Around 200 BCE – 300 CE three empires dominated the world history. The Han dynasty ruled China, Rome conquered most of Alexander’s territory and the Olmecs and Zapotecs achieved great cultural advances in Mexico. All three perfected the grid, although Rome, because of its topography, wasn’t as precise as it was in other cities… Continue reading “Ancient Rome (A Global History of Architecture)”
Martin Heidegger was a German philosopher who had great contributions to Phenomenology and Existentialism. Even though his political choices were quite questionable, he is one of the most influential philosophers of the 20th century. In our given reading assignment, he writes about the phrase “poetically man dwells” that Friedrich Hölderlin writes in his poem In lieblicher Blaue (In lovely Blue). Hölderlin is a very interesting poet from late 18th century. He was very much influenced by philosophy and it would have been very hard not to, given the time. When he was studying theology, his best friend was Hegel himself. So his background in philosophy created a new world for his poems. But he had a tragic life. Later in his life he was institutionalized as mentally ill.
In this particular writing of Heidegger, he is trying to unravel the meaning behind this phrase “poetically man dwells”. For fully understanding the phrase we need to first have a look at the etymology of the word poetry. Poetry is coming from poiesis which is actually the verb to make in Greek. Before going into the text, it is very helpful to know that Heidegger’s explanation of poiesis is a kind of “bringing-forth” occasion. Like the plummeting of a waterfall when the snow begins to melt. Or like the coming out of a butterfly from a cocoon. A threshold occasion: something moving away from its standing as one thing to become another. Also like the night, gathering at the close of the day. Given thought on this, the poetry in the article starts getting closer to “dwelling“.
This is a long one so feel free continue below!
The societies that developed around the Aegean sea during the second millenium BC, were highly spiritual when it came to nature. Nature was not just the biggest motive for their religion, it was also a reference point for their architecture. Their architecture was always integrated with nature. They were living in cities built on hilltops and they were using cyclopean masonry which looked like it was not even formed by men but has been there naturally. This even led the Greeks of the next generation to believe that these walls were made by giants. The cyclopean wall actually has its name from the one-eyed giant Polyphemus, the Cyclops in Homer’s Odyssey who tossed huge stones at the escaping boats of Ulysses… Continue reading “The Aegean in the Bronze Age from A Global History of Architecture”
Flatland is a book published in 1884. It is believed to have been an inspiration to many works of yesterday, today and maybe tomorrow. Flatland takes its name from a universe in which only 2 dimensions exist.
The story of Flatland is told by a square. He lives in Flatland where everything that exists in our universe a.k.a. Spaceland can only be observed as straight lines. Our character gets to visit Spaceland and is very inspired by it. But his excitement is to be ignored if not dismissed by his society. I will not go into further detail about the plot but rather write about the things it got me thinking.
The fiction makes me, along with many scientists, wonder even more if there is another dimension that even we as people of spaceland are not aware of and how much of a shock and an eye-opener (or maybe even trouble?) it would be to discover this other dimension. Also, besides the book being ahead of its time as a science-fiction tale, the writer is not shying away from calling out on society’s hierarchical obsessions and misogynistic norms in his own way which is through a sarcastic and bizarre humour. I’ve enjoyed brain-storming about this book and will probably continue doing so in the following weeks, months and dimensions!
Architecture, just like civilization started in prehistory. Even though the sites that survived many thousands of years are limited in number, they still help us have an understanding of the human-made structures of history. I’ve read some of the pages of the book A Global History of Architecture as a part of our assignment belonging to the History of Architecture class. Here is a very basic explanation of the parts about the first structures.
The main categorization of these structures can go as residential structures and ritual structures. Perhaps the most popular ritual structure is Stonehenge along with the mysterious site of Göbeklitepe. These structures are thought to have had a function of both religious rituals and astrological purposes. Still, the reason and the way they work are being discussed and hopefully figured out.
I saw an episode of Grand Designs which probably had the most interesting idea I have ever seen about building a house. The irony is that it was actually the very first idea of a dwelling… This idea was not actually about building a house, rather carving one out of rocks. Angelo Mastropietro is the man who bought the 800 year old Hobbit-hole. He was a former business man who was diagnosed with MS so he dedicated himself to creating his dream “man-cave”. (The whole episode can be found at the end of this post!)
At first we see him carving out the walls for a fireplace or the bath. I really appreciated that he was so determined to pursue his ideas, he was doing everything himself. Partially because there were no solid plans. As the host says, there is no tutorial that can be found for carving out a cave. So he only had ideas and he was trying to make them work somehow. There was a major problem with the bath but even though he worked so hard carving it, he was still happy.
After the walls were handled there were bigger problems. Electricity, water and heating systems were to be replaced.
Probably out of ignorance, I think the way these modern day problems were handled, looked magical. In the end, the cave had floor heating system, a very well functioning shower, electricity and dry walls. It even had wifi… The biggest question on the show was whether the house would be able to preserve its cave-feeling and its paleolythical origins. That, I think, was well preserved with the interior. I was quite surprised about the amount of light that gets into the cave.
And here’s the episode of Grand Designs showing the whole process:
Iceland is known as a land of giants with its breath-taking nature and gigantic fjords. But we also need man-made resources like electricity. Sadly, electricity pylons are very poor looking things that disturb the natural view. Iceland was one of the countries who wanted to get rid of this disruption of nature and the American firm Choi + Shine Architects were there for the rescue. They designed these electrical towers that look like human figures and named the project Land of Giants. This design transforms mundane electrical pylons into statues on the Icelandic landscape.
Each pylon would be assembled from modular parts, which could be adapted into various positions to give the impression that the statues are walking, climbing or crouching.
The project is still being talked about and won many awards after it was finished in 2008. One of the architects of the design firm, Thomas Shine, says that they designed these towers parallel to the idea that if we are to place things we need in the middle of the nature, we best make them worth seeing.
The pylons are made of recyclable materials painted in white (steel, glass and concrete to be exact). And they cost less than the traditional electrical pylons.
Here’s an extra video with unbelievable 4K definition showing the natural wonders of Iceland. It’s a film made by two producers studying at Stuttgard Media University. The film’s name Eylanda is a reference to the most famous poem of the poet Stephan G. Stephansson.
P.s: It is not very data-friendly…