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ARCHITECTURE HISTORY
Fall of 1999 at Montgomery College
Required Journal Assignment
Note:  These writings are copyright and may not be reproduced or copied in
any format.  Violation of copyright will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.


Journal Entry #1

As the first journal entry for class I thought it might be a good idea to give a little background about myself.

First, I thought I might talk about my job. I have worked for William Doggett Architects for over three years now. I started in High School as part of an internship. After a few summers and semesters there, I have been able to design and work on architecture projects. My architecture experciences are still few, but being able to practice is good for me because like that of many older and ancient architects that started out in an aprentice, they learned by example. Eventually I will move on, but this is my early years.

Secondly, my educations is an important fact to which I should talk about. Since I was a child in early grade school, teachers, my parents, and friends always admirred my sense of the built enviroment. Not untill High School was I first exposed to the profession of architecture. There it began with just some drafting courses. Then my internship began my senior year. Before I graduated, I talked with a few architects, and from there I decided that instead of going straight to University, I would try out a two year school, and Montgomery College was the best around. When I started at MC I was quite ignorant as the the architecture profession, but after spending my first semester studying and learning about architecture, I could clearly see my future hear. I also took Architecture history for the first time in my first semester, a big mistake considering I only achieved a “D” but I still loved it. I hope I will enjoy it the second time around. Later in my college life at MC I have (will no false modesty) become very knowledgable about architecture and it’s profession. Not much experience, but a bit of knowledge. I have continued to take studio classes, drafting & rendering classes, lecture, and other associated classes. Which brings me to here, at architecture history again.

I guess that is about as much as I’m going to talk about without actually writing a book. I’ll have a closing entry to conclude my thoughts of the semester.


Journal Entry #2

Summary & Thought on an Article Stone Revival, p.66 from Architecture Magazine, October 1992

Gary Cunningham of Dallas and a Hungarian priest discovered an old stone church in the Romanesque Style. Cunningham was an architect hired by the Dallas, Texax Catholic Community. He quickly returned to Texas and begun rough drafts o the new 900 year old church. Cunningham would do what most would be scared to do, return to load bearing stone. 427, 2x3x6, 21/2 ton Limestones. Cunningham and engineers had to train mason to do the work due to lack of any 900 year old contractors to do the work. This was a smart move, the stones were placed in 2 months instead of 4. Medieval in design, this church offers a foundation for religous practice for the future, that is one path for the future. We now see today that it has not caught on, and we see that with the newly built Pope John Paul II Center on the Catholic University of America Campus (not mentioned in the article of course). The building is rectangular in plan, with an entry canopy on the south side. This entry used prehistoric type Post and Lintel extensions, the Posts are non-reinforced round concrete columns joined by metal (non-prehistoric) and wood over the vestible. Clearly a derivitive of the 900 year old church that Cunningham and the Hungarian priest found, but also there is a clear language between the two.


Journal Entry #3

Not so recently I was spending some time downtown. While I was there I took a look around like I never had before. I was (pleasantly) surprised by the amount of Greek, Roman, and other ancient forms of architecture. Mostly in Revivial style, but it’s there. A lot of this comes from the republic government influence of early Rome on our own US government. I am not really educated to what the link truely is, but it is evident in it’s architecture, which I’m sure was the goal intended by the architects designing downtown. Some of the buildings I took notice to was of course the Capital, Supreme Court, Lincoln and Jefferson memorials, National Archieves, and National Museum of Natural History. I could go on and on, but I think I’ve demostrated the point. I am eagerly waiting to get some time to go back downtown to take some surveys and photographs of some of this and compare what I see.

**NOTE: This observation orginally made on October 12th, 1996. This entry was made from notes taken at that time.


Journal Entry #4

Taking a look at the book for our class I will have to say some of my favorite structures are that of the Metroplitian Cathedral (Paris) and Newton's Cenotaph (Paris) form Etienne - Louis Boullee. Most of his structures rival most Megolithic Period Structure in size. Moreover, the designes convey that such massive structures must be rather simplistic and have a straight-forward to realize its design intention. Though not a true "architect", Boullee was a great visionary that all architect strive to have such a vision. Some other of my favorite structures include the Pyramids at Giza, Amein Cathedral,


Journal Entry #5
Post & Lintel

I guess this is suppose to be the most basic structural form of architecture. Off the top of my head, a few others come to mind that could not be associated; the inverted "V", spherical, cantilever, arch, cross, and many others.

Post and Lintel isn't just an structural form of architecture, but a standard element of structural forms throughout manufacturing, engineering, and other structural forms. Of course, to see this, sometime one has to turn the Post and Lintel on it's side. We see it in tables, chairs, bed frames, and even car chassis frames. The car chassis is the Lintel and the Wheels are the Posts, moving posts, but they're there. I know it's a stretch, but the load, tension, pull and push are all there, and work well. Bet you never thought about it that way did ya. Well maybe you did, but I had to think about it.


Journal Entry #6

Already I am starting to see how different architecture is. Studying the pyramids and other Egyptian Tombs was brief and I probably learned more from Televisions shows such as those on The Learning Channel (TLC) and The History Channel. But what I can not get from TV is the comparisons we do with the other buildings and structures we are studying. It amazes me how wrapped up in the pyramids most people get, with them only being built a few times in history. I mean we also see the ziggarats but they really aren't pyramids are they. Even in Egypt, the pyramid and mastaba styles above ground didn't last long. I think the Giza Pyramids have been copied more time in the last 30 years here in the US than total pyramids in Egypt. From the Casino in Las Vegas, the covention center in Memphis, to even the Louve in Paris France. Of course the ancient pyramids are a great focal point with their mysteries, superior building longevity, and truely simplistic and clear design forms. It's those aspects of architecture that are hard to question or answer.


Journal Entry #7

The "Stoa of Attalus II" near the acropolis in Athens is quite interesting to me. The distant predessor to the modern shopping malls and plaza, it really shows how to plan a central civic area. By providing areas not only for shopping, but for conferences, public meetings, government interaction, and general community


Journal Entry #8  -  Not included at this time.

Journal Entry #9

Ah! Rome, and all her mighty arches.

I wonder what made Rome use the arch instead of ancient Greece. The Greeks seem to be so innovative in their design and construction, so why do they ignore the possibilities of the new technology. And it's not as if they didn't know about it, because they did use it in few areas, but the arch was not common. I see the Roman use of the arch as really the only significant technological advancement in architecture until steel frame construction. Gothic architecture pointed the arch to give it flexibility for higher heights, and longer widths. History is unusual and it would have been a whole lot different to have studied the great Greek Empire that may have been instead of the Romans, who knows!


Journal Entry #10
It is so interesting me how the differences in the theaters form Greece to Rome are. They provide the same fuctional space. These are great buildings to use as a comparison. Mine will be a quick one though.

First lets begin looking at the Greek Theaters. Most theaters were located within the Temple complexes out in areas with great majestic views. Most theaters were open (without a roof) and were built right into the sides of natural slopes and hills so that not much digging and re-grading would have to be done. Theather of Greece were typically 1/2 circular, and had the orchestra at the bottom. The design was very important to the people of Ancient Greece because it was the epidemy of the unity between earth and sky. Acoustics were fantastic and it's no wonder, the shape follows the natural harmonic wave of sound. This enables even the last person on top row to hear the slightest sounds down below. Clearly a brilliant design.

Romans learned a lot from the Greeks, and their theaters where no different. They also took advantage of the superior acoustic design. However, Rome was too crowded, and they were to concerned about conquests and power to concern themselves with the earth and the sky. Theaters were more to keep the people of the growing roman empire at ease. Roman did contribute though. they turned some of the more simple theater structures into spectacular Amphitheaters and Stadiums. Right in Rome, the Flavian Theater (more commonly knows as the Colosseum) That has a legacy all its own. Also the Circus (Stadium) Maximus. These were the highest style the Romans could have given to the orginal design of the theater. Nowadays, we see such derivatives as our sports stadiums such as Skydome in Toronto, or the racetrack in Daytona, Florida. We also see music and play theaters that came from 16th century England.

There is much more than just what I described, but I see this going on and on, and this entry was enough to chew on.


Journal Entry #11
Roman baths are quite the interesting bit of architecture. Not only are they one of the most beautiful pieces the Romans built, they have proven to be one of the most versatible designs to come out of Rome. I mostly wanted to write quickly about how the design of the baths influenced a number of American railroad stations.

I haven't been able to travel to all of the stations, but of course I've been to Union Station in Washington, D.C. Here is one of the best examples of the baths of Caracalla. No longer housing pools from the people to bath in, but still quite civic, as a central place for trains and people to meet. After it's renovation of the late 80s, that now includes a number of shops and more.

The station itself is quite a site to see. If this is truely how the baths would have been I can easily see how many of the people would have spent the day there. The arches, domes, vaulting, white marble, and limestone. It as large volumes and central courts, It has a pleasant tone to it. I guess it would be a little bit different sounding thought with the water, which deadens sound real good.

The thing that bothers me most about the Roman baths is the fact that they appearantly may have contributed to or made homosexual activites more acceptable. As an architect, I have to think about how public structures contribute to life socially. Its where I think the Romans failed to see right from wrong, and no matter how spectacular a civic bath, amphitheater, market is when in comes down to the social responsibility of its builder.


Journal Entry #12
Just think about how people lived before they had stuctures to live in. I think about it a lot. Sometimes I wish I had to live like they did way back. To see if with the knowledge I have of modern technologies, that I could pioneer a civilization. Would it survive, would I survive. It must have taken so long for the first of the great civilizations to begin. Just think about how short life was and how little time there was to finish projects and new buildings. Without wheeled vehicles, lack of carving tools, or any tools other than the basic tools for everyday life.

I guess this is the time when the human race was more simular than it has ever been since. Take a look at the primative building structure of the Native Americans, Amazons, Incas, Mayans, Aftrican tribes and many others. They were all basically huts so early on.


Journal Entry #13 - Not included at this time.

Journal Entry #14
I know this is going to sound rather stupid but a computer game got me thinking about city plannng. The game is known as SimCity. You may or my not have heard it before, but it is quite a unique game. You begin with a small amount of money, a plat of land, and an array of options for beginning building a town. There's not too much relation to architecture history, but that it demonstrates the crucial placement of cities in relation to their components. Residential, Commercial, Industrial, and civic zones. This game is a blast for me. I sometimes spend hours and hours on it, and it's the only video game that I spend more than 1/2 hour on. It's likely because of my fondness of city planning.


Journal Entry #15
I really wish that of all the ancient architecture history we learn, we would not have to just focus on just western europe. I understand that perhaps it would be too overwhelming to include other great civilizations and architecture. Cultures such as South America, Far East, Hindu, and others. Some argue that western Europe and Egyptian architecture are studied more because they ar the most important. That narrow view is why other cultures are mostly ignored by architecture historians, and architects in practice.

It is true that more facts exist on European and Egyptian culture, but I feel that is one example of how those cultures get more attention. But if a significant amount of interest was made toward Aztecs, and simular large and sometimes more advanced cultures, we could find many more facts to warrant those studies. More students and historians would invest in those areas and perhaps devote careers to them.

It's really about expanding our knowledge. It is not like I disvalue the things we learn about ancient architecture in Europe, Egypt, and the Middle East. It is just that I think it should be that at some point we need to expand our knowledge so that the profession can grow in new directions that it hasn't before. It should have grown some time ago, perhaps avoiding some of the paths we've gone down in today's modern architecture. More knowledge never hurt anyone, so let's try to work on some of those other important cultures and civilizations.


Journal Entry #16 thru #19 - Not included at this time.
Journal Entry #20
Why is it that at Chartes Cathedral the the spires wher allowed to be mismatched. Were the middle age builders so obsessed with obtaining the highest structure that they threw symmetry to the wind. Did they fail to see how revulting the different style spires look to the natural beauty of the rest of the church. Chartes is one of the best examples of middle gothic styles. Not overly ornate with detials of the high style, yet not to simplistic as to lose it's design intention.

The early romanesque churches were bland in comparison. Though they may have been moving to the cultures at the time of their construction. They now leave a legacy of wondering minds as to why they are not more styles, exterior wise anyway. I guess the notion of "approach" was lost for a period. Gothic styles such as Chartes had ornate style to attempt to attract people to their churches. Romanesque style looked more fortofied, or prison like. Regardless of your religion, once you arrive at Chartes, amongst all the other smaller dwellings and buildings surrounding it, you are instantly wanting inside. One can not help but to consentrate on the detail. Again, there isn't too much to make it overwhelming to the eye. The ornmentation is not cramped together, overlapping to any severe degree, and the saying "God is truely in the details" totally makes sense here.

Though I highly dought it, but one day, maybe the church will reconstruct the spire to match the other. The only question is which spire gets demolished, and which one gets to stay and be copied.


Journal Entry #21
I really need to go visit Mont-Saint Michel. This fantastic site crowned with the epidemy of the early Normandy Romanesque church on that monastic island is just the kind of thing one would expect of the Normans. I first noticed this island from the movie "Mindwalk", in which three people discuss various subjects while strolling about the structure. Then when I first saw it in the book two years ago, I was so happy to find out what place it is. It seems like as though it should have been a castle for some King but the fact that it was devoted for religous purposes is just as fitting. It is quite a rocky place, but I would even think that it would be possible to build another building or tow there. Only to enhance the site of course, nothing to outlandish. I believe there is a bridge now, which was not the case for hundreds of years, and the only way to cross was by boat or wait until low tide, and cross on the wet sand of the waters bottom.

This church is and interesting play of verticals and horizontals. While the nave has grown in succession to its earlier counterparts, it also has the gallery to which it introduces a sense of balance with the visually lighten engaged columns. The style is clear, and the only thing that I would have to think could have been better is the roof over the nave. A wooden barrell vault is just not enough for this magnificant structure. The barrell vault style should remain, but a good simple stone with stone ribs, in typical style, would really do a lot for the way it speaks. Instead of the dark void the wood creates, the stone would provide a balance and enlightenment of color, and connection between the opposing nave walls, and complete the church architecturally.

I fine example and I can't wait to visit it, though it may be quite a few years.


Journal Entry #22
About two summers ago, my grandfather passed away and left us some of his things. One of the items that caught my eye right away was a pen & ink etching of an old church. Appearantly done by one of my Great Grandfathers ( in about 1890). It is quite exquisite in detail. The etching is labeled as Borges Cathedral, and from my assessment, I think it may be the same as Bourges Cathedral in our book. Book Calls it a contemporary to Chartes Cathedral, but I haven't seen a whole lot of pictures of the either. I thought is was very interesting that this kind of fondness of the gothic style runs in the bloodlines of my family. I will keep the etching and hope to never have to sell it. If I can, I'll try to put it on my web site.

End Jounal Entries