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Notes on 100 Ideas that Changed Architecture by Richard Weston 2011

1. Fireplace – relationship between fire and human. As protection, heat source, leverage to cook,
melting metal, etc. The fire is universally important. The fireplace, well, it might be universally
important as well, depends on its definition and reference.
2. Floor – we might avoid the walls but we have to step on earth… or floor.
3. Wall – any extended structure that encloses space or retain earth. Many cultures, however,
didn’t use walls in their structures. Roof, on the other hand, is always essential to protect us
from rain, heat, and snow. Some cultures extend the roof closer to the earth and replace the use
of walls.
4. Column and Beam – either in compressive structure using brick and stone, or timber structure.
5. Door – enter or leaving
6. Window – “when designing a window, imagine your girlfriend sitting inside looking out” – Alvar
Aalto
7. Brick – cheap, portable, easy to assembly, strong,
8. Staircase – even though the writer refers to staircases in Roman architecture, I instantly
remember ladders in the jungle, where people live high above the grounds. I also remember
Aladin’s world; where people use their roof as public space as well as short-cut pathway.
9. Classical orders – here again people think classical architecture exists as the most significant
architectural reference.
10. Arch – arch enable spanning space, using brick or masonry as material.
11. Vault – extruded arch
12. Dome – polar array of an arch
13. Arcade – roofed corridor / walkway. Initially arcade was used as additional support for a large
span.
14. Courtyard – outside inside – protected yard
15. Atrium – outdoor indoor – feels like being outdoor while remain indoor
16. Platform – accessible roof, not necessarily a temple or sacred building.
17. Basilica – secular building with a church-like form
18. Humanism – “man is the measure of all things” who said that?
19. Proportion – as in sacred geometry and the modulor
20. Form – “form as goal is formalism” – Mies van der Rohe 1923. Formalism is a new favorite
choice of word by critics towards architects who tried to capture media and public attention
with unsual building appearance. I’ve received that word repeatedly in many crits as well.
21. Ornament – decoration in architecture
22. Ideal – there’s an interesting sentence come out in this item. “In Western thought, an indeed in
Architecture, this has led to an attempt to represent things in an ideal form, as they ought to be
rather than as they are.” Well if there is such thing like a western thought, so there’s western
architecture. You cannot generalize architecture based on Western thought only. Because
activity of ‘thinking’ as well as ‘building something for human benefit’ happens all over the
world since ancient time. In accordance to the ‘Ideal’: how can human (or architect) know how
things are ought to be look like? Do you agree that Aldo Rossi’s Teatro del Mondo is an ideal
geometric form which had the power to embody the cultural memory of the city? Do you? I
don’t.
23. Module – module is like Lego Toy, with various brick type to build various ‘creations’. Most
module in Modern architecture were rectangle. Why?
24. Grid – as well as in architecture, modular grid in city planning Is rectangular. Probably in
reference of Cartesian X Y axis diagram.
25. Symmetry – most common as one-axis or bilateral symmetry. Found ini classical western
architecture, Islamic architecture, ancient Egypt architecture, hindu architecture, maya-inca
architecture, Chinese architecture, and so on.
26. Commodity, Firmness, and Delight – Sir Henry Wotton. Add commoditu to firmness and you got
a construction work. When you add Delight it becomes Architecture.
27. Particularity – buildings are unique, as well as the site where it sat upon.
28. Architect – from master builder, chief artist, to starchitect.
29. Orthographic projection – Plans, elevation, sections, and maps
30. Perspective projection
31. Composition – how we mix and match, pour many things in a basket and make Architecture out
of it.
32. Utopia – idea of ideal city, ideal civilization, ideal place, ideal world.
33. Style – why there’re so many style in this world. Style had become a style because it has so
many follower. When something applied repeatedly in many building (with many reason. Some
people follow a style because it looks good, or agreed with the reasoning, or probably
unconsciously follow it because that style was there all over him and imprinted in his
imagination); that something become a style.
34. Palladianism – I shall call it the illusion of grandeur.
35. Corridor – since 1600, it said. Could be used as galleries, Louis Kahn said.
36. Primitive hut – the idea to turn back time to primitive era in architecture has been applied by
many world famous architect such as Alvar Aalto, Sou Fujimoto, Le Corbusier, etc.
37. Genius loci – consult the genius of the place in all.
38. Scenography – architecture as a great setting for theatrical performance. Not only good things
happened theatrically throughout history. It is sad to create a background for any war and riot.
39. Picturesque – picture like composition. Suitable for any tourism project.
40. Gothic revival – we revive it because we like it?
41. Beaux-arts – rich ornament was thought in academic institution, so no ordinary folk can design
it—no matter how they tried.
42. Iron – iron used in buildings since 1770s, it said.
43. Steel – 1855 – Sir Henry Bassemer’s patent of blowing air through pig iron in order to purify it. In
architecture from steel frame, reinforced concrete, to corten or weathering steel.
44. Glass – if steel has been used since 1855, the glass shoud be numbered way before it. And by
the way, where is timber?
45. Roof lighting – as used in galleries.
46. Structural frame – so that we have more opportunities to make openings, so that we have more
view or interaction to the outside, so that we can reduce ratio of structural material.
47. Central heating – ancient idea, applied by contemporary architect and becomes a technology.
48. Electric lighting – introduced commercially by Edison. Now Electricity could almost replace
position of the ‘fire’ in human life. We already have electric heating, electric stove, electric car,
etc. The rest are yet to come.
49. The lift – which has made skyscrapers feasible.
50. Reinforced concrete – widely and most commonly used, one of the largest mined-material
consumed by humanity.
51. Art of building – promoted by Le Corbusier as “Engineer’s Aesthetic” which encourage usage of
new material and advance technology in Architecture.
52. Tectonic form – Geottfried Semper, Toyo Ito, Frei Otto, and more; who exhibit their advance
understanding of physics and mathematics in their structures.
53. Polychromy – When grey, khaki, brown, and crème were no longer the favorite.
54. Conservation – preserving the history
55. Empathy – this is a curious matter. Empathy is not an easy thing to explain even when the
matter is discussed related with the living things such as human and animal. It’s obviously more
difficult to explain when it is related to architecture. I guess one thing we might do is personified
the building, or the part of the building, and pretend on having communication with them (or
genuinely try it).
56. Air conditioning – it made us possible to ignore polluted air or whatever happened with our
outdoor climate.
57. Form follows function – true enough for example on gloves (for hands). But even gloves might
varied in color, texture, and material. The problem with “form follows function” is its rule to
forbid any ornament, which made anything plain and boring. Who says that the way to perform
one function is limited to one or two form (and in plain colors too)?
58. Zeitgeist – spirit of the age. As if the spirit of the world—and humanity—should change every
several years or so.
59. Space – which also talks about scale, leveling, human point of view, and human perception of
space.
60. Modernity – when people was very, very eager to hear the word ‘New’
61. In the nature of materials – “Every new material, means a new form, a new use if used according
to its nature,” said Frank Lloyd Wright.
62. Cladding – now the real material might be covered with a new clothes.
63. Organic architecture – “in Nature all forms are the creation of necessity” Raoul France. Leading
example was calatrava.
64. Ornament is crime – spread of this term was encourage by—again—Le Corbusier.
65. Free plan – as in the famous Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona Pavilion
66. Architecture promenade – when public walk through buildings.
67. Five points of a new architecture – again, Le Corbusier with his rules. In his new architecture, he
proposed: piloti, the roof garden, the free plan, the ribbon windows, and the free façade.
68. Abstraction – the abstraction was meant to create a universal language in Architectural
aesthetics. However, when I imagine this, I relate the language itself. Is their intention (the
initiator of the International style) —for example—to introduce a new international language
and kill every other language exist on earth, so that other languages are no longer acceptable?
The International Style, and strict rules of Modernism has been widely criticized through
Postmodernism.
69. Transparency – and translucency. In short allowed more lights to the building, and treat privacy
through different strategy.
70. Axonometric projection – Eugene Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc (1814-79). Now used attractively in
architectural presentation.
71. Collage – a compositional technique. Used not only in drawings composition but also in making
plans, façade, etc.
72. Layering – using planes to create spaces, another strategy to enrich the space (scale, proportion,
perception an such) aside by using levelling.
73. International style – public market call it minimalis style. Along with less is more and other
modernist concept.
74. Less is more – probably borrowed from ‘zen’ concept since Le Corbusier itself said that hosing
should be like a monk cell. Plain smooth surfaces and monochrome spaces (preverably white or
grey but sometimes magenta as in Louis Barragan’s design).
75. Regionalism – international style adapted to national or regional tradition.
76. Flexibility – open floor plan, moveable walls, expandable roof, etc.
77. Beton brut – or brutalism, where exposed concrete in various texture becomes very popular.
Public will refer the building as unfinished building. Watermark, fungus, and even rust on the
surface was considered a beauty.
78. Morphology – as if the man-made built structure also has morphology; just like natural structure
(animals, plants, geography)
79. Additive composition – a lego block paradigm
80. Servant and served spaces – separation between service area and usable (or sell-able) spaces.
81. Postmodernism – refusal of any extreme rules. Being in between, diverse, and ambiguous.
When metaphor and allusion was popular.
82. Complexity and contradiction – asymmetry within symmetry, richness along with plain-ness,
balance yet unbalance. When less is considered as boring
83. Shed – general application in offices or public building. Highly decorated façade for a cheap
building.
84. Type – certain form for certain function based on collective memories.
85. Context – a belief that a newcomer should always communicate and responsive to the existing
neighborhood.
86. Place – when we build a space for an occasion – based on a poem in 1962 titled “Place and
occasion”. Space is any three dimensional volume, meanwhile we call it a “place” where
something took place. Simply I understand it that: unused space is not a place. In architecture,
the writer wrote that the architect imagine anything that would happen when designing a space.
Is that mean that architecture is a precaution?
87. Phenomenology – which brings out something to reflect, to think about, to sympathize, into the
everyday.
88. Skin – elegant substitution of shed.
89. Computer-aided design – pre-parametric which exploit digital software capability to manifested
idea of architecture.
90. Rainscreen cladding – skin that meant for responding and manipulating nature.
91. Community architecture – when everyone might participate in design and construction process.
Building by all to all. Or in private building, the client involved in design or even construction
itself
92. Universal design – embracing people with diffabilities.
93. Design and build – architects in charge not only in ideas and design but also the whole
construction process.
94. Passive design – additional exploration from rainscreen, to control interior thermal comfort
without electrical heating device which use additional energy expense
95. Sustainability – when architect concerns to make the world last longer.
96. Deconstruction – there’s no ideal form, they said. This is probably one of the most unpopular
moment of architecture today, highly criticized as well. Many people found Gehry’s and Hadid’s
design so strange and even ugly. Some still considered it pretty and iconic. I myself think that
those buildings are pitiful. Not something I would preserve if not for the sake of history.
97. Bigness – Put many buildings into one mould and create the big one.
98. Fold – concept of fold structure might be learned from origami. But no, the writer refers to
contemporary architect which use parametric design such as Greg Lynn and also Seattle Public
Library by OMA. Koolhas building is not about fold. Some Frei Otto structure might talk about
fold but the Seattle Library? It’s all steel framed structure with irregular sloped form. If the
seattle library talks about fold, so does all the cubes and rectangular buildings.
99. Parametric design – when manual calculation are impossible.
100. Everyday – here is the interesting part. The everyday. Is it means we refer back to
vernaculars? Is it means as in Le Corbuiser’s idea that the machine-like and engineering design is
preferable? Or is it means that architecture is a fashion, where familiarity is preserved?