Friday, February 11, 2011

Chapter III: Form & Space

Welcome to the third week of blogging! Here's a quote to help you with what we're learning....

"The elements of form and space together, form the reality of architecture" - Francis D K Ching

Form and Space are created by positive and negative elements. This depends on our perception of what we are looking at. Form is what is clearly defined. In other words, form is what takes up mass. They are the walls and planes of a particular area. While space helps mould the area simply by being the area around it. A space can be viewed as the positive area, the form becomes the negative area....or they can be switched!

   The Farnsworth House is an example of form and space being united, despite its' opposites. The actual house takes up form, the vertical plane and pilotis help define these. Therefore, the empty area surrounding it becomes what is known as space. Form and Space!

   Horizontal elements are planes with bases. There is the base that's situated on  the ground, an elevated base, a depressed base and an overhead plane.

   When I think of bases, Frank Lloyd Wright's Prairie style homes come to mind. Specifically the Robie House. This house has an overhead plane, which so happens to be a characteristic of the Prairie Style. The hanging roof can also be called a cantilever.      

   An overhead plane is horizontal and defines the volume underneath it, between the overhead plane and it's ground plane.

  These type of planes define the volume between them. Parallel planes distinguish a strong direction as they never meet, but somehow point towards a space. This then directs the spacial movement of people within the space. These planes also act as structural support for what is above them, such as the roof. 

   The interior parallel planes of St Peter's Basilica lead visitors towards the sculptural element. 

   Natural light is a very important architectural and interior aspect in every living space. Light is necessary at all costs. Natural light, is an amazing part of nature and this needs to be present in every design. Where windows are located are important as we need to think of the direction natural sunlight comes from. 

   Have you ever heard of the invisible glass house located in Sweden? It is made up of glass, therefore it is full of natural long as the sun is out! This is an amazing architectural example of a very important quality of design.

  Just like windows let natural light in, openings in spaces exist to create enclosures, as without enclosing planes, visual continuity is impossible. Openings, such as negative doorways, hallways or windows, can be placed at corners, on a  plane, or even between planes. 

   The designers of this kitchen has placed openings at the corners of the kitchen, letting light shine through to the sink and possibly towards the other end of the kitchen, depending on how strong the light rays are. This is also well space-planned as the stoves are close by, therefore any smell can go out through these corner windows.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Chapter II: Form

Architecture and Interior Design is made up of forms....and spaces! Theses shapes become manipulated and turn into buildings, furniture, etc. Have a deeper look at what's around you and you may find this to be true. Sometimes we just have to open our eyes more to the spaces around us. 

Our minds simplify our visual environment so that we may understand it. Therefore, from primary shapes derive numerous composition of forms. From triangles we get cones or pyramids, Squares become cubes and Circles turn into spheres or even cylinders.

This Fabrege Egg building in London, UK is one of my favorites! Who could ever have guessed that an egg could turn into some office building one day. This building derived from a circle and was simply pulled up to create this oval.


When the dimensions of a certain form have been changed, it undergoes a dimensional transformation. Areas can be subtracted or added, height and width could be shortened or pulled, but we can still identify the form.

In this picture, I have used The Emirates Towers as an example. They are elongated rectangles that are standing vertical. The red highlights depict this. The top has a subtracted area but it is still visible what their primary solid was.


This is the process of removing a section of a volume. Also easily recognizable when the alteration has been done, as long as it’s edges and/or corners hasn’t been modified. By subtracting a volume of a form, this gives it a new look.

An excellent example is this unique building known as The Dubai International Financial Center. It is simply a square which transformed into a cube, then a part of it’s middle has been subtracted, therefore it became a subtracted cube! Architecture is so much fun….

An additive form is the opposite of a subtractive form. Therefore, it becomes the process of adding one or more sections to a volume. Also easily recognizable.

My example of this is Gehry's Weisman Art Museum. By looking at the 3rd image, it is easily recognizable that Gehry was in fact inspired by cubism! A variety of forms are visible. They have all been added together to this building which was originally rectangular, as the bottom states. However, these additions were slightly modified, but all modifications come from a primary, and these solids can be seen.

    There are other collisions of geometry such as rotated grids and edges and corners. However, I am going to teach you about the circle, the square, and how it looks when they mingle! A "formal collision of geometry" is exactly what it is called. This is what happens when two geometrical forms come together, collide and creates a new composite form. 

    During my research for one, I came across a truly unique modern piece of architecture present in Asia. This is the Fangyuan Building, which literally translates to "The Circle and Square Building!" So original! However, if it is looked at as a plane, it is a large coin...with a square in the middle! The architect is the same man famous for designing Taiwain's Taipei 101 building, which was once the world's tallest building...but this superlative now belongs to Dubai, sorry. In my diagrams, I have depicted how this building's geometry has collided into a new form.

This concludes this weeks topic on Form! I hope you have enjoyed seeing these wonderful masterpieces and seen beyond just the building!