Term 1 Constellation (Neo-Futurist Architecture)

For our first term of constellation I chose Neo-Futurist Architecture as I found the title interesting and am always fascinated and intrigued by architecture, and the thousands of variations of it. This constellation would be taught by Nick Evans who gave me confidence in my choice of topics due to his excitement and enthusiasm in the subject.

In the first week of Neo-Futurist Architecture we given a brief insight to what we would be studying over the duration of this term, we were taught where futurism began and how it had developed throughout history. We were introduce to Marinetti and Sant’Elia who are thought to have founded Neo-Futurist Architecture, we were then asked if we should take their findings and suggestion seriously. We were also asked how valid it was to design and construct buildings with only the exterior being acknowledged, and no thought going into the interior? Although due to it being only the first week of the subject I believe we covered a lot of ground; I was no longer confused on why as product designers we needed to study the history of something which seemed so irrelevant to the course. I therefore felt excited on what was to follow.

Our second week of constellation swiftly followed, in this lecture we were given some more questions which would make us think about the architecture of these buildings, these allowed us to see the thinking behind them and also allowed us to pick apart these buildings bit by bit to further understand their purpose and how they came to be. In this lecture we were also shown a powerpoint which consisted of several examples of different architecture, the development behind them, the people behind them, as well as some quotes which were of relevance. We were introduced to architects like Le Corbusier, we were then given a brief history of his life and his work; this led to us looking at such buildings as the Villa Savoye and the Chandigarh Legislative assembly. We then learnt about the Golden Ratio and how all great masterpieces which range from the Notre Dame, or the Mona Lisa use this Golden Ratio. After going through Le Corbusier life thoroughly we then went on to look at how all current modern day advancements are inspired by the past.

After two insightful weeks of constellation I was looking forward to the third. This week we were studying Archigram’s designs, these designs were innovative, modern, and possibly at times outrageous! Archigram’s designs were produced by the Archigram Group which consisted of David Greene, Warren Chalk, Peter Cook, Mike Webb, Ron Herron, and Dennis Crompton. These architects worked together to produce unbelievable designs which were extremely futuristic but were outrageously impractical and at times impossible; for example, the walking city, the kunsthaus, and the suitaloon. Although these are futurist, I heavily dislike them due to their unorthodox and unnecessarily complicated designs. This lecture therefore was insightful in showing that futurist architecture is not always effective.

On the fourth week we looked at postmodernism, we were taught that this is an era which is difficult to fully understand when it began. We were shown several sky scrappers which emphasised that architecture had developed and now architects were able to envisage larger structures due to the advancements in technology. In this lecture we were introduced to Miles Van Der Rohe, and the Seagram Building which was built in 1958, we were also shown Philip Johnson’s Sony Building which shows a more complex design and shows decorative features on top of the building this shows how sky scrappers have developed by 1984. After looking over sky scrappers, we then looked at deconstructive architecture, this consisted of very futuristic structures which showed an advancement in how architects would design their buildings; these architectural pieces showed a more decorative emphasis on the exterior of the building and little care for interior design and practicality; this was therefore a large turning point for architecture as a whole. This emphasis on the exterior was very apparent in works such as the Walt Disney Concert Hall, which was designed by Frank Gehry, and the the Vitra Fire Station, which was designed by Zaha Hadid. After looking at the architecture from this period we then looked at several different anomalies which may have influenced this such as the postmodernist music, postmodernist novels and the postmodernist art, this offered an insight to their world which was very interesting to see and gave a larger understanding of their work.
After taking into consideration the architects, their work, their cultures, we then looked at how this still existed today and how each and every one of us treasure an item which is not always practical but rather is beautiful. This was a point which largely stuck with me from this lecture; being a product design student studying a BA I found this extremely true and found myself relating strongly to this.

Our fifth session of constellation saw us looking at the Neo-Futurist manifesto, we looked at their ethics and morals and how this was of relevance to architecture. This led us to look at the environmental effects and how this has began to influence architecture in more recent years with more sustainable features being produced. This led us to look at such things as deforestation, pollution and inefficiency within architecture which I found very interesting.

We then began our sixth session, in this session we looked at Bio-mimicry within Neo-Futuristic architecture. As well as the more extreme biomorphic architecture which at times was outrageously childish and ugly, and example of this is the National Fisheries Office in India. We then looked at several things which were first discovered in nature and how they have been integrated into modern our modern day products. This allowed me to see how reliant we are on our natural world for new ideas and concepts to integrate in our culture although these ideas have already been in practice for thousands of years in the natural world.

In our seventh week we learnt about planning a city. In this lecture we would learn how everything is connected to one another and how everything is influenced by where it is destined to go i.e its surroundings.

After eight weeks of Neo-Futurism constellation we came to our final lecture which would be a summary of our findings so far, we would look over all previous sessions and discuss this terms constellation. Personally I found this constellation interesting although maybe at times slightly long winded. I found that I learnt a lot of relevant information in a topic which I believed nothing would be of relevance and got a greater understanding of architecture as a whole.

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