Sunday, April 13, 2014

Three-dimensional design: polyhedral structures—“geodesic domes”

The Three-Dimensional Design Foundations class produced the geodesic domes pictured above.
Plan view shows the base (in red) as a 16-sided hexakaidecagon. Right: an elevation view.

During the last two weeks while working in two groups of four students each, the Three-Dimensional Design Foundations class produced the geodesic domes pictured above. After a brief introduction and study of Buckminster Fuller the students began to plan and build their domes. One of the objectives of the project was for students to experience the space within the enclosed structure.

The geodesic dome in the background was constructed using roughly 144 struts made from half-inch EPT conduit. The structure itself is tall enough to stand straight up in the center at 2.575m tall and 3.658m in diameter. The project took over 14 hours to plan, to hammer the ends of each strut, drill the bolt holes, and assemble with fasteners. Group members include: Wade Vollink, project manager; Jordan Shaffer, Nathan Morehead, and Erin Francis.

The dome in the foreground is a geodesic 2V dome, constructed using 65 struts made from half-inch (EMT) conduit. The structure itself is 1.524m (5’) tall and 3.048m (10’) in diameter. A plan view would reveal the form of a 10 sided decagon. The group decided to suggest an enclosure by cutting and adding triangular orange fabric to fill the shapes.. Group members: Kim De Boer, project manager; Caleb Vugteveen, Kit Drennon, Kathryn Van Groningen.

Information supplied by the students.

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Friday, April 11, 2014

Siebren Versteeg: The History Channel’s mark/letterform parody with three-dimensional “Latin” triangular serifs

Siebren Versteeg
(American, b. 1971)
History, 2003
Silicon, bronze, velvet, and wood
photograph by versluis

MCA didactics state:

The History Channel 
Siebren Versteeg's sculpture History greets visitors at the entrance to (Museum of Contemporary Art | Chicago) MCA Screen, with an ironic nod to the culture of infotainment that spins mainstream narrations of history into pulp fiction.

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Sunday, April 6, 2014

“My heart went out!”

Illinois Institute of Technology’s Crown Hall covered in wet snow, March 2014.
photogrpghs by versluis
South elevation and entrance
Mies van der Rohe, architect
Open in 1956

If Peter Behrens, (d. 1940) had seen Mies’s Crown Hall perhaps he would have exclaimed, “My heart went out!” The quote was Behrens’s remark when he saw Mies’s 1927 Weissenhofsiedlung project [*]. (1)

These photographs indicate Mies's classicistic perspective on architectural form in glass and steel. The modernistic formal language and principles of design served the Miesian framework and became the Bauhaus curriculum of architecture. The building is emblematic of Mies’s pedagogical perspective and program on how to become an architect.

*The Weissenhofsiedlung was housing (a subdivision) built for the Deutscher Werkbund in Stuttgart.

  1. Bax, Marty. Bauhaus Lecture Notes 1930-1933. Amsterdam: Architectura & Natura Press, 1991. 53. Print.

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Monday, March 31, 2014

art deco typography in the twin cities

Joseph Claude Sinel
New Zealander, 1889-1975
“Model S” scale, c. 1927 (closeup of the base)
International Ticket Scale Company, Manufacturer, New York City
From the collection of the Minneapolis Institute of Art
photograph by versluis

“You don't write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say.”
― F. Scott Fitzgerald

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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Milton Glaser, Mahalia Jackson, and the round arch by Louis Sullivan

Pilgrim Baptist Church, 2014
3300 South Indiana Ave. Chicago, Illinois
A sad view—rebuilding after the 2006 fire.
photograph by versluis

Above is a current photograph of Pilgrim Baptist Church on the south side of Chicago. The building was initially designed by architects Louis Sullivan and Dankmar Adler in the early 1890s as a synagogue; in 1922 the building became home to the Pilgrim Baptist Church. By the 1930s the church became well-known for its gospel music with leading members such as Thomas A. Dorsey and Mahalia Jackson. In 2006 the building tragically burned and was mostly destroyed except for the massive stone walls.

Milton Glaser (American, born 1929).
Mahalia Jackson. 1967.
Offset lithograph, two sheets, each 38 x 24 inches

Apparently Glaser was mindful of the entry door and the very prominent and characteristically Sullivanesque large round arch doorway of the Church when he designed this poster in 1967 to promote the Mahalia Jackson Easter Sunday Concert at Lincoln Center in New York. Pilgrim Baptist Church was home base for Mahalia Jackson.

Source for the poster image:
Schreck, Audrey. “Designer Spotlight: Milton Glaser.” Typophile. N.p., 1 Mar. 2009. Web. 28 Mar. 2014.

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Friday, March 7, 2014

Three-dimensional design à la Wucius Wong: prisms and cylinders

© Wade Vollink, 2014
Dordt College—Three-Dimensional Design Foundations
Prisms and Cylinder Structures
15.5" w x 10" h x 3" d
photograph by versluis

Pictured are examples of Dordt College student work from the Three-Dimensional Design course this semester. Artist / designer Wucius Wong writes about prisms and cylinders in his book, Principles of Form and Design: Three-Dimensional Design that: “A prism is a form with ends which are similar, equal, and parallel rectilinear figures, and with sides which are [perpendicular to the ends] rectangles or parallelograms.” In addition Wucius Wong goes on to explain, “From this basic prism many variation can be made.” (1)

© Kit Drennen, 2014
Dordt College—Three-Dimensional Design Foundations
Prisms and Cylinder Structures
Bristol Board
16" w x 12" h x 16" d
photograph by Kit Drennen

  1. Wong, Wucius. Principles of Form and Design. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1993. 271. Print.

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Saturday, March 1, 2014

1958, Skyscraper of the Future: Hans Hollein

Hans Hollein
Skyscraper of the Future
City of Chicago—unspecified location
Photograph by versluis, 2012

Hans Hollein’s Skyscraper of the Future split the conventional tower into segments while integrating public space. 
Chicago’s skyscrapers impressed architect Hans Hollein when he visited the city in his twenties [during the 1950s]. But he found their design and function monotonous. Hollein wanted to design a dramatically different skyscraper. 
Hollein split the office tower into multiple sections and inserted public buildings and gardens, creating floating villages. 
Hollein’s tower, currently under construction in Shenzhen, China, is a testament to Chicago’s role as a catalyst of architectural innovation. (1)
Model courtesy DSM’s Somos® Materials Group.
  1. Text is taken from a 2012 display at the Chicago Architectural Foundation.

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