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I Want to Face the Challenges of Architecture

When you drive home from work, do you ever explore? Sure, it might take longer than usual, and there may be unpleasant stops along the way, but occasionally you will find an unexpected surprise. By casting aside strict conventions and routines and by taking risks, we can achieve things we never considered or thought possible.

I find that many people in our religiously capitalist society only seek the fastest, cheapest, and most efficient route. While some industries hire to increase diversity and thereby innovation, many dare not attempt anything new. In particular, many established architects and developers fear taking chances and fear the risk of failure inherent in untested methods. I, on the other hand, believe that architects must not feel constrained by the past but must follow-up on promising possibilities.

Exploring undiscovered methods and paths requires self-criticism, self-assurance, and courage. In my junior year in college, I doubted the teaching style of my instructor in my first design studio class. I felt as if he pushed his own rigid ideas into the students' creations and did not allow the students the opportunity to pursue their own original designs. Fearing my intellectual growth might be stunted by his lectures and dissatisfied with his teaching, I basically taught myself design by researching and combing through hundreds of architecture books. Through my own studies, I came to realize that architecture should be learned, not preached. That semester, I further challenged myself by working on a design of my own creation, a design not assigned by my instructor. While it would have been easier to accept the instructor' s lessons and just follow his ideas, I realized that I could never take the easy way again now that I discovered that the beauty of architecture lies in learning it myself. That semester helped formulate my approach towards architecture and influence my design decisions to this day.

Although self-motivation is extremely important, seeking the guidance and critique of others is essential to good design since others can find what I may have overlooked. One critic who has been particularly crucial to the development of my work is Craig Scott, a Progressive Architecture Awards Winner in 1996,who worked together with Homa Fardjadi and Sima Fardjadi. Craig was my studio critic during the spring term of 1997. His instruction helped me achieve a level of design that I could not have attained from books alone. Of greatest importance, he taught me a combination of methodology and theory to the process of creating designs. He taught me to begin with a simple conceptual spatial model, then add site context and programmatic concerns to create an integrated building. The application of a methodology to the design process made my work more structured and rigorous than before.

In Craig' s studio, I designed a furniture workshop for downtown Ann Arbor that was chosen as an exhibit in the 1997 Summer Student Exhibition in the University of Michigan. Professors chose the most outstanding projects in their studio and put them in the exhibition. Although this was certainly not a major trophy, the exhibition represented my first accomplishment in the studio and was a milestone in my architectural career. When I saw my work in the exhibition room, all the failures and difficulties I had experienced seemed worth it. Later, I designed urban housing in downtown Ann Arbor for the fall studio 1997,which was also chosen as an exhibit in the 1998 Annual Student Exhibition. For that exhibition, entitled 'Taking Aim, ' each professor chose the best three projects from his/her studio. In the exhibition, the alumni of previous years and students from other architecture schools were invited to share our success. These exhibitions were important to me not only because my designs were chosen, but also because they gave me the opportunity to display my work before the most important critics of all -- the general public, which included the students and teachers from different years and different schools.

I plan to continue my studies at the graduate school level to have the opportunity to interact and share knowledge with students who are as focused and excited about architecture as I am. I have visited the Graduate School of Design several times, and each time I left impressed and enlightened by the variety and complexity of the students' work. The work I saw at GSD had that same element of innovation and freshness that I strive for, the one that goes beyond the ordinary path. I want to be an explorer and to face challenges that I can solve with sheer will and creativity.
The dream of building a new city for the future on a clean slate, with the purpose of promoting research and experimentation alongside integral development, has been attracting architects and students of architecture from all over the world ever since Auroville´s inception in 1968. Not having pre-defined by-laws or being bound by the conventions of human society has allowed a multitude of expressions to manifest in the course of Auroville´s development, as natural extensions of the quest for the new.
The history of modern architecture shows the personality of the architect who designed it. This style began in the United States and Europe. It then spread from there to the rest of the world. Modern architects reacted against the architecture of the 19th century; they thought it borrowed too many ideas from the past. As the 20th century began they believed it was necessary to invent an architecture that expressed the spirit of a new age and would surpass the styles, materials, and technologies of earlier architecture. New materials that were introduced were glass, steel, and concrete. Germanic culture has cross-pollinated with world culture through the medium of architecture. Like many of the other mediums that the Germans have affected world culture through, the Germans were pioneers in revolutionizing architecture through new methods and ideas yet to be tested. Like literature and cinema, architecture is another classic example of how the Germans did the best job with creating something new. The style of Germanic architecture can best be summarized in one word, modernism. The ideas and images associated with modern architecture are of Germanic origin.

The first ideas of architecture came out of the first civilization in world history, which was the Greek civilization. The Greeks were directly followed by the Roman civilization that surpassed that of the Greeks, being a much more militarily aggressive empire. But the Romans stole many of the Greek architectural ideas. Hence, the first historical period that classifies architecture is the Classical period that embodies both the Greek and Roman ideas. The next period in architecture is the Romanesque period, which came at the end of the dark ages until the beginnings of the Renaissance in 1410,

Thesis: Architecture is among one of the most fascinating of man’s work since the beginning of time.

Architecture is among one of the most fascinating aspects of man’s work since the beginning of time. Architecture entails a timeline, as well as an expression of life, the society, and the talents of many people. It is a useful art and, like painting and sculpture, it can also be a fine art that touches all of our lives. Without architecture, there would be no buildings or art of any kind. It is the architects that designs and creates from imagination the structures that can be seen today.

The world of architecture is everywhere. It has been one of the major conquests of humanity to design structures to bring the thrill of lasting beauty to the eye of the beholde
One career that I have been interested in for a long time is architecture. Architects are involved in the negotiation, design, and the supervision of construction of a clients request. This may be from something as simple as a house add-on, to something as grande as a shopping mall. Architecture has interested me for many years. I have always enjoyed the great detail and thorough drawings that are involved. Architects use difficult mathematical functions just as much as they use art and design. The use of angles, dimensions, and all fields of geometry are used daily to make sure that the structure they are designing comes out to scale, with all the right angles, and dimensions that the! client requested. An architect is not an easy career to succeed in. Although once an architect does succeed, it is very well worth it. Most architects work an average of 40 to 45 hour weeks
An architect designs and sometimes supervises
the construction of buildings. Anything from tunnels that run far
beneath the ground, to skyscrapers that tower above it, architects have
always had a hand in building these great structures. Yes, you too
can be an architect! But how, you ask? Just read on, and you
will find out!

Architects have designed the greatest
buildings in history, from the stoic World Trade Center in New York, to
the graceful and natural Falling Waters house in Pennsylvania, building
styles differ as much as the architects who build them. One of the
most famous architects is Frank Lloyd Wright, who designed the aforementioned

Falling Waters and also the Robie house in Illinois. He is often
considered the most creative architect of our time for his use of natural
surroundings and building materials found in nature. No other man
has made such an impact on architecture as Frank Lloyd Wright.

Architects can work in a variety
of conditions, but most work in office buildings that contain architectural
firms of about three to six people. However, sometimes the job demands
that an architect go out on the actual building site to supervise construction.

This is a minor inconvenience to the architects, but on a general scale,
architects have extremely comfortable surroundings that promote less stress
among them. Often, and more so nowadays, architectural firms are
adopting CAD programs, or Computer Aided Design as the main tool for designing
buildings. It provides an easy to use interface over the previous
pencil and paper method. As a result, CAD software is growing vastly
in usage and many colleges are now offering courses just in CAD.

Often, architects have to make considerations
before the actual design phase of any building. The most important
of these is cost. If a building is made of cheaper building materials,
the architectural firm gets more money from the buyer. Other considerations
are the style of the building, which depends heavily upon the surrounding
buildings, not to mention the environment, functionality, elevations, and
zoning regulations. The zoning regulations limit the size and shape
of the building so that it doesn’t interfere with the area around the building
and the overall skyline of the neighborhood. Often, zoning regulations
are a large problem in major cities, and architects either have to compromise
with the zoning authority or have the building not be built at all.

These compromises are an annoyance for architects and make life a little
interesting for these public servants.

Usually, in any job, the closer
you are to a city, the more money you make. In the case of architects,
this is especially true. In booming areas, the demand for architects
is incredibly high, often too high for the current amount of architects
in the area to fill. And so more architects are brought in fresh
out of college, and the demand is met. As long as somewhere in the
world there is a demand for buildings, there will always be a demand for
architects. This gives architects extremely good job security and
makes them very happy. Architects usually make between forty and
one hundred thousand dollars a year, depending on such factors like experience
and notoriety of the firm and once again closeness to an urban area.

To be considered a professional
architect, you must attend four years of school and major in architecture,
and then attend two more years of post-graduate school. I would like
to go to Duke University because their architecture program is one of the
best in the world. However, I will accept going to a smaller school
if I don’t have enough cash or my grades aren’t up to par.

Overall, I think architects have
one of the better jobs out there. They get to earn money, be very
independent, and help people have houses to live and businesses to work
at. I like the idea of being a civil servant and that is part of
the reason I want to be an architect. But mostly I want to do what

I’ve always wanted to do; design houses that will outlast me, my children,
and maybe even my grandchildren.

Victorian Architecture

Summary: Victorian architectural styles are used in modern residential construction of today. The irresistible charm of the Victorian house has made the Victorian era a historical symbol of elegance and class. Roses and ruffles! Ribbons and cherry! Mahogany and marble! Does any particular word come to mind? For anyone with architectural knowledge, the word "Victorian" should be writing itself across his or her forehead. During the reign of Britain's Queen Victoria (1837 - 1901) architecture became a fanatical beauty as the Victorian house became an expression of character, social status, and aspirations. (Sommer, 7-8.)

Gothic Revival, Italianate, French Chateau style, Second empire, Greek Revival, and Romanesque Revival all influenced the picturesque beauty of Victorian architecture. The Victorian house was built with wood, brick, and stone. The exterior was accented with shingles, stucco, ornaments of delicate spindle-work, bright contrasting colors, wrought-iron crestwork, and stained glass. (Sommer, 10-12.) Large porches called verandahs were commonly found wrapping around two to three sides of a Victorian house. The verandahs were like a large outdoor sitting room. The verandahs often had gingerbread like trim, and decorate railings of floral and lacy motifs. (Sommer, 96 - 97) Some verandahs were fully furnished with a table and chairs for dinning. (Sommer, 141). Floral gardens and walks were designed by landscape architects that, along with the verandahs, united the house with its grounds. Victorian architects were very respectful of the relationship between house and site. (Sommer, 95)

The Victorian House is made up of both formal and informal rooms. The front parlor and dinning room were generally more formal than the back parlor, kitchen, and bedrooms. The utility area, which consisted of the kitchen, basement, laundry room, and servants quarters was often grouped together in the same portion of the house, spreading over various levels with staircases separate from the main. (Sommer, 126.) The main staircase was most often located in the grand entrance foyer. Victorian foyers often had marble tiled floors, grand French doors carved and varnished with great detail, and metal crestwork that created patterns of light and shadow. (Sommer, 127.) The wide sweeping main staircases arose from the open foyer with elaborately carved railings and stair detail. Large stained glass picture windows were often located at the landings of a grand staircase. (Sommer, 135.) The Victorians believed it was proper for public rooms and bedrooms to be located on separate floors. (Zingman-Leith, Elan, 91.)

The Victorian bedroom was considered a feminine domain and private retreat. (Sommer, 136.) The typical Victorian bedroom consisted of a bed, armoire, chest, table, chairs, and commode. The beds came in sizes of full, three quarters, and half. The bed would most likely had a huge arched rosewood headboard with ruffled engraved roses at the top. The footboard was generally a smaller version of the headboard with matching engravings. Sideboards wrapped around the bed, connecting the headboard and footboard, creating a compartment for the mattress. The armoire, chest, mirrors, and drawers usually had similar arches and floral engravings to those of the bed. Closets were not common in Victorian homes because clothing was generally stored in armoires and trunks. (Zingman-Leith, Susan, 46 - 47.) Many Victorian bedrooms had Sleeping Porches. Sleeping Porches were balconies that one could sleep on to breath in fresh air all night long. (Zingman-Leith, Elan, 105) The bedrooms were usually wall to wall carpet, of light colored floral designs. The walls were most often wallpapered with stripes and floral designs. Wallpaper was generally floral in all rooms of the Victorian home. Some wallpaper was glazed with satins or silks and often divided into vertical sections. Many rooms also had borders of wallpaper at the top of the walls. The borders were generally of darker colors and often used to conceal the joining together of the wallpaper sheets. (Zingman-Leith, Susan, 37-38).

Bathrooms became more and more common in Victorian homes. The earlier bathrooms were commonly sheathed in wood with carved decorations. There were wooden cases for the toilet and the tub. Later on in the Victorian era bathrooms most commonly had hexagonal white tiled floor and walls, which made the bathroom much easier to clean. Bathtubs were claw-footed, as were the pedestal sinks. All of the bathroom pipes were left exposed, as it was believed to be cleaner that way. (Zingman-Leith, Susan, 114-116.)

Early Victorian kitchens had wooden counters with built in bins for flour, potatoes, beans, and other goods. There were also wooden cabinets lining the walls that held the dishes and glasses. These cabinets were concealed with glass doors. Open shelves for groceries also lined the walls, as did hooks for hanging utensils. Kitchens had cast-iron sinks with either faucets or pumps depending upon the water supply. All pipes and plumbing were left exposed. In the center of the kitchen a table and chairs were often placed upon an oilcloth or linen canvas. The kitchen floor was generally bare wood. Later on in the Victorian era the sink, counters, and other kitchen furniture were raised up on legs. Since underneath the furniture was then accessible, cleaning the kitchen became easier and more thorough. (Zingman-Leith, Susan, 116-117).

Victorian houses were generous with windows, decorative on the interior and exterior. The exterior windows were most often trimmed with gingerbread-like moldings. (Sommer, 96.) The interiors of the windows were highly decorative with at least five layers of upholstery. At the top of the window arrangement there were cornices of either wooden moldings or thinly pressed metal swirls. Below the cornice was a valance. The valances were most often solid colors with tassels, cords, and fringe that may have been gathered in swags. The drapes matched the material of the valance and were full and gathered in large folds. The drapes were held back by tiebacks made of metal, cord, or tassels. The drapes were most often velvet, silk, satin, or wool and matched the color of the walls. Beneath the drapes were lighter curtains of lace or net. Underneath these curtains were shades of linen, often stenciled with elaborate floral designs. Strings pulled up the shades, allowing sunlight to enter the room. (Zingman-Leith, Susan 45-46.)

The walls of Victorian houses were very decorative. Walls were most often floral wallpapered or wood paneled with intricately carved designs. Mahogany, cherry, oak, pine, and walnut were used in Victorian interiors. On the walls ornamental coat and hat racks hung. Portraits of landscapes and famous people were popular wall decorations. Large mirrors of French plate glass could be found hanging on the walls, often above mantels. The walls of Victorian houses were lined with shelving and bow front cabinets etched with glass doors display valuables and photographs. The fireplace mantels were often of many different layers, also used to display valuables. (Sommer, 126.) Mantels were most often made of white marble with semi-circular arched openings. The marble often had leaf and floral moldings at the top of the fireplace's arch. (Zingman-Leith, Susan, 35-36.)

Victorian ceilings were generally of plaster. Some ceilings were painted to mirror the floral wall to wall carpet common in many rooms. If not carpeted, floors were either tiled or pattern-carved wood. The wooden carved floors were called parquet floors. (Sommer, 127.)

Rosewood was the preferred wood of Victorian furniture because it was less expensive than the more solid mahogany. Victorian furniture was famous for S-shaped curves and claw legs. Marble-top furniture was also very popular. Lace doilies were placed beneath most objects set upon the marble. (Zingman-Leith, Susan, 33-35.) Gas lamps generally lighted Victorian homes. The most popular Victorian lamps had pear-shaped bases and lampshades decorated with tassels. (Zingman-Leith, Susan, 35.)

Flowers, tassels, pastels, pinks, moldings, and engravings combine together to make the Victorian home a Romanesque beauty. Victorians took pride in their homes, as it was believed that their houses displayed not only social status, but also the status the owners aspired for. (Sommer, 8 - 10.) Victorian architectural styles are used in modern residential construction of today. The irresistible charm of the Victorian house has made the Victorian era a historical symbol of elegance and class.

By Stacy Ann Padula 2001


Sommer, Robin L.: The Victorian House. Edison, NJ. Chartwell Books Inc., 1999.

Zingman-Leith, Elan: The Secret Life of Victorian Houses. Washington DC. Elliot & Clark Publishing, 1993.

Zingman-Leith, Susan: Creating Authentic Victorian Rooms. Washington DC. Elliot & Clark Publishing, 1995.

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Architecture (Latin architectura, from the Greek ἀρχιτέκτων – arkhitekton, from ἀρχι- "chief" and τέκτων "builder, carpenter, mason") can mean:
The art and science of designing and erecting buildings and other physical structures.
The practice of an architect, where architecture means to offer or render professional services in connection with the design and construction of a building, or group of buildings and the space within the site surrounding the buildings, that have as their principal purpose human occupancy or use.[1]
A general term to describe buildings and other structures.
A style and method of design and construction of buildings and other physical structures.
A wider definition may comprise all design activity, from the macro-level (urban design, landscape architecture) to the micro-level (construction details and furniture). Architecture is both the process and product of planning, designing and constructing form, space and ambience that reflect functional, technical, social, environmental, and aesthetic considerations. It requires the creative manipulation and coordination of material, technology, light and shadow. Architecture also encompasses the pragmatic aspects of realizing buildings and structures, including scheduling, cost estimating and construction administration. As documentation produced by architects, typically drawings, plans and technical specifications, architecture defines the structure and/or behavior of a building or any other kind of system that is to be or has been constructed.
Architectural works are often perceived as cultural and political symbols and as works of art. Historical civilizations are often identified with their surviving architectural achievements.
Architecture sometimes refers to the activity of designing any kind of system and the term is common in the information technology world.


Historic treatises


The Parthenon, Athens, Greece, "the supreme example among architectural sites." (Fletcher).[2]
The earliest surviving written work on the subject of architecture is De architectura, by the Roman architect Vitruvius in the early 1st century CE.[3] According to Vitruvius, a good building should satisfy the three principles of firmitas, utilitas, venustas,[4][5] which translate roughly as –
Durability – it should stand up robustly and remain in good condition.
Utility – it should be useful and function well for the people using it
Beauty – it should delight people and raise their spirits.
According to Vitruvius, the architect should strive to fulfill each of these three attributes as well as possible. Leone Battista Alberti, who elaborates on the ideas of Vitruvius in his treatise, De Re Aedificatoria, saw beauty primarily as a matter of proportion, although ornament also played a part. For Alberti, the rules of proportion were those that governed the idealised human figure, the Golden mean. The most important aspect of beauty was therefore an inherent part of an object, rather than something applied superficially; and was based on universal, recognisable truths. The notion of style in the arts was not developed until the 16th century, with the writing of Vasari.[6] The treatises, by the 18th century, had been translated into Italian, French, Spanish and English.
St Mary's Cathedral, Killarney, designed by A.W.N. Pugin
In the early nineteenth century, Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin wrote Contrasts (1836) that, as the titled suggested, contrasted the modern, industrial world, which he disparaged, with an idealized image of neo-medieval world. Gothic architecture, Pugin believed, was the only “true Christian form of architecture.”
The 19th century English art critic, John Ruskin, in his Seven Lamps of Architecture, published 1849,[7] was much narrower in his view of what constituted architecture. Architecture was the "art which so disposes and adorns the edifices raised by men ... that the sight of them" contributes "to his mental health, power, and pleasure".
For Ruskin, the aesthetic was of overriding significance. His work goes on to state that a building is not truly a work of architecture unless it is in some way "adorned". For Ruskin, a well-constructed, well-proportioned, functional building needed string courses or rustication, at the very least.
On the difference between the ideals of "architecture" and mere "construction", the renowned 20th C. architect Le Corbusier wrote: "You employ stone, wood, and concrete, and with these materials you build houses and palaces: that is construction. Ingenuity is at work. But suddenly you touch my heart, you do me good. I am happy and I say: This is beautiful. That is Architecture"


Historic treatises

Ancient architecture


In many ancient civilizations, such as the Egyptians' and Mesopotamians', architecture and urbanism reflected the constant engagement with the divine and the supernatural, and many ancient cultures resorted to monumentality in architecture to represent symbolically the political power of the ruler, the ruling elite, or the state itself.
The architecture and urbanism of the Classical civilizations such as the Greek and the Roman evolved from civic ideals rather than religious or empirical ones and new building types emerged. Architectural styles developed.
Texts on architecture have been written since ancient time. These texts provided both general advice and specific formal prescriptions or canons. Some examples of canons are found in the writings of the 1st-century BCE Roman military engineer Vitruvius, the Kao Gong Ji of ancient China[10] and Vaastu Shastra of ancient India and Manjusri Vasthu Vidya Sastra of Sri Lanka. Some of the most important early examples of canonic architecture are religious.


Early modern and the industrial age


With the emerging knowledge in scientific fields and the rise of new materials and technology, architecture and engineering began to separate, and the architect began to concentrate on aesthetics and the humanist aspects, often at the expense of technical aspects of building design. There was also the rise of the "gentleman architect" who usually dealt with wealthy clients and concentrated predominantly on visual qualities derived usually from historical prototypes, typified by the many country houses of Great Britain that were created in the Neo Gothic or Scottish Baronial styles. Formal architectural training in the 19th century, for example at Ecole des Beaux Arts in France, gave much emphasis to the production of beautiful drawings and little to context and feasibility. Effective architects generally received their training in the offices of other architects, graduating to the role from draughtsmen or clerks.
Meanwhile, the Industrial Revolution laid open the door for mass production and consumption. Aesthetics became a criterion for the middle class as ornamented products, once within the province of expensive craftsmanship, became cheaper under machine production.
Vernacular architecture became increasingly ornamental. House builders could use current architectural design in their work by combining features found in pattern books and architectural journals.

Modernism and reaction of architecture


When Modern architecture was first practiced, it was an avant-garde movement with moral, philosophical, and aesthetic underpinnings. Immediately after World War I, pioneering modernist architects sought to develop a completely new style appropriate for a new post-war social and economic order, focused on meeting the needs of the middle and working classes. They rejected the architectural practice of the academic refinement of historical styles which served the rapidly declining aristocratic order. The approach of the Modernist architects was to reduce buildings to pure forms, removing historical references and ornament in favor of functionalist details. Buildings displayed their functional and structural elements, exposing steel beams and concrete surfaces instead of hiding them behind decorative forms.
Architects such as Mies van der Rohe, Philip Johnson and Marcel Breuer worked to create beauty based on the inherent qualities of building materials and modern construction techniques, trading traditional historic forms for simplified geometric forms, celebrating the new means and methods made possible by the Industrial Revolution, including steel-frame construction, which gave birth to high-rise superstructures. By mid-century, Modernism had morphed into the International Style, an aesthetic epitomized in many ways by the Twin Towers of New York's World Trade Center.
Many architects resisted Modernism, finding it devoid of the decorative richness of ornamented styles and as the founders of that movement lost influence in the late 1970s, Postmodernism developed as a reaction against its austerity. Robert Venturi's contention that a "decorated shed" (an ordinary building which is functionally designed inside and embellished on the outside) was better than a "duck" (an ungainly building in which the whole form and its function are tied together) gives an idea of this approach.


Modern concepts of architecture


The great 19th century architect of skyscrapers, Louis Sullivan, promoted an overriding precept to architectural design: "Form follows function".
While the notion that structural and aesthetic considerations should be entirely subject to functionality was met with both popularity and skepticism, it had the effect of introducing the concept of "function" in place of Vitruvius' "utility". "Function" came to be seen as encompassing all criteria of the use, perception and enjoyment of a building, not only practical but also aesthetic, psychological and cultural.
Nunzia Rondanini stated, "Through its aesthetic dimension architecture goes beyond the functional aspects that it has in common with other human sciences. Through its own particular way of expressing values, architecture can stimulate and influence social life without presuming that, in and of itself, it will promote social development.'
To restrict the meaning of (architectural) formalism to art for art's sake is not only reactionary; it can also be a purposeless quest for perfection or originality which degrades form into a mere instrumentality".[9]
Among the philosophies that have influenced modern architects and their approach to building design are rationalism, empiricism, structuralism, poststructuralism, and phenomenology.
In the late 20th century a new concept was added to those included in the compass of both structure and function, the consideration of sustainability. To satisfy the contemporary ethos a building should be constructed in a manner which is environmentally friendly in terms of the production of its materials, its impact upon the natural and built environment of its surrounding area and the demands that it makes upon non-sustainable power sources for heating, cooling, water and waste management and lighting.

Dynamic Architecture - Rotating Tower


Expression of core values

The architecture expressed by the dreams and aspirations of a nation or a community stand as an expression of its core values in matter and the multiplicity of styles and typologies found in Auroville reflect the socio-economic, cultural, ideological, ecological and climatic factors that have shaped us over 3 decades. They present a visual history of our development and evolution for all to see.




Wide range of experiments

As this website will amply demonstrate, experimentation in building done in Auroville covers various aspects of architecture, and includes building materials, building technology, eco-friendly architecture, climate responsive designs, integration with natural surroundings, cost-effective buildings, geomancy and geometry, as well as the design of spaces themselves, including experimenting with the lifestyle of the user. There has also been spillover into the design and management of building infrastructure, the building of integrated rainwater harvesting systems, domestic waste water treatment plants and the integration of renewable energy systems for energy demands.

Pioneering stage

The buildings of the first decade, which was our veritable pioneering stage, adopted the vernacular building materials of casurina, keet, palm leaf and thatch. The builders took these materials of construction to high forms of self-expression and imagination, and worked in close interaction with the local artisans. The large 'Aspiration' settlement is a lively proof of the durability of experimentation done at the time.

Creative revolution

At the same time, the push to experiment for 'community living' as a step towards the future city, gave rise to 'Auromodèle', which area still remains an architectural exposition of forms and shapes that break the mould of the conventional principle of 'four walls and a roof' habitation. These beginnings provoked a creative revolution in the self-builders of the 70's and the early 80's in experimenting with building materials, technology, design and life-styles.

Applied research

One of the results of this period was serious applied research, and the last decade has seen considerable advances in ferro-cement technology for roofs and interior fittings as well as compressed earth blocks for load bearing structures, some of which have won national design awards and significant grants-in-aid from agencies that support these innovations.

Some descriptions of houses

In order to give you some idea of Auroville's architecture, we offer descriptions of some of its houses and buildings, and will continue in future to do so. The range of expression is immense. The articles given here, written by Aurovilian architects Anupama Kundoo and Sheril Castelino were published in Indian architecture magazines and may give you glimpses of the care and sense of responsible innovation practiced by the Aurovilians.

Though dissimilar in aspect, each of the described houses establishes a strong relationship with the environment, with nature, - each on its own terms.



Architecture: An Excellent Career Choice

The career I have chosen for this project is Architecture. A building architect to be more specific. The career has many characteristics of work that I wish to pursue as I grow up. The main idea is thinking of new, and visually nice designs to grab your client’s attention for them to buy your design. It also is a job were mathematics and now computer training is needed. The nature of work of an Architect is basically the design of building and other structures. The design of the building must not only be creative and what the client wants, but their is many different regulations and rules to follow to make the building affordable, safe, and proper size for it to fit in its specifically picked out plantation. First the Architect and the client must discuss the basic idea of the project, giving him basic ideas like size, shape, number of rooms and budget. The Architect will then make blue prints or drawing of his ideas, then present them to the client or clients who he is working for, to see if they like his idea and if they have any comments or suggestions that they would like to get met. If the clients like that idea of the building, the Architect must then draw final construction plans which show the building’s general appearance and details for it’s construction. Such details as the air-conditioning, ventilation and electrical systems to name a few. Architects now sometimes turn to computer-aided design and drafting or (CADD) only a few Architects will plan all their work out by hand anymore. The working conditions of the Architect are pretty lenient; they like to work in comfortable environments, some times at home or an office to make up their designs. This is mainly why I want to pursue this profession, because of the liberal, flexible use of your time. But most of their time is spent going to their client’s offices or working with other architect. Also sometimes they will go to the construction site of where their design is being built to see how things are running and to make sure they built it as he wanted or to answer any questions. Architects some times have to work long hours and weekends to meet specific deadlines, which can start to be very stressful. The training and education for architects isn’t any thing outrageous. All states require an architect to be licensed before he/she starts to make their own designs. Before they are licensed they are called intern-architects, basically just helping prepare construction designs or assisting in the design. This training period gives them basic work experience while they prepare for the Architect Registration Examination (ARE). A licensed architect is required to take all legal responsibility for all their work. There are several types of professional degrees in architecture. The majority of all architecture degrees are from a five-year Bachelor of Architecture programs. Some schools offer a two-year Master of Architecture program for students with a professional undergraduate degree in architecture. It is very helpful for the architect to have artistic and drawing ability to visually show their ideas to clients, but it is not an absolute requirement. Good communication skills, the ability to work alone or as a part of a team are also important as well as creativity are also important qualities to have for any one who wishes to pursue a career in architecture. The job outlook for an architect is average. Because of so many businesses’ expanding and population consistently growing, there is a growing demand for new building, houses, developments and other structures of that sort. But prominent architects may face competition especially if the numbers of architectural degrees stay at or increase above its current level. Many people are interested in the field, and the numbers of applicants sometimes exceed the number of available jobs. Although the needed renovation of old-buildings, especially in urban areas where space for new building is becoming limited, is expected to give many job opportunities for architects. The earnings for architects start at around $27,000 for intern-architects. Licensed architects with three to five years of experience have an expected earning of around $33,000. Architects with eight to ten years of experience, but do not work for a firm earn around $45, 000. Partners of firms earn from $75,000 to $100,000, although some partners for larger firms earn quite more. After all the information I have gathered about the field of architecture I still think I would like to take this up as a career. The job opportunities are small in some places, but here in the Bay Area it should be very plentiful. This career will be something that seems to be challenging and rewarding. Just imagine the possibilities a career in architecture could bring. For instance, one could build his or her fully customized dream house one day, loaded with one’s own personal touches. Another benefit would be a very flexible daily schedule. These are just some examples of the benefits this job can bring. I believe that I am a creative and artistic person. I love to build scale models and I also love to work in the area of building construction. With all these skills combined, it will be to my advantage to be an architect, giving me a very good chance to be extremely successful in this firm. 


skyscraper architecture The architectural design of the 20th century skyscrapers has been redefined due to the advancement of our modern technology. Benny Louie Humanity 450 Dr. Maureen Schmid 17 May 1999 The architectural design of the 20th century skyscrapers has been redefined due to the advancement of our modern technology. In our modern society, the architectural design of skyscrapers is changing the downtown landscape of metropolitan areas. Due to the change of technologies, it has changed the architectural design of skyscraper dramatically in terms of the its function, design structures, heating and cooling systems and it social status in society. The basic function of the architecture is to provide a roof over peoples’ head. The main purpose of architecture is to act as a shelter for people to protect themselves against Mother Nature. As civilization development advances, we increased our knowledge and became more creative. People start to design buildings for means of displaying wealth and social status. The skyscraper fits the criteria to show the social status of such building with great height and elegance to the society. According to O’Gorman, “architecture is a form language, of communication.” (P.89) This communication is represented in the forms of texture, shape and style that reflects certain period of time. In the early period, architectures were associated with style and culture. “The Greeks built marble temples with Doric, Ionic or Corinthian columns. Egyptian architecture used heavy lotus columns, massive battered walls and pyramidal forms. The Gothic style used point arch, vast areas of stained glasses, pointed rib-vault construction.” (P. 92) Each had its unique characteristic feature to express its message. In the 20th century architectural design, architecture is no longer viewed as simple shelter to provide a roof over peoples’ head. Architectures are designed with a more environmental conscious issue like cost, energy conservation and practicality of the structure. The interior environment is designed according to the space function of the structures. For example, “a dance hall, needs a large open-space with sufficient room for the band and a bar and maybe for tables and chairs around the edge so that people can sit and chat.” (Conway & Rowan) This concept always applies to real life situations. People don’t rent more space than what they needed for. For example, a three person family will not rent a 3 bedroom apartment, unless they are financially well off. In a Victorian house, there are different corridors for different users. The servants don’t use the same passage as the owners’ family. (Conway & Rowan, P.4) This is similar to large hotels, employees have to use the employees entrance to access the building. These passages are not well maintained as the front of the house. “The interior environment should be safe for working, living or housing objects.” (Conway & Rowan, P.17) This means that building should be at a comfortable temperature, with sufficient lighting, ability to control the transmission of noise, provide enough space for pipes, wires and ventilation ducts. Overall the architects has to take in consideration of the climates differences and regional variations of the building in designing a suitable interior environment for today’s standard. The skyscraper is defined as a “building with exceptional height completely support by a frame-work, as of girders, from which the walls are suspended, as opposed to a building supported by load-bearing walls.” ( The function of the skyscraper is serve as a commercial purpose. The Sears Tower is fine example of it, not only the being headquarter for Sears and Roebuck company but it also has an observation deck for the public. The skyscraper has always associated with wealth and power. To the general public, big is good; in terms of building, the taller the better. People had been fascinated with skyscraper ever since the birth of the first skyscraper in 1895. It was a 10-stories high steel frame structure designed by William Le Baron Jenney in 1885, named “Home Insurance Building.” (Bennett, P.40) Over the year as steel and concrete production technologies reach a higher level, architects use these new materials to reach greater height in the design of skyscrapers. The improvement of the skyscraper structures starts from 10 floor stories to high as 150 floor stories high. The Reliance Building Chicago, USA, in 1895, 15 stories high used the semi-rigid steel frame. The semi-rigid steel frame was held together with steel beams and connected by rivets. (Bennett, P.42) The 60 stories high First Wisconsin Center, Milwaukee, USA in 1974 employed the steel belt truss with framed shear truss. This structure used the horizontal trusses at the upper and lower stories to enhance the framed shear truss. (Bennett, P.44) The Sears Tower, Chicago, USA, in 1974, 110 stories high used the Bundled tube. The bundled tubes were made up of a cluster of connected frame tubes, reinforced by steel beams at each story to increase the strength of the structure. Various tubes terminated at different level to further strengthen the bundled tubes at the center. (Bennett, P.44) The future structure was the Superframe, which can reaches at least 150 stories high. It used the concept of the Eiffel Tower with framed tubes connected by horizontal trusses. (Bennett, P.45) It was the innovation of the structural design that enables skyscrapers to reach new height. These methods include the use of steel belted truss, cross members to reinforce the structure. Heating and air conditioning played an important role in the structure of skyscrapers. They are the key units that control the inside atmosphere of all skyscrapers. In the early days, the heat sources in the building came from fireplaces and stoves. Later on heat in the building supplied by the hot water boiler. The boiler heats up the water and sends it out to the radiators through a system of pipes. This was later replaced by central heating furnace with ventilation ducts that channel heat to various areas of the building. Air conditioning is defined as a mechanical process for controlling humidity, and temperature of air in room. ( Air condition is originated from refrigeration. The process of refrigeration is to draw heat away from substances to lower their temperature. In the operation of an air conditioning unit, air is blow across a cooling pipe and the waste heat is carried away by the flow of cold water in the pipes. The cooled air is carried out through the ventilation ducts to various parts of the building. Today, the skyscrapers use the central heating system with ventilation ducts that can be shared with the heating and air conditioning system. Engineers are working on new ways to make heating and air conditioning more efficient and environmental friendly. This would reduce the cost of energy bill on these skyscrapers. The cost of building a skyscraper is in hundred million dollars in the current market. The skyscraper is well known for its great height and the social status comes with it. In general, large company or firm would host its head office in these skyscrapers. For example Chrysler had its head office in the Chrysler Building, owned by Chrysler which is one of the big three auto makers. (Bennett, P.71) The Sears Tower, the head office for Sears and owned by Sears. It was known for being the worlds’ tallest skyscraper in Chicago. (Bennett, P.24) Tenants expect clients to know where they are located when they tell them the Sears Tower as their location. These skyscrapers are own by the wealthy individuals whom are in the upper level of financial social status. There is a sense of prestige for having offices or shops in these skyscrapers. Modern skyscrapers are being redefined by the use of advance technologies. Due to the advancement in technology, skyscrapers are able to reach new height easily. It changes the way architects design the structure of these buildings. The new function of the skyscraper is to provide great views, house antennas for communications, telebroadcasting and for entertainment purpose. The use of computer climate control system made the building a more comfortable environment for everyone. The great height of the skyscraper like the Sears Tower, it associates itself with the prestige of being the tallest of all. With the rapid advancement of technology and the influence of fame and wealth, sky is limit for the next generation of skyscrapers. Work cited Bennett, David. Skyscrapers Form & Function New York 1995 Conway, Hazel and Rowan, Roenisch. Understanding Architecture: An introduction to Architecture and architectural History. London and New York: Routledge 1994. O’Gorman, James. ABC of Architecture Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1998 Online May 15, 1999 

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