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The Exercise of Detail and Technique in Scarpa’s Works

Detail is an exercise connected with the representation of the act of construction.

To Gregotti[1], this exercise gives a form to the final architecture object, reveal the properties of the materials, the laws of construction and make the project decisions intelligible. However, he also says that our contemporary architecture has abandoned the exercise of detail to quote commercial and industrialized items, like windows, doors and structural elements. For Gregotti, every detail is a small communicative part of a building. A way to put meaning in an architectural project. To him, without the work on details, the connection between the whole and the small parts will be broken and, therefore, the message of the architecture can be compromised.

Leon Battista Alberti, an Italian architect of the Renaissance, says, in his ten books on the De Re Aedificatoria[2], that a good exercise in detail takes into account three concepts: Numerus, Finitio e Collocatio. Numerus is the use of repetition of certain elements so that those elements acquire a certain meaning or purpose, like the use of three doors make the middle door a focus point. Finitio is the use of proportion do define the relation between the detail and the whole or between two details, like a relation in size between that same middle door and the others side doors. The middle door can be made bigger to convey the message that it’s the central entrance. To finish, Collocatio is a functional way of setting details in order to show the history of the detail, how it was made, what it is made of or to make rational divisions on the building.

Santa Maria Novella Florence faade
Facade of Santa Maria Novella [3]
We can see this exercise in detail on the Alberti’s facade of Santa Maria Novella church. We can see the application of Numerus by repetition of openings and decorative elements. We can also see the use of Finitio in the relation between the bigger middle door and the two side doors, emphasizing the central position of the middle door. At last, there is the use of Collocatio in the rational use of the detail to divide the building in two, with a large line between these two parts, and in the way we can feel the natural pattern of the material just by looking at it. Despite the example of the façade of Alberti’s work, we are left with the question of how we can use the exercise of detail in a contemporary work, without appealing to the use of historical anachronism.

Carlos Scarpa and Veritti’s Tomb

Carlos Scarpa was also an Italian architect as Alberti was. However, Scarpa was a modern architect that didn’t use historical elements without a connection to his time. He was born in Venice, 1906, and was heavily influenced by the Italian materials, by other modernist architects, especially Frank Lloyd Wright, and by Japanese culture. Besides being an architect, he also was a good craftsman, knowing how to work with glass and wood, designing glass vessels and other furniture. According to Barba and Quintana[4], Scarpa career always aimed for the perfection in architectural detail.

One of Scarpa’s works that shows his attention to detail is the Veritti’s Tomb or Tomba Veritti (1951), located in the cemetery of S. Vito, Udine, Italy. This project is a tomb made of botticino marble, an Italian marble, with a table and a seat made of stone made as the Veritti’s family tomb. The tomb occupies an area of 22 m² or 236 ft². We enter the tomb passing through a short metal gate in a circular opening. The gate open in a circular motion, as seen in the images 2 and 3, forming a gateway/portal between the outside world of the living and the inside world of the dead[5]. The connection between the place of work and the place of thinking. On the side of this gate there is a semicircular vessel with cropped flowers inside of it.

Facade of Veritti’s Tomb [6]

Facade of Veritti’s Tomb [7]
On the inside we the the Verritti’s pit in front of the seat and table. Behind the pit there is a stone wall made of various sizes of rectangular stone covering. Above it, there is a circular metal roof. This roof is divided in three parts by two segments of line. In one of these lines we can read the word Pax, the Latin for peace, and on one of the roof quadrants we can see an opening in the form of a cross.

Inside of Veritti’s Tomb [8]
Inside of Veritti’s Tomb [9]
The details that we see in the inside and outside of the tomb makes the connection between the concepts that guided the whole of the project and the small parts of the building. Everything in this building was thought to be there, having a connection with a central idea. Part of the meaning of this building only make sense because of the details made especially for this project.

[1] GREGOTTI, Vittorio. 1996. The Exercise of Detail (1983). In: NESBITT, Kate. Theorizing a New Agenda for Architecture: An Anthology of Architectural Theory 1965 – 1995. New York, USA: Princeton Architectural Press.

[2] ALBERTI, Leon Battista. 1986. The Tem Books of Architecture: The 1755 Leoni Edition. USA: Dover Publications.

[3] FLORENCE FOR FREE. “The Basilica of Santa Maria Novella”. Retrieved July 11, 2018 (https://florenceforfree.wordpress.com/2015/03/19/basilica-of-santa-maria-novella/).

[4] BARBA, José Juan; QUINTANA, Paloma de La. “The Architecture of Details: Palazzo Querini Stampalia by Carlos Scarpa”. Retrieved July 11, 2018 (https://www.metalocus.es/en/news/architecture-details-palazzo-querini-stampalia-carlo-scarpa).

[5] REGIONE AUTONOMA FRIULI VENEZIA GIULIA COMUNE DI UDINE. “Catalogazione Delle Eclettico-Storicista ai Giorni Nostri e del Patrimonio Edilizio rurale Spontaneo e Proposte di Norme da Introdurre nel PRGC: Opere Cimiteriali Monumentali”. Retrieved July 12, 2018 (https://turistipersbaglio.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Cimitero-Monumentale-San-Vito-Udine.pdf).

[6] TRIPADVISOR. “Tomba Veritti”. Retrieved July 11, 2018 (https://www.tripadvisor.co.nz/LocationPhotoDirectLink-g187814-d12188841-i313794311-Tomba_Veritti-Udine_Province_of_Udine_Friuli_Venezia_Giulia.html).

[7] FLICK. “Tomba Veritti”. Retrieved July 11, 2018 (http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7137/7813918750_16922387f3_o.jpg).

[8] CISA A. PALLADIO. “Udine, Tomba Veritti”. Retrieved July 11, 2018 (http://mediateca.palladiomuseum.org/scarpa/web/foto_scheda.php?valo=i_6_408#).

[9] CISA A. PALLADIO. “Udine, Tomba Veritti, Copertura”. Retrieved July 11, 2018 (http://mediateca.palladiomuseum.org/scarpa/web/foto_scheda.php?valo=i_6_409).

Asian Architecture Is Leading The Way In Eco-Friendly Living

Architectural designs and techniques have always changed throughout history. As of late, Asian architecture is moving forward in their designing, echoing changes in styles, cultures, and civilizations. Asian design has always been intricate as well as minimalist. Between elaborate Chinese architecture and Japanese minimalism, there are Balinese romantic styles.

Asian architectural styles have always been influenced by the Western and European designs. They have taken the modern, contemporary Western cultures and blended it with the laid back culture of the Europeans. Architectures are now creating designs that reflect eco-friendly concepts that have become increasingly popular. Asian architectures have managed to blend their culture into modern homes and other structures. Due to Asia’s rich architectural unique history, you can easily recognize their culture that is deeply embedded in their designs.

 

Traditional and Modern Blended To Perfection

The Japanese have always been leaders in innovative ideas and are showing their skills with the materials and colors they choose which echo contemporary while still keeping their special traditional forms. Steep gable roofs with intricate overhangs and vertical timbered walls will always be a part of their architectural designs.

The Chinese are also toying with blending modern and traditional architecture. In the world of architecture, ancient Chinese architecture is still very important and must be maintained. This includes the use of stone carvings, timber frameworks in buildings and around courtyards. Visiting villages and cities around China still have these marvelous ancient elements but are now sharing their space with modern development. China has clearly shown that traditional and modern can work well together and there is no need to reject what has worked for centuries.

Consumed By Simplicity

The Japanese are consumed with a simplicity which has taken the world by storm. Minimalism has always played a very important role in their heritage from rooms containing only one item to just a cleaner, more simple design in furnishings. Rooms and furnishings, in the Japanese culture, should be functional vs decorative. They have always believed the philosophy that less is more.

Bringing Balance

Irregularity is found everywhere in modern day Chinese architecture from their palaces to their farm houses. The idea of open space has been created with openings in roofs that are replacing large, ancient courtyards.

Irregularity and Balance

Both of these elements are extremely important in Asian architectural designing. This includes the lines and colors of furniture. This concept compliments the traditional culture with a more modern approach to design.

Eco-friendly and Sustainability

Narrow residences are very common place throughout Osaka but these living spaces are offering better insulation and open areas allowing for natural light and air to enter the buildings. This has become a very popular choice of residents.

Singapore is also leading the way in building more eco-friendly buildings throughout the region. Clever designs and energy-efficient technologies are now what modern buildings are representing. Features such as skylights, solar panels, energy efficient elevators, good ventilation systems and carbon dioxide monitoring systems have taken the place of old ideas.

Developing countries, such as the Philippines, are now opting for condo-style homes and wanting more eco-friendly elements. Technologies that allow more natural light and air to flow through their living quarters is extremely important. Large openings in the building facade, three-story openings in the front and the back of the buildings are taking first place.

Without a doubt, Asian architecture is taking more responsibility with green structures that are being regarded as excellent investments.

Natural Materials For Construction

The typical Korean house in Hanok design, speaks clearly of the East Asian architectural trends. With strict Confucian techniques, prefabricated wooden structures are quickly assembled on location. These new homes are 100% natural, biodegradable, and can be easily recycled.

One of the most popular Asian tropical designs is Balinese architecture. These designs are created to be in complete harmony with nature. They are using natural, local materials for homes and buildings including thatch roofs, coconut wood, bamboo poles, bricks, and stone are now a part of the modern Balinese structures. A tropical atmosphere in Balinese architecture is still a strong influence in the modern world while adding romance and poetry to the mix.

Green Steel In Asia

Creating green spaces throughout the continent incorporates sustainable materials including bamboo. Bamboo is referred to as the green steel in Asian architectural design. It’s cheaper, a great deal more flexible, and much more sustainable. Local materials for homes and designer pieces have definitely taken over the architectural scene. You will find bamboo buildings throughout Japan, China, Vietnam, and Malaysia. The Philippines is one of the world’s leading producers of bamboo including the export of furniture and other items.

Tropical

The most popular design in Asian condo buildings is tropical. Homes are being built with a double purpose. A place to call home or a serene getaway. It’s like having a home that serves as a holiday retreat. The homes have a resort atmosphere within the living features with beautifully landscaped lush gardens and Koi ponds. While Balinese designing has a very tropical atmosphere, Singapore is opting for sky habitats and greenery vs their common concrete designs of the past. Visitors have a sense of the tropics in a very urbanized country. The entire design gives people a place to escape to which is becoming very important in an overly modern world.

Zen

Peace, serenity, and zen come to mind when viewing this new Asian architectural design. You enter and find immediate calmness. Listen to the gentle sound of a waterfall or the air wafting with incense. Zen is everywhere.

Alcoves, natural fiber, oriental items, and organic colors are now becoming a strong influence in Western architecture. Everything is moving way too fast in this day and age, people are reaching out to find some peace and tranquility. What better way than through zen designs that are becoming very high in demand. Architectural innovations are echoing throughout regions from homes to other buildings. The use of stone, wood and clean lines with subdued colors and geometric accents are simple and organic.

Asian architectural designs have always had a blend of tradition and culture. They have always been greatly influenced by their rich history, but that does not mean they are not moving forward with new ideas and eco-friendly ideas. Asian architecture now incorporates modern technologies that blend with nature. They have become the world leaders in green living and eco-friendly constructions that will definitely make important statements for generations to come. The Asians have found the perfect balance of modern living along with their very special culture still intact.

Western cultures are finally jumping on board with designs that are environmentally friendly and using materials that are sustainable and cost efficient. People, worldwide are looking for cleaner living alternatives and a special place to escape the hustle and bustle of modern and life and find a little tranquility.

Paying closer attention to Asian architecture, western architects are designing in a new fashion that everyone is looking for.

architecture

The value and influence of Professional Architectural Photography

Architects spend many years planning, designing and creating their architectural ideas and hoping for the recognition they believe should follow.  That said, most architects are not looking for the fame and the notoriety of someone like Frank Lloyd Wright, but everyone wants recognition for their hard work.  From the first sketch to the last cornerstone, it takes a great deal of vision and an enormous passion.

The upside for architects in today’s environment, they can be seen by their peers and many others through magazines and websites.Even though architectural websites and magazines might be interested in a given design, they do not want uninteresting, boring photos that you shot at various times of the day but do not showcase the architecture itself.  Professionals and novices, alike, are welcome to submit images to these places, but they must stand out and not lack inspiration.

Even though architectural websites and magazines might be interested in a given design, they do not want uninteresting, boring photos that you shot at various times of the day but do not showcase the architecture itself.  Professionals and novices, alike, are welcome to submit images to these places, but they must stand out and not lack inspiration.

This is where a new marketing niche has sprung up, the field of the architectural photographer!  Just because an architect has the gift of design and can create amazing structures, does not mean they are brilliant at photography!  Professional photographers who have jumped on this relatively new niche realize how important it is to create outstanding, captivating images of a given structure.  A good photographer fully understands that the images of an architect’s creation must command the same attention as the the architect’s vision.

Professional architectural photographers know that the beauty of a structure must be captured in their photographs.  They know that what they capture could decide the success of the architect’s work.  A leading architectural photographer will successfully capture the uniqueness of an interior, both in design and lighting while showcasing the building’s distinctive angles.  Photos should never appear as cold and distant but should apply time-sensitive shots that an amateur does not have the ability to do.

Architectural design firms are always looking for photographers that will bring their designs to life while enhancing their firm’s customer base.  The quality of excellent photography overrides what amateurs able to achieve.  Through natural lighting, attention to details, and emphasizing the structure will speak volumes.  Professional architectural photographers will go out of their way to stay away from distractions in order to capture the overall integrity of the photos.

One of the leading challenges for an architectural photographer is the best lighting.  Unless they are highly experienced with artificial lighting, they should stay away from it, especially with large structures.  Their shots must come across as simple and effortless while highlighting the best assets of a building in a very natural way without causing alterations to the image.

architects-zone

An architect must collaborate with the right people to complete their designs with the right finale.  When hiring the right photographer, an architect must take a few things into consideration:

The architect must decide why they want photographs taken and where or how they will be used.

They should interview professional architectural photographers by letting them understand why photographs need to be taken and provide the overall theme of the building.

When a professional photographer fully understands the actual architecture, they will appreciate the technical challenges that lie ahead of them.  The best time for photo shots of the building should be taken into consideration.  The interior of a building should be photographed when the building is brand new.  On the other hand, taking photos of the exterior should not happen for an entire year.  This gives the landscaping a chance to grow and mature which will accentuate the building’s structure.  Photographing the exterior directly after construction will make the building appear cold and unapproachable.

The architect must keep in mind, the photographs should reflect the quality, artistic style, credibility and professionalism of the entire design.  He or she should have a firm understanding of the design’s purpose in order to capture it correctly.  They must capture the personality of the building while transforming it into a beautiful work of art.

A professional, talented architectural photographer will be able to clearly see and highlight the artistic beauty and functional details of the building.  Their images should bring the building to life while drawing attention to its unique aspects.

Creating notoriety and recognition in the architectural world will take more than the sketching of a vision and the final cornerstone.  The final structure must be brought to light for the whole world to see.  All your years of creating the perfect design and implementing it into a blueprint are wasted with poor photography.  Your photographer must understand your vision and capture it for years to come.

The field of architectural photography has exploded and design firms are looking for those who will bring their designs and artists recognition.  A highly qualified, professional photographer is in great demand.  Understanding what the architecture is saying and its impact on the surrounding area is imperative.   This is just as critical as when Frank Lloyd Wright took the surrounding environment and implemented designs that made them become one.  Unlike Wright, today’s architects have the internet and power of the press.  Somewhere out there is the next Frank Lloyd Wright looking for the architectural photographer to capture an amazing moment for future recognition.

archtiects-blog

Some Techniques Used By Photographers:

Walk around the exterior and interior of the building.  Look around at the ceiling, moldings or a beautiful staircase.  The obvious subject might not be what’s directly in front of them but just a little bit off.

Tripods are used for a number of reasons but especially to prevent movement or while using a much slower shutter speed.

Always remain patient when looking for the perfect light.  When shooting interiors, light coming through a window can offer a very dramatic affect and add quality to an image.  Early morning or late afternoon light have totally different affects on textures and patterns.

White balance is very important when shooting at night or indoors.  Photographers will keep a close eye on the color temperature of artificial light as it can change the perceived color of the building.

Photographers can take advantage of a cloudy or rainy day.  Whether conditions can soften lines and shadows for a new perspective.  Puddles can add an interesting look for the exterior of a structure.

Reflections, if worked properly, can be quite dramatic.  Mirrors or windows reflect light but will also reflect the photographer if he or she is not careful!

Textures on walls, floors or ceilings will interact with the light that is present at the time.

A good photographer must know their equipment.  The best shots will come from a camera that is set to its native resolution.  Digital cameras operate at best when set to their native ISO for the best results.