Monday, September 29, 2008

Art Nouveau & Vienna Secession C

During the Art Nouveau Movement, the skyscraper became a more important aspect of architecture. It was a relatively new arrival in America, dating to 1874 with the New York Tribune Building; however this was only considered a high building. The first actual skyscraper was the Wainwright Building by Adler& Sullivan (Morrison 111). Sullivan became one of the most influential designers of the time. He was the first to attempt to solve the problems of the new architecture of the skyscraper. His solutions and answers to these problems are evident in the Wainwright Building and the Union Trust Building. He believed that this problem of skyscrapers contained and suggested its own solution (Morrison 122). As seen in these two buildings, Sullivan believed that the main entrance should attract the eye and from there each level should have a more simple design yet have an esthetically appealing fa├žade. He also believed in finding ways to ornament even the tallest of buildings (Morrison 135). Sullivan believed in finding the practical use out of the height and volume of a tall building. This is seen again in both the Wainwright Building and the Union Trust Building with the open court formed by a U shaped design. His designs’, as seen in these two buildings were coherent, direct, and suitable (Morrison 137). Do you feel that today with such advancements in sustainable design, that we are more focused on the practicality of design rather than the ornamentation? Do you feel that some designers have the ability to meet both the sustainable design and still develop ornamentation as Sullivan did? If yes how are these designs developed, and if no why is it so hard to accomplish?

12 comments:

Carrie said...

I feel that in today’s way of thinking with designers that it is focused more on the on the practicality and sustainable design. But, I feel that ornamentation is still a part of buildings built today. Designers are focused more on the sustainable part on designing but if there are parts of a buildings that are ornamented that do work well with a sustainable building then the designer might use it. I think that designers can design sustainable buildings and still have ornamentation like Sullivan but I think a lot more goes into it than when Sullivan was designing buildings. Factors like LEED and green building are bigger factors in sustainable design that Sullivan might have never thought about. These designs are developed using LEED certification rules and green building designs.

Meredith J. said...

I think that today's designers and architects are definitely thinking about the application of practicality and green design when developing ideas for a new building. Ornamentation is seen as an after thought, but can still be seen in buildings throughout the world. In terms of 21st century skyscrapers, I see them as sleeker buildings where the design seems to speak as its on ornamentation. Even though it isn't a skyscraper, I use it to back my thoughts. The Dubai Hotel in Duabi is designed to look like a sail against the water that surrounds the man-made island it is on. There isn't any obvious ornamentation on the outside of the building, but the design seems to speak for itself. Sullivan designed buildings that integrating ornamentation and simple design and that's all good and well. He used literal ornamentation, but used it as an enhancement without detraction for the building. I think it can be done, and also buildings without ornamentation can be as successful if the architecture seems to speak for itself.

Moore13 said...

The challenge today in design is to design a space keeping sustainability in ind as well as creating a space that is aesthetically pleasing. Developing a space that is aesthetically pleasing also means applying some type of ornamentation. Certainly these requests aren't always the easiest thing to do but they are done everyday, and are done better than before each day. Part of being a great designer is being able to problem solve and come up with a solution that meats all the criteria, if a designer is not able to adequately do that then he/she will ever be a great designer. This is a perfect example of what separates a designer from a decorator.

Veronica said...

I agree with both Meredith and Carrie that today’s design of skyscrapers is a lot more focused on sustainability and green design. However, I don’t think that ornamentation is missing, or designers do not focus on that as much as they used to during the Art Nouveau period.
Design and architecture went through several and different styles throughout history. The Victorian Era was all about crowded and very adorned spaces; the Arts and Crafts movement rejected all this, making buildings less ornamented. The Art Nouveau embraced again and appreciated ornamentation in a much more systematical way.
What I think is happening today in modern skyscraper design is a closer conformity to what modern design is supposed to be. We see that buildings today are much more minimalist and conceptual: lines are less organic and I think this is what makes people think that we don’t use decoration anymore (organic lines have always been associated with ornamentation, so using straight line makes you feel like the space is less decorated and clustered); also interior spaces are less decorated and generally forms are much more straighter and geometric.
So, I think that designers today are working according modern principles and making their designs reflect its ideals. It is not that they don’t focus on ornamentation anymore, but they are rather creating decoration that follow the elements and principles of modern design.

Katie Bluhm said...

I definitely think that in today’s design style, we are focused on sustainability more so than beauty. Everything that comes out onto the market today has to be helpful, and definitely not harmful, to the environment. If it isn’t green, it won’t sell. Everything today is becoming sustainable design. From bath tissue and coffee filters to automobiles and building materials, everything is becoming biodegradable and eco-friendly.
While beauty has been removed from the foreground, it is still an important part of sustainable design. It is capable for designs to have both elegance and functionality. For example, the new Chevy Volt is a car that uses electric power for the first 40 miles of travel. Of course after the first 40 miles, the Volt will refer to gasoline as its source of power, but when 75% of Americans’ daily commute is less than 40 miles, it is a sustainable solution to an ever growing problem. To put the icing on the cake, the Chevy Volt is the nicest looking car I’ve seen in a while. There are now bamboo floor mats for office chairs to replace the harmful plastic ones we use now. Since bamboo is a natural grass, it is a renewable resource, and will decompose nicely in a landfill. Bamboo is also a much more appealing material than plastic for the consumer’s office space. There are modern decorative lamps made from recycled materials. So of course it is helping the environment alongside being fashionable in the latest trend.
It should not be hard to make things beautiful as well as sustainable. People are doing it everyday. If they are following the proper design process, they will keep exploring better solutions, one after the other until the product is both aesthetically and functionally pleasing.

Molly Rowland said...

Today, designers seems to be focusing on function and simplicity. Furthermore, sustainable design has became very popular. With its popularity, there is a large amount of experimentation and ideas with green design. With so much interest in these aspect of design, ornamentation is shoved aside. Ornamentation does not serve a purpose, and if anything, more materials are needed to create an ornamented design. Why us materials if they do not add to the function of the space? So yes, today, it isn't about ornamentation, it's about sustainability.

gnjones15 said...

In today’s design I find more designers are focused on sustainability than necessarily how the design looks. This is better than when skyscrapers originated however. Before Sullivan, there was little or no ornamentation on skyscrapers. Recently constructed buildings like the Humana Building in Louisville are more ornamented than the original skyscrapers but are also designed with practicality in mind. Design today has to be more focused on the effects the building has on the environment while still incorporating pleasing aesthetics. I feel as though every designer has the ability to incorporate practicality with ornamentation. With the Green movement at hand many designers are taking on this challenge and creating successful spaces. These designs are developed by considering what is necessary for the building to function while also considering how to make these functional qualities pleasing to the eye.

J_Ayares said...

In today's designs, I strongly believe that the many advancements in sustainable design have led to a great deal of emphasis on function and practicality and very little emphasis on ornamentation. While I am confident that many designers have the ability to create designs that are both ornamented and sustainable, I believe that to include ornamentation for the sake of decoration is no longer the focus in today's design. It is becoming more and more common for designers to create interest through the manipulation of functional architectural techniques rather than decorative ornamentation. In other words, because of such keen interest in sustainable design, beauty is more and more often found in the simplicity and functionality of building construction and less and less often in surface ornamentaion.

Elizabeth Chaffin said...

I feel that today designers try to incorporate both the practicality of sustainable design with ornamentation or aesthetic appeal. Sustainable buildings just don't have to be simple in form and function. The products that are "green" can be integrated into the ornamentation so that the building won't just be functioning, but also appealing to the eye. For instance, recycled materials can be used to make products that we have previously seen that have been made from "fresh" materials. That is one way of being green. Also a sustainable design approach today is through LEED certification. If a building suites the standards of their requirements it can be environmentally friendly, no matter what the ornamentation.

carrie w said...

Today i feel that we are more focused on the practicality of design way more than we are on ornamentation. Also i feel that designers are creating things that most designs that are sustainable, are associated with some sort of ornamentation. Designers are creating these designs every day with a plethora of materials that are available to them. For example designers can use wood from protected forests and recycled materials. It is not that hard to find something that is eco-friendly but is also full of ornamentation. It is all a matter of balancing the right amounts of ornamentation with the feel and the look that you are trying to achieve in a space.

Kelsey said...

I believe today, like in the past, form really follows function. Because the function of the building has in the past 30-40 years become highly focused on sustainability, the form has gradually changed in the way of ornamentation, but for the most part ornamentation has really become simplified and abstracted. Although some designs still reference the past historical designs, most newer sustainable materials are used in less “Victorian mess” ways. The clutter that once was popular design, is now frowned upon. Whether or not this has anything to do with sustainable materials is another question. I feel like today designers every designer has a different style they like to work with, which is all made possible from all the past design foundations. But at the same time, there are designers who reject this way and choose to design things they have never seen before. I do feel though that the majority of designers today are really focusing on sustainability and green design. I feel like architects like Louis Sullivan were working with new criteria like steel, concrete, and iron and experimenting with the decorative qualities those materials could take on, while current architects like Santiago Calatrava are working with newer sustainable materials and stretching their capabilities in the way of engineering rather than decoration.

Christa Mueller said...

It all depends on how you look at ornamentation. When look at the Victorian era, many things were added that did not help the design, but rather, were purelly meant for aesthetics. When using ornamentation in this way, I beleive it can be seen as a negative because it begins to take away from the design and sometimes even its functionallity. And when this happens, we are taking away the whole purpose of having designers.

But when ornamentation is used as a cohesive part of the design in which each part is functional as well as aesthetically pleasing, it can be viewed not only as acceptible but also necessary.
Design is made up of both function and aesthetic. One without the other is either the work of a builder or a decorator. An example of which would be some of the buildings built on UK campus during the 1970's which has no aesthetic quality or the Victorian interiors which had too much.
When ornamentation is fused with function, we achieve "total design",which is the objective of our craft. An example of this would be the Chrysler building in New York.

This blog is intended for the interior design students in the college of design at the University of Kentucky. It was created with the intent to present students with information, providing them with a channel for contemplation and discussion.