Sections of architecture

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1996
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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Abstract

“Every motion of the hand in every one of its works carries itself through the element of thinking, every bearing of the hand bears itself in that element. All the work of the hand is rooted in thinking.”

A drawn section about light entering a building defining a chapel space and an exterior congregational space is the idea behind this thesis. Both places are interlocked in one form as a way of delineating importance to the life outside the chapel by way of an urban setting without an urban fabric.

The vehicle of presenting this idea is made through drawing. The making of a drawing and the making of a bowl, which are represented throughout the book, can be related on several levels. The sense and feel of both the drawings and the bowls can be due to the direct response of the hand in their making. The acute movements of the fingers are directly related to the nature of the finish.

The mastery of materials and technique also ties the two together. Whether the medium is wood or graphite, the most precise manipulation of the material will allow for the greatest understanding. Conditions and features that make themselves apparent through the nature of the wood and through the knowledge of wood movements can also be seen in parts of the drawings.

The last tie to both worlds is through the origin of design. How I think about the design of a building and the design of a bowl both begin with an idea about the life of the section.

Transferring the qualities of the bowls to architecture can be made by way of having the same mastery of materials and technique with the multitude of building products available today. Whether its wood, steel, glass, or plastic, not only knowing the product but understanding its constructive properties will allow for the most significant architecture to develop.

The other unique quality of having the fingers labor over every square inch of the bowls cannot readily and realistically be achieved in today’s architecture, but its essence can be achieved in the design process. One can only imagine designing and redesigning an architectural element as many times as the chisel is placed against and refines a spinning block of wood.

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