Le Corbusier

Architect’s Chairs

Every architect needs a SIGNATURE CHAIR and their modern chairs embody their design aesthetic and creative process. Chair are not a far departure from architecture, in fact in many ways a chair requires the same spatial consideration and informs as much response from the user as architecture does.  If you haven’t spent much time thinking about chair design it is worth some reflection. Chairs can reinforce the architecture of a space as well as how that space is to be used.  Does the chair allow for a relaxing or is it straight formal.  Does the chair look comfortable or sculptural appropriate more to be looked at then used.

Take a look at these chairs… can you see the resemblance in the architecture?

Mies van der Rohe

Barcelona Chair vs Barcelona Pavilion

Eero Saarinen

Tulip Chair vs TWA Airport

Alvar Aalto

Paimio Chair vs. Baker House

Daniel Libeskind

Diamond Chair vs The ROM

Ray and Charles Eames

Lounge Chair vs. Case Study House 8

Zaha Hadid

Z Chair vs MAXXI Museum

  

Maya Lin

Stones vs. Vietnam Memorial

Frank Lloyd Wright

Barrel Chair vs Guggenheim

Gerrit Rietveld

Red and Blue Chair vs The Rietveld Schröder House

Richard Neutra

Boomerang Chair vs Kaufmann House

 

Frank Gehry

Cardboard Armchair vs. Vitra Design Museum

 

Le Corbusier

Chaise vs Notre Dame du Haut

If you love chairs as much as most architecture groupies do here are a few MUST HAVE books to quench your thirst for more beautifully designed chairs:

Furniture by Architects: From Aalto to Zumthor poses such questions as: do architects design differently to product designers? Do they exhibit any consistent aesthetic preferences? Is there something typically architectural in their designs? Furniture by Architects features works by Alvar Aalto, Ron Arad, Gae Aulenti, Karl Bertsch, Emil Beutinger, Marcel Breuer, Pierre Chareau, Egon Eiermann, El Lissitsky, Norman Foster, Frank Gehry, Walter Gropius, Zaha Hadid, Marc Held, Josef Hoffmann, Arne Jacobsen, Le Corbusier, Daniel Libeskind, Gio Ponti, Richard Riemerschmid, Gerrit Rietveld, Eero Saarinen, Mackay Hugh Baillie Scott, O.M. Ungers, Mies van der Rohe, Otto Wagner, Frank Lloyd Wright and Peter Zumthor, among others.

Fifty Chairs That Changed the World takes an up-close look at chair designs that have had the greatest impact on the look and feel of modern interiors.

 

 

How To Design a Chair tells you everything you need to know and looks at the principles and processes of designing a chair, from its symbolic and functional properties to materials and mass-production techniques. In a working case study Konstantin Grcic, one of the world’s best-known furniture designers, traces the design and development of one of his most successful chairs – the Myto – from start to finish and reveals what it takes to create a successful design.

which chair is your favorite, would you sit in any of these?

Visit architectureGROUPIE.com a Modern and Contemporary Architecture Travel Guide

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architecture JARGON: one

Talk like an architect.

Architects have a particular language to describe and discuss architecture – this isn’t purely to sound smart or pretentious but rather to convey ideas and express the meaning of built form.

Here is a lexicon of words to help you discuss architecture and understand architects:

Human scale:  The relationship and measurable qualities of the human body as it relates to architecture.  The human body’s scale and proportion has been studied since Leonardo Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man or Le Corbusier’s Modular Man.  How the body’s relationship with, or the lack thereof, is often intentional and is present in all architecture.

Leonardo Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man

Le Corbusier’s
Modular Man

 

The National Assembly Building by Louis Kahn in Bangledesh (right).  Notice the building has no frame of reference to the size a person.  The image on the top could appear to be big or small.  This building, for the most part lacks human scale. 

Juxtaposition [juhk-stuh-puh-zish-uhn]:  This is when two or more architectural objects are located close together or next to one another for comparison and/or contrast.  This is commonly seen with new architecture next to historic architecture.  This is also a technique that can be applied to one very large building to break it down into smaller components which have differing materials, scale, and/or form.

Quartier Schützenstrasse, Berlin by Aldo Rossi.  The large building is broken down by colour and form.

Legibility:  The ability of being deciphered or understood.  In architecture this typically refers to way-finding which is how easily users can understand their environment and find their way within it.  If a large number of signs are required to decipher where to go the architectural legibility is poor.

Synergy [sin-er-jee]:  When the combination of parts or components creates a greater effect than any individual element.  This is typically the case for any good architecture but this word seems to get thrown around a lot.

Columniation:   The arrangement of columns.

Treptow Krematorium, Berlin by Axel Schultes, Charlotte Frank, Christoph Witt.  Its all about the columns.

Intercolumniation:  The space between columns.  The pattern of spacing between columns.

Squarify:  To make more square. (This is not a really word.  FYI:  architects love to make all words verbs)

Negotiate the Topography:  To change levels, to go up or down stairs or ramp.

(I guess sometimes architects like to sound pretentious sometimes)

Tectonics [tek-ton-iks]:  The science or art of assembling, shaping, or ornamenting materials in construction; the constructive arts in general.  A general term for the theory and techniques of construction.

Materiality [muh-teer-ee-al-i-tee]:  A way to create form and space via the nature or quality of materials used in architecture.  Materials can be the driving force behind the design of architecture, where the architect studies materials and techniques and thus form a building from the maximization of their effect.  In modern architecture material honesty is at its essence.

   

Ricola Factory by Herzog and de Meuron (masters of materiality)

LAST BUT NOT LEAST…

Space [speys]:  A loaded word which could be discussed at length but in short it is the formation and realization of a constructed three-dimensional realm.   In architecture space is physically or implicitly enclosed by the constructed form to create specific experiences and qualities.

The Pantheon, Rome.  One of the most dramatic interior spaces due to the geometric proportions.

to be continued…

Modern Architecture vs. Contemporary Architecture

Often Modern architecture and Contemporary architecture are used interchangeably, however they really aren’t the same.

Here is a quick and easy way to understand what the difference is so when you are on your architectural travels you know which type of architecture you are looking at.

Modern Architecture

Contemporary Architecture

Timeline
  • Began at the turn of the 20thcentury
  • Became popular post WW2
  • The present day
  • An evolution of modern architecture
Characteristic
  • Simplified form & Clean Lines
  • Visual expression of structure
  • Emphasis on Function
  • Vary greatly
  • No specific unifying features
Themes
  • “Form Follows Function” (Louis Sullivan & Frank Lloyd Wright)
  • Simplified form
  • Removal of unnecessary details
  • Truth to materials
  • Machine aesthetics
  • Sustainable design
  • Natural materials
  • Eco-friendly / Green design
  • Equality
  • Landmark
  • Globalization of architecture
Architects
  • Walter Gropius
  • Le Corbusier
  • Ludwig Mies van der Rhoe
  • Frank Lloyd Wright
Associated With
  • Bauhaus
  • International Style
  • LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)
  • BIM (Building Information Modeling)
Examples

Modern Architecture:
The Bauhaus in Dessau Germany by Walter Gropius

Contemporary Architecture:
Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) by Daniel Libeskind

Modern Architecture:
Notre Dame de Ronchamp by Le Corbusier

Contemporary Architecture:
Simmons Hall MIT by Steven Holl

Modern Architecture:
S.R. Crown Hal by Mie van der Rohe

Contemporary Architecture:
Walt Disney by Frank Gehry

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Architecture Travel: a how to guide provides methodology for before, during and after architectural travel to help you minimize the research time and maximize the architecture you will visit.  This guide offers tips on research and organizing information, photography and sketching, as well as post-production work and suggestions on how to share your experiences.

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