The Gestalt of Design

  • Lecture Series: Inga Saffron

    The Philadelphia Inquirer Architecture critic Inga Saffron gives insight in architectural criticism today. While many hope to read about immense projects done by a guild of architects known as 'starchitects,' most will often read smaller stories, set in their neighborhood, of buildings they pass by unknowingly.

    Saffron talks much about Philadelphia, "a city of neighborhoods" and a newly transformed city for millennials. With the rise of population, density has become a large trend, and unfortunately with it, gentrification.

    Indeed, new and expensive real estate are popping up like daisies diminishing the once vast sea of low row houses that was Philly. Many people are uprooted from neighborhoods that they have known all their lives to live in other darker, dirtier corners of the city. Some buildings, after being built, fail to connect the neighborhood and are unsuccessful in providing a sense of place in affordable housing.

    Saffron's criticism is not the pieces of architecture themselves, but is in its respect, or lack there of, to people in the neighborhood, those which it serves. This dialogue between intent and reality is not self evident. Her explorations look at projects all around Philly and asks the question, "how do we preserve [the human quality] of the city while still being open to growth?"

    Nikolaus Pevsner once famously said, "a bicycle shed is a building; Lincoln Cathedral is a piece of architecture." Architecture is a means of placemaking for some kind of human purpose (Kostof), and if we fail to suit human needs, then we missed the big picture. That picture? That is what Architecture criticism today should focus on.

  • I: Introducing Project I

    A new semester, a new project. Our first project focuses on doing precedent analysis of any of the 13 listed modern homes (below) and then creating a 3-D model derived from what we learned in our analysis.Schroeder-Schrader House, Gerrit Rietveld, Utrecht, Netherlands, 1924-25Villa Stein, Le...

  • Reflections: Jade Doskow

    "‘Decay’ implies death; making these pictures is more about giving these structures a new life."– Jade Doskow, on her exhibit World's Fair: Lost Utopias

  • Reflections: Stephen King

    “You are the grim, goal-oriented ones who will not believe that the joy is in the journey rather than the destination no matter how many times it has been proven to you.”– Stephen King, from The Dark Towers VII: The Dark Tower Sometimes you just need to remind yourself.

  • The Times They are A'changin

    I like books. I read to know things, know people, places. For me, I have to empathize to create, be inspired, and to dig into my thoughts.So I recently finished a side reading of mine: The Master Builders by Peter Blake. To backtrack a bit, I took an amazing course on everything Frank Lloyd Wright...

  • Reflections: Theodore Baird

    "Things wear out. Roofs leak, pipes freeze, glass breaks, the oil burner falls apart and goes boom, the toaster no longer pops up. The catalog is endless, and it is humiliating. You can measure a life span in many ways, by class reunions, marriages, wars, depressions. How many ice boxes and...

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About this Blog

I am a current undergraduate student in the field of Architecture and Design. I collect quotes, explore images, and write about all the good things that I like. Here is where I bridge them all together.

Authored by:

  • victoriapham

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