|Design Theories class_Oct 2001|
Functionalism vs. Planned Obsolescence,
First, I chose to compare the automobiles
from both countries. Automobile design has had a tremendous impact on
this nation's economy. For example, the money that's been pumped through
the American economy during the past century just in the sales of new
automobiles has been unbelievable. Imagine how the owner saw himself or
herself driving and owning that particular make and model. Survey after
survey has shown that style outranks all other considerations as the prime
motivator of most new-car purchase decisions. Style as one simple and
complex factor, includes the overall shape, ornamentation and resulting
aura of any automobile. The year of 1927 is a really important year in
America design. General Motors (GM) Alfred Sloan hired H. Earl to establish
an independent modern design consultant. The first industrial design system
in America was also the first in-house design department called color
and style. Therefore, a trend was formed, which lead to the marketing
economy, consumption, and the fundamentals of American design industry.
Consumerism is the primary characteristic of America. The car industry
in America has made revolutionary systems that lower the cost of making
cars. Thses systems include assembling line manufacturing, standardization,
and scientific management. These three systems changed American manufacturing
forever. It created the business competition between Ford and GM, America's
first step towards the modern movement.
The American car has several characteristic
features regarding size and shape. In my point of view, America's landscape
is horizontal and large, which has influenced the corporation to build
mostly large, gas-guzzling, but relatively comfortable cars (such as Chrysler
1975 Imperial) which shows many characteristics of American. Lately, most
cars have adapted the organic shape in their design. The gas-guzzling
car was the first mistake the American automobile industries could make
because of the increasing gas price. The second mistake that the American
automobile industries made was to produce and purchase the Sport Utility
Vehicles (SUV). For instance, SUVs represent a paradox to consumers; television
advertisements present SUVs as a vehicle of returning to nature, yet the
cars actually accelerate existing environmental problems. Commercials
often depict happy families driving on mountain roads, avoiding falling
rocks and enjoying the flowered wilderness in leather-seated comfort.
The sad truth is that these vehicles are contributing to the destruction
of our natural resources. As Newsweek journalist Keith Naughton and Harper's
magazine journalist Paul Roberts said, in reality, only five percent of
all SUVs are ever taken off-road, and the vast majority of these vehicles
are used for everyday driving. And there are a lot of them on the roads.
In 1985, SUVs accounted for only 2 percent of new vehicle sales. SUVs
now account for one in four new vehicles sold, and sales continue to climb.
Today, the demographics of an SUVs buyer are quite different because not
many people are buying SUV for their needs for the working environment.
The SUV has become a hip thing and as a result, many consumers buy SUV,
rather than sedans. Driving an SUV has a much greater impact on the environment
than driving a sedan. SUVs have a significant environmental impact in
terms of global warming. According to the fuel economy government web
site, choosing a vehicle that gets twenty five rather than twenty miles
per gallon will prevent ten tons of CO2 from being released over the lifetime
of your vehicle. Passenger cars and trucks account for about twenty percent
of all U.S. CO2 emissions. Global warming is a real danger that cannot
be ignored. However, automakers continue to build fuel-inefficient vehicles.
The vehicles we drive are contributing to this problem, but automakers
don't seem particularly concerned. It is important to note that SUVs are
contributing to our dependence on imported oil. The more gasoline we use,
the more oil we have to import from other countries. Currently, more than
half of the oil we use is imported. Although people with their consumption
for the nature-unfriendly vehicle sales will continue. Perhaps the best
alternative to this is to ensure prospective vehicle purchasers are educated,
and make to encourage them to make the most environmentally sound decisions.
Automakers have made some baby steps, but they have so far been unwilling
to make a serious effort to improve these vehicles. In 2000, Ford Motor
Company announced plans to improve their SUV fleet fuel economy by twenty
five percent by the year 2005. This is a great first step, and it shows
that automakers are capable of improving their vehicles. It also shows
that a concerned public can influence a company like Ford. This is why
educated consumers must demand better vehicles.
The second comparison is that of product
design. German designer Dieter Rams who was the founding father of the
system design, is concerned with architectural and environmental surroundings
that will impact design. German deign is timeless, solid, simple yet functional.
The "MR"chair- has a frame that is chrome plated or black lacquered
tubular steel. The seat and backrest is full grain leather or woven cane,
made by Mies Van der Rohe who started a modern design style. He chose
the tubular steel because it was cheap. He belongs the second generation
of modern design movement in Germany. Van der Rohe's aesthetic practice
based on style without style; a functional and economical consideration
of the low cost material. The technical component of this form allows
equal functionalism in German. The technical aesthetic detail of Van der
Rohe is "Less is more".
The third comparison is that of Education
systems. Among the most influential factors in the process were two schools
in Germany: the Bauhaus and Ulm Institute of Design.
From 1925 to 1931 in Dessau is the most
important period of the Bauhaus because they set the keystone of the architecture.
Also, the Bauhaus tried to build a new markedly closer relationship between
design, science, and technology that is not like a traditional styles.
The Bauhaus forged an alliance between
art and industry, the aim of which was to create objects that were both
attractive and affordable for the masses. The Bauhaus model also fostered
the rise to prominence in America of industrial designers whose creations
were intended to be machine made and mass produced.
The Ulm Institute of Design
In Europe, a strong belief that architecture
will change the world. this also started from design education. In America,
this is done through practice. Also, based on some business, skill of
rendering and presentation. They start to open business first which is
market in the philosophy. Also, the America is made of marketing and the
diversity makes all the possibilities. American is made of a corporate
and enterprise culture. After Hitler shut down the Bauhaus in 1933, almost
500 Bauhaus teachers and alumni came to America as political refugees.
This changed the fate of America's art education system. The Ulm school,
"All designers today, even if they don't know where Ulm is, are somehow
in the tradition of Ulm" (handout from class).
America is made of immigrants, and this
makes the culture a melting pot. Americans have never been able to take
information graphics with the same seriousness as the easily led northern
Europeans. American design at its best is all about communicating, and
doing so with pragmatism and humor. The common thread is wit, humor, parody,
self-mockery and the lampooning of dogma and tradition. The heart of American
design is anti-elitism and anti-ismists. This happens to be the finest
aspect of our national personality. The roots of this anti-elitism lie
in America's attitude of democracy; the one thing about the country that
cannot be mocked. Democracy and immigration are the key links in this
landscape. Marketing and engineering considerations still dominate manufacturers
decision-making processes. Products must be designed to be efficiently
made in the factory and profitable in the market. This pragmatic approach
is very deep in the corporate culture and has a great impact on design
decisions. The founding fathers of American design inculcated the notion
that the future of the profession lies in cooperation with the manufacturing
industry. As the world getting more complex, it demanded greater specialization.
This led to gradual design segmentation. Global market conditions within
the very borders of the U.S. The resultant absence of a 'nationalistic'
cultural design identity, in the strict sense, is therefore understandable.
Americans never have seen that seemingly obvious pragmatic axioms of design,
such as generous draft angles and coarse textures to hide blemishes, are
often detrimental to product aesthetics.
The last comparison is that of the social
characteristic of design. German design starts modernism in 1920-30s.
(But in America, there was no modern movement) Modernism is democracy,
socialism, and design for everyone, helping people. Functional consideration.
Modern design can be divided by three elements; function, technology,
and form. In ancient period, form was the first concern, but in modern
design, it's the last concern. Concept and ideology are the key points
in Europe modern design. In U.S, practice is a priority. "The best
manufactures do not only have the cultural confidence to employ and trust
product designers; they also have the industrial wherewithal to ensure
that the results of their endeavors will be solidly built and reliable
in use. German design firms, for their part, tend to be more strongly
rooted in the real world than other countries; more of their work goes
into production, and less is done with recreational or polemical intent.
This corporate era want more choice, more speed, and more consumption
these are the ingredients of progress and addiction. And the technology
implies a new sense of power but total control is double-edged sword.
Economical solution for low cost was the only solution in Germany. But,
economical cost becomes a way of being trendy, style, and fashion in America.
In Germany, majority of class was a working poor people. So, design has
to be economical and functional. Low cost can serving for everybody become
economic considerism. In America, majority of class was mid-income people;
so less is more become a style, fashion, and trend. As a result, Functional
concern which is the keystone of German design. (inter-relation) and Social
consequences (practical for the social impact). Durable and last longer,
save material, save energy. Social engineering, it benefits for the people.
Design principles of Europe established before war at Bauhaus and after
war at Ulm and Braun. The Ulm and Braun- possibilities of system design,
economic consideration, and functionalism. German design symbolizes a
good and solid design. Based on rationalism. Less trendy and try to be
clam which it shows a steadiness. Inter-relation is the character of German
design. Economic consideration which is the central character of German
modernism, less is more became a style (but in America the style rather
In conclusion, design is communication.
The most urgent task of design is to give form to ideas, information and
technical developments. In addition to make the responsibility of design
is to make more perceptible to our five senses. This process demands question
communication. Design is the one of the most significant ways in which
we shape our world. The products that surround us provide an instant cultural
history, a mirror in which our own preoccupations are vividly reflected.
German and American design have been successful
in the ways of the problem solving. However, German design is heavily
influenced by social and political methods.
|Great Minds of Design_Nov 2001|
From the design of Getty Center to see
influence of Le Corbusier
I am from Chicago where I have enjoyed
the magnificent architectures so much, but since I moved to Los Angeles,
I was disappointed by lack of wonderful architectures. I believe that
I knew a lot about LA, however, I was wrong until I visited the Getty
Center. Three hours of experiencing the Getty Center was inspiring. I
was so surprised that I missed an important thing during I live in Los
Angeles. The Getty Center means more than a museum to me. One of the reasons
is that the Getty Center was unique is that the Getty Center was paid
for completely by the Getty Foundation, there are no commercial messages
anywhere. It was refreshing feeling to escape from the relentless placement
of advertisements on everything. The other reason is that this museum
is noting like any other typical museums I have ever been where were a
huge buildings with lots of painting and sculptures. In The Getty Center,
I feel like, I am in the other places.
To find the influence of Le Corbusier
to Richard Meier's architectire in the Getty Center was not too hard.
Because I can tell pretty much that most of structural aesthetics, materials
and colors were influenced by Le Corbusier. I will describe all the details
that the Getty Center has and describe the similarity between Le Corbusier
and Richard Meier. Richard Meier's work has been influenced by Le Corbusier's
earlier work that includes colorless, simple, geometric design for great
efficiency and functionality. Until the Le Corbusier start to build the
Pilgrimage Chapel of Ronchamps in 1955, I see the Le Corbusier's style
in the Richard Meier's work. I think that the year of 1955 is the turning
point to Le Corbusier changes his style to the brutalism.
The Getty Center is perched high on a
hill overlooking LA, so I aboard a white automated tram for a few minutes
to the top of the hill. There were seven buildings at The Getty center
includes auditorium, The Getty Information Institute, The Getty Conservation
Institute, The J. Paul Getty Museum, arrival plaza, Restaurant/Cafe, Centural
Garden, and The Getty Research Institute for History of Art and the Humanities.
Also, there are many important outdoor spaces. The straight lines of marble,
the vertical columns and the entablatures parallel to the LA city's horizon.
A circular kind of apse and concrete framework which the le Corbusier
used at La Villa Blanche. Also, influenced by Le Corbusier's "Less
is more" which all white marble and no unnecessary decorations (which
is the beauty of machinery- Le Corbusier's term). The use of inexpensive
and plain materials, such as glass, metal, and tiles, expressed the taste
of Le Corbusier. Consisting of a steel structure covered in a solid sheet
of glass, which make the neutralizing wall. The use of a metallic structural
elements, including door and window frames, were to a great extent standardized
and prefabricated, and glass was widely used.
Le Corbusier is the most influential architect of the twentieth century, Le Corbusier's works and ideas set the agenda for much modern architecture and planning, typified by global internationalism. A circular kind of apse and concrete framework which the le Corbusier used at La Villa Blanche. Besides the 'skillful', accurate and magnificent interplay of the volumes in the bright light. He hoped to discover the active force behind architecture. Reinforced concrete made it possible to do away with the traditional functions of the walls (supporting floors and ceilings and enclosing the built space). He tried to exploit this freedom as much as he could. Le Corbusier remained faithful to the reinforced concrete framework, columns and floors. He used variations of the Dom-ino system in many projects for mass produced housing. The basic unit of his Dom-ino system consists of three floors, six vertical columns and a staircase. To make the exterior walls free-standing, the supports are not at the edge and they join the horizontal surfaces smoothly, so that ceilings and walls can be perfectly smooth as well. Gradually he was able to evolve a concept of harmony, of architecture and of the function of the architect that diverged from the one he had been taught in La Chauxde Fonds. As Jenger mentioned in her book, a creative principle of his goal was to establish or re-establish harmony between people and their environment. For Le Corbusier concrete was as natural as stone. He had a highly developed feel for materials, looking for density, grain, roughness or smoothness. Le Corbusier who made the world aware that a new 'style' was coming into being through his work. He is the greatest impact on modern architecture worldwide.
According to the Hasan-Uddin Khan , in
1914 he produced the first sketches for his Dom-ino frame system, developed
with the assistance of Max Dubois, for the grided reinforced concrete
skeleton that allowed for free flowing plan layouts. Le Corbusier's architecture
of geometry- the pure form of cubes, spheres, pyramids- was a rational
ordering of space, which informed his concept of the machine for living
in. He proclaimed in 1927 that he had produced a "fundamentally new
aesthetic" through the use of five elements: the reinforced concrete
pilotis (which took the place of a wall), the roof-garden or terrace on
a flat-roof, the free plan, the horizontal strip windows ( according to
Jean Jenger he used this method in Villa Savoye at Poissy in late 1920s),
and the composition of the facade. He presented the conclusions reached
over the years from the study of his projects, on the importance of reinforced
concrete to the key elements of modern architecture; his analysis was
deliberately schematic: Each element can be considered separately, but
l is connected. The formulation of the five points, simple and almost
dogmatic, is uncharacteristic of Le Corbusier's usually pragmatic and
open approach to every new project. This five points sum up the principles
underlying most of his constructions as far as the relationship between
structure and form is concerned, and the opportunities offered to both
by reinforced concrete. I found that the Richard Meier used these system
into the Getty Center.
The museum sequence begins with a large,
light filed rotunda that opens onto the centural courtyard. Once inside
these open lobbies person becomes aware that the museum consists of two
story pavilions. The openness of the museum is very important, in conjunction
with the cross axis. All of the relationships between building and garden
are important in creating The Getty Center have the solid and the void
of the entry form of the museum, the courtyard of the library: the cross
axis that runs from the museum garden to the scholar's building. All of
the elements are part of a single body which is a sequence of spaces related
one another both horizontally and vertically. The Getty brings together
harmoniously the complex organization of spaces in a more fluid composition.
Especially, I saw many Getty collections, paintings, sculptures, and photographs
displaying from the top floor to take advantage of the natural top light.
Natural light is filtered differently according to the character of the
According to Yoshio Futogawa and Richard
Meier's conversation, the way in which the spaces are organized: the manipulation
of space in order to heighten people's perceptions. Which includes the
use of natural light in a way intensifies the architectural experience,
so that people can clearly understand the relationship of planner surfaces
to linear elements, so that people can clearly perceive the difference
between opacity and transparency, between the openness and closure that
is being expressed in the building, that distinguishes the public form
the private spaces. The sense of appropriateness expressed by the disposition
of elements in relation to the whole and by the quality of light. The
form, light , and openness to the exterior are the expressive of making
spaces. According to Richard Meier, architecture is for the contemplation
of the eyes and the mind, but no less importantly, it is to be experienced
and savored by all the human senses, and synthesized by the mind.
The Restaurant/Cafe, where is easily reached
from most parts of the buildings and its windows and terrace afford outstanding
views of the mountains and the city view.
The similarity of the Getty Center and
Le Corbusier's work.
One significant thing that the Richard
Meier was different from the Le Corbusier's failure is he concerned about
people. Le Corbusier designed for specific sized (6"male) person,
however, Richard Meier solved that problems, for instance, all the door
handle designed below waist which is easy to reach to anybody. Actually,
I tried myself (include pictures on the back) and I saw many children
can reach the handle to open door. Also, there was handicap access the
way of the garden that is the evidence of his concerned about people.
In conclusion, the use of balancing between
symmetric and asymmetric rhythms was great success. All the buildings
were pretty much same height, so I felt well balanced.
Friend of mine had a class with Annie Chu, one day she brought one of a marble stone sample from the Getty Center project to the class to show. One mountain in Italy was gone since the Getty Center was built. Because of the Getty Center used too much marble. Believe it or not!