you addressed in your post affects YOU as a designer or appreciator of design. from the history/theory perspective, this means that you have to digest the material in class and in the readings, apply your growing knowledge about humanity’s efforts to shape the built world, and articulate a causal relationship that links past to present. for an explicit example about the deeper level thinking we seek, take a look at the stonehenge post above that we excerpted from patrick's blog

good luck!

--gweni + patrick

interior wall detail

For this and other helpful diagrams look here.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

student spotlight : linsey frost

while we were impressed by the whole class's exploration of watercolor and vignettes, we feel linsey frost did an excellent job with the artifact vignette assignment. her drawings illustrate great use of techniques for lighting, "fading out," composition, and very clean, well drawn contours. nice job, linsey!

scale figures!!!

check out the following links, urban sketchers and american society of architectural illistrations, to help with your scale figures. they also include other interesting things that make a good reference.