An architecture without Motion is an architecture without Life. But what qualifies Motion? Motion is the encapsulation of the user’s circulation through a building. Motion implies, in a static structure, the capability of a building to rise up and move on its own accord. It is the successful articulation of Three-Dimensional space. Throughout history, motion has typically been expressed along stylistic lines. Those who followed the Classical tradition tended to express motion in a form of Repose, emphasizing symmetry, while those of the Gothic expressed it in Fluidity, utilizing asymmetry. The early Modernists understood the importance of motion in architecture with the emphasis of asymmetry and Free-Flowing spaces that promote natural circulation. Contemporary Deconstructivists exhibit motion through the Amorphous forms of their works. Through the use of Motion, an architect can direct the inhabitant of a structure to desired locations, as well as bring them to fulfill desired Behaviors. The proper utilization of motion in architecture can bring people to quiet contemplation, as in the soaring, upward motion of a Cathedral, or to ecstatic joy, as in the communal space of a Stadium. Architecture should not merely relegate the expression of motion to the circulation spaces of a structure. A great structure exhibits motion in its entirety. Just as the interior circulation brings the body to move, the exterior appearance must bring the eyes to move. Whether it is upward with the Burj Khalifa or along the horizon with the Robie House, the eyes must wander. Certain architecture even seems to come alive with movement, appearing to be able to leap up from its site, such as Eero Saarinen’s TWA Terminal. In order to make a successful architecture the designer needs to consider the sensory impact of kinetic motion on the user. Bringing the user to stay in Tranquility in reverence to a building’s motion is equally as powerful as bringing them to explore it in Curiosity.
Great Architecture is almost always most easily described through the Metaphor. Entire schools, styles, and types of buildings have been named for their metaphors, think of Skyscrapers and the Prairie School. Throughout history, architectural thinkers have based their aesthetic theories on the proper source of metaphors. Le Corbusier emphasized the need for an Industrial metaphor, while John Ruskin urged the opposite, a plea to use the images of the Natural world. While these appeals for Metaphors largely focused on the historical use of metaphors as Elements of architecture, through the utilization of the acanthus leaves of Corinthian Capitals to the molecular lattice of the Geodesic Dome, contemporary Pop Architecture has tended to extend the use of metaphors to the work as a Whole, going as far as extending metaphors of design to entire cities and regions. But what is the importance of the Metaphor? The Human Mind is wired to comprehend metaphors, we see faces in clouds and gods in the stars. So why use it? The metaphor breaks down the complexities of architecture to make it more Accessible and Relatable, to the human mind and body. A metaphor helps to convey to the Client the organizational and design intent of a project, it helps the Public rationalize the aesthetics of a structure, and it assists the Designer in making sense of a difficult problem. In general, the metaphor makes a convoluted, Abstract idea into something Familiar and effortless. The architect should apply the idea of the metaphor at all levels of the Parti, from the detail of a door to the shape of a room to the form of the building. It does not matter the Source of the metaphor. Beautiful and successful designs have utilized the metaphors of both the naturalists and the industrialists. The metaphor is essential. The metaphor is the abstract expression of a building as a non-architectural object, a parti. The greatest Architecture is driven by a strong parti. The strongest parti is driven by a clear and conducive Metaphor.
Certain architects, like Peter Zumthor and Renzo Piano, have been known for the intricacies of their Details. Others, such as Rem Koolhaas and Daniel Libeskind, have been known for the magnificence of their Built Forms. Still others are more known for the geometries of their Urban Plans, like Le Corbusier and L’Enfant. It is even rarer that an architect is known for their care of design across the Magnitudes. An architect that plans across the magnitudes is an architect that designs for all. The design of a Door Knob is no less important to a masterpiece than the street presence of a Facade. Good architecture has the capability of changing the outlook of a failing city, as did Gehry’s Guggenheim Bilbao. It is also capable of changing entire corporate strategies, as Foster’s HSBC Building in Hong Kong did. With the capacity for change that architecture brings to all magnitudes of society, it is necessary that the architect considers the application of the Parti to all these many layers. The architect can approach this problem in a multitude of ways. They may choose to be Reductivist and remove all unnecessary intricate details from all but a particular magnitude, just as SANAA’s New Museum in Manhattan does. Another option is to owe intense amounts of detail to the Human scale as Wright does in Fallingwater. Despite the disparate natures of these designs, they all have something in common. They are all consistent in their attention to the magnitudes. An architect that pays close heed to the human scale should carefully consider all aspects of that magnitude, not missing a single handrail. An architect that desires a strong Urban impact needs to think of every oncoming street and surrounding structure. With this focus, the architect must carefully decide how to treat the other scales, whether by copying the moves and methods of their chosen scale, or creating a brand new parti for every scale from the detail to the room to the building, city and region. The designer needs to care for all Magnitudes with a thoughtful a parti.
The Spontaneity of the urban plaza, the Action of a street corner, and the Vibrance of free space gain their life more from the creativeness of the human person than they do from the explicit intent of a designer. This vivacity is a result of unprogrammed space, also known as Wasted Space. Over-reliance on the double-functioning element and the elimination of wasted space has created a Dead architecture. But why waste? Wasted space is analogous to the Vestigial organs of the human body. These organs include body hair and the ear lobes. Now imagine human aesthetics if these non-essential organs were removed. While having no functional purpose, these organs have been given new, non-biological uses, in earrings and mohawks for example. They help add to the beauty of Functional Machines. Otherwise useless objects have been given new life by human ingenuity. In architecture, wasted space should be seen as a similar opportunity for ingenuity and action. This is not to say that the the designer should be Neglectful in planning or design, quite the opposite in fact. Rather than creating wasted space through neglect, the designer must plan and prepare for it. This essentially creates Programmed, Unprogrammed Space. This unprogrammed space is intentially created without a functional use in mind. By extending and expanding a hallway, or by giving it a simple bend, the architect not only creates a unique aesthetic, but also grants the space a potential for unique Human Activity. History is rife with examples of spaces being used for Unintended Purposes. The empty swimming pools of drought-ridden Southern California in the 1970s became the first skate parks. Empty warehouses in Chicago and Detroit became the first places where House music was heard. Humans are marvelously creative creatures. We will take what is old or useless and make it new. Culture is made this way, through the unintentional actions of society. The architect must realize this and begin to be thoughtfully wasteful.
Michael Green is an aspiring young student, majoring in Architecture and minoring in Mathematics and Sociology at Northeastern University with an expected graduation in May 2014. He currently has a GPA of 3.416, which maintains his status as an Honor Student. After receiving his undergraduate degree, Michael Green is considering pursuing a Masterâ€™s Degree in Structural Engineering. At Northeastern University, he is an active participant in the Art Collaborative Club, AIAS, Students for Justice in Palestine, and the Golden Key Club. Although having only studied architecture for a relatively short time, Michael Green has had a wide variety of experiences in the field. In the summer of 2011, he interned at Busch Associates of Bay Shore, NY. There he participated in all aspects of the architectural process: from field measurements to design to construction documents. In the summer of 2010, he interned at Brookhaven National Laboratory in the Modernization Project Office and designed a theoretical United States Post Office. Earlier that same summer, he worked with Lewis Portal, a local architect, and received a general introduction to the field. Before 2010, Michael had worked at Baiting Hollow Scout Camp where he had worked his way up over 5 summers to the management of a program area. He has abilities in a variety of design software including AutoCAD, Google SketchUp, Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign, Kerkythea, Photomatix Pro, MS Office, Apple iWorks, as well as an understanding of C++ and MatLab. His manual skills include Modeling in Multiple Materials, Photography, Sketching, and Woodwork. In January of 2009, Michael Green was awarded the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest award in Scouting. Besides architecture, Michael Green enjoys running, comic books, cooking and the outdoors. Born January 1991, in El Paso, TX, he was raised and currently lives on Long Island, NY.
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