Jan '05 - Sep '06
I talked with my old professor, Sue, on wednesday about my design for this museum of sustainable construction technology and of course the first thing she asked me was what my concept was. Suddenly I realized that I didn't have a cohesive concept. I had a lot of things I wanted to accomplish with the building and I knew that the dichotomy of public and private spaces and facades was a key part of the overall theme, but I didn't know how to articulate it exactly at that point. Anyway, I talked to Prof. Macphail about it and decided to come up with a better concept statement (hopefully like the "poetry" that Sue said was missing) and adjust my project accordingly. So I did that and feel much better about the whole process now. I've adjusted my design where it needs to be and will continue to develop it based on my concept statement, which was influenced largely by the book "Architecture and the American Dream" by Craig Whitaker, which is an amazing book. I referenced the chapter, "Front Door, Back Door," specifically for this project, but the whole book is a great analysis of how the American built environment has developed based on our subconscious ideology as a nation and how the built environment reinforces that. Anyway, here is my concept statement:
Public and Private Dichotomy as a Response to the Environment
After analyzing the site for this project and choosing an overall orientation based on the natural and environmental factors of sunlight, summer breezes, winter winds and noise, I noticed an inadvertent creation of public and private spaces around the building. From this realization, I decided to approach this project in such a way that the sustainable aspects of the building would serve to compliment what Craig Whitaker believes to be a uniquely American idea of a difference between public and private spaces. He states in Architecture and the American Dream that “taken together, front and back create a dichotomy, a tension between our public and private selves, that dictates how we present ourselves to the world and how we shape our architecture”. It is this concept””that Americans treat the front of their buildings (as a public or presentational face) much differently than the rear of their buildings (as a private or more functional face)””that will be the basis of my design. This idea of creating a prominent public front can often lead to false facades, though, which Whitaker also addresses. Again, he states that “to be accused of ”˜facadism,' or producing false fronts, is still a serious charge in some architectural quarters. A grand front contrasted with a bland behind means both must have been tacked on to the building from without, rather than emanating from within. By contrast, quite similar facades on all sides suggest that a building's character arises more from its intended use and the designer's own personal vision and sense of form.” Therefore the museum of sustainable construction technology will address and reinterpret the American concept of opposite front and rear facades and spaces””the former being public and the latter being private””but these facades and spaces will be responses to the environmental factors and sustainable design approach, and thus will not appear to be “tacked on.”
I'll go into more detail about this and post more images soon.