Wednesday, March 4, 2009

translations of YOUR translations

REFLECTION FROM THE RECENT PAST : you are not the first class to undertake the "portals" project in brown cardboard. notice how these images show clarity of thought, exploration of light, investigation of materials, acknowledgment of site.

we looked at your studio installation in brown cardboard and make the following observations from the history/theory perspective…
1. take better advantage of the site

2. utilize graphics to direct the viewer towards comprehension

3. unify parts (porch : court : hearth are parts of a SYSTEM)

4. details should support the composition on the macro and micro scales

5. explore the qualities of cardboard more completely
6. utilize lighting opportunities as a design tool
7. don’t be afraid of color

8. work carefully to diagram proximity, balance, rhythm

9. distill to an essence, build with precision, and communicate clearly

10. impress upon others your nuanced knowledge of history and your site

some specific notes for each installation…

cromlech of stonehenge :
sadly by the time we reviewed this project it had been removed.

ziggurat of ur-nammu : the pieces are not representative of the whole, as the ideas of symmetry, contrast, and positive/negative space are not fully realized within the overall structure installed. the suspended elements fail to synthesize with the extended fins in a way that represents both positive and negative space. graphically the information portrayed also does not hang together.

city of the gods :
a large amount of pattern making within both the structure and graphics that draws abstractly from the buildings, but the ‘whole’ lacks coherency in terms of the processional quality of the site. the graphics do not communicate clearly and succinctly the intensions of the designers.

the great wall of china : the composition of the doorway surround speaks of topographical change and a certain fluidity. in crossing the boundaries of the door frame above eye level the group missed an opportunity to melt the installation on its site, unlike the detail at floor level. beautifully rendered graphics lack clarity in linking to vocabulary – some too literal, some unclear.

pyramids of giza :
we see contrast in the use of materials as well as a surface exploration of positive and negative. these ideas should be explored more thoroughly and fully through out the installation. too many disparate parts throughout – where the pyramids at giza are clear and obvious in their intent, this group fails to capture that spirit.

queen hatshepsut : it is not clear how the curvilinear and cylindrical elements help express the cohesive design statement of the queen’s tomb. her’s is a singularity and OF the site this composition strays from acknowledging the site. while there is symmetry in the surround, certain details contradict the essence of the whole. and this contradiction can be seen within the graphics.

temple of amon : we appreciate the exploration of color for a polychromatic society, forms used within the design of the structure miss the expression of karnak as a collection of portals. the depth of the triangular pediment and the color blocks behind it bring a level of contrast but we have a hard time seeing how rhythm, boundaries, proximity and balance work within the composition.

lion's gate :
we appreciate the sited-ness of the installation, but do see a direct connection to the massive, solemn, compressing characteristics of Mycenae. the exploration of material echoes structure in tension and not in compression. internally the graphic blocks lack clarity in composition and execution.

palace, phylos :
playful character of this installation belies a building tradition at phylos that speaks of calm rationality. while color was explored in the graphics, the group missed the opportunity to address this in the larger whole. we appreciate the messy vitality and vibrancy of the approach but wonder about the wisdom of the geometries in its component parts.

propylaia :
the perpendicular fins shape an experience that has depth and surface variety. we find this to be parallel to the experience of the propylaia. we appreciate that the group explored multiple views in their work. the graphics lack clarity.

pantheon :
light spills in waves, cascading down this portal in sharp contrast to the singularly focused beam of light experienced in this building. anything but playful the light experience in the pantheon grounds our understanding of the building and the universe it shapes there. the light here scatters rather than coalesces. graphics do not link with the other design work.

baths of caracalla :
we applaud achieving compression with cardboard, but fail to understand the lack of exploration in surface material and quality so key to the construction of the bath. one graphic panel indicates striving for craft – but the group does not deliver on that pledge.
“old” saint peter’s : compositionally, the varying sized tubes draw our eye to the far end of the first floor corridor. on arrival we learn that this representation works against the very building assigned. without explanation in the graphics, the viewers are left to draw their own conclusions about connections. as a symbol of permanence and importance, st. peter’s basilica gets lost here.

REMEMBER, the lessons you learn from this “found in translation and then” exercise should DEFINITELY be applied to your precedent analysis at the end of the semester. keep this post handy!

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